Let’s Talk: 3 Rules to Self-Care
Self-Care is one of those buzz phrases that people use to remind themselves to stop and do something for themselves. In my own words, self-care is taking intentional time to pay attention to yourself in a way that ensures you are taking care of you and continuously living your best life mentally and physically.
But self-care extends far beyond stopping and taking a weekend vacation or taking the time to do one of your favorite hobbies. Taking the time to do the things you enjoy is important, but there are a few other essential elements of self-care we cannot forget about. I believe there are 3 rules to follow to truly engage in self-care.
Rule #1: Become You, Love You, Get to Know You
One of my favorite comedians has a line in one of his stand-up shows where he says “You must be in tune with your star player and who is your star player: You.” Being in tune with ourselves is necessary if we are going to care for ourselves. You have to love you, get to know you, and become you. Take the time to find out who you are and work on becoming the person you want to be. Love yourself without any conditions. Accept who you are and where you are – and remember, growth can still occur because acceptance is not synonymous with stagnant. Get in touch with your most inner thoughts and feelings and address them. By understanding yourself, you’ll be more aware of your needs and how to better serve you. When you take whatever steps you take to become you, then will you be able to live a life that is more true to you.
Rule #2: Be Intentional
Self-care is not a one-time random act of doing something you enjoy. Self-care is making the conscious effort to continuously and regularly put effort into feeding your mind, body, and spirit. It is knowing what you enjoy, what you need, and making a routine or habit out of those things. By being intentional, you create a life that incorporates self-care into your well-being – not one you try to find ways to get away from. Being intentional may mean taking “mental health” days from work, engaging in one of your favorite hobbies, spending a day to “treat” yourself, taking the weekend vacation, sleeping better, writing, exercising, feeding your spirit, and any other thing that brings you joy and allows you to relax and decompress. If you schedule a monthly massage, make it a priority to attend the appointment every month. Be intentional to do things that relieve your stress or calm you on a regular basis by scheduling times to do these things and sticking to it.
Rule #3: Face the Ugly
Sometimes, the best things for us are the things we do not feel like doing or the things that do not necessarily make us feel good or smile, but we know they are good for us. Self-care does not always look like grabbing your favorite cocktail with your favorite meal. Oftentimes, it may look or feel the exact opposite. But we have to face the ugly things we know are good for us. The ugly side of self-care can look like pushing yourself through a workout when you want to give up, ending an unhealthy relationship, releasing toxic friends from your life, taking risks, changing your career, eating better, forgiving others, seeking counseling, or anything else that we know is good for us, but we may be scared, nervous, or challenged to do. We may also face the ugly when doing rule #1. There may be inner thoughts or feelings that we would rather not address. The act of becoming who we want to be may not be an easy path. My point is that self-care doesn’t always feel good, but by facing the ugly things, there will be even more good to come.
Grab a pen and paper and do a self-care check up. How are you intentionally engaging in self-care? Have you established any routines or habits? In what ways are you becoming you, loving you, and getting to know you? Are you facing the ugly?