Self-Care is Not Selfish
Self-care is about being self-aware and self-full. Keeping ourselves filled up allows us to be in the world at our fullest potential. Self-care is essential for our own well-being but it is also central to many of the roles we take on in our lives, such as partner, parent, friend, or colleague.
The literature is clear about the connection between self-care and things such as resilience and coping, de-stressing and maintaining energy in dealing with life’s joys and challenges. Consistently meeting one’s self-care needs and keeping one’s self filled up recognizes the need to be whole in any relationship or role we take on. Valuing the time spent in meeting one’s self-care needs is critical in being able to seek out and engage in various activities or behaviors in taking care of our selfhood.
Self-care comes in many forms. It is important for each of us to find or create what best supports and nourishes our individual well-being. This could include things as simple as a walk in nature or other forms of moving the body. Dance. Yoga. Yogic breathing or simply deep intentional inhalations and exhalations. Listening to music. (Research shows that music and movement are the two best de-stressors.) Reading. Relaxing and being. It is said we are humans doing more than we are human beings. How can we Be more?
Another self-care activity can be spending time with friends and family; people who give us joy and positive energy being mindful of situations and people that may rob us of positive energy. Finding ways to consistently restore our sense of well-being and an open mindset that sees possibility and opportunity, is critical to a more self-fulfilled life.
Becoming both aware of and cultivating an internal sense of calm and energy is key, rather than having the external world dictate our thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Taking a step back in everyday moments, and consciously choosing how to think, feel and respond versus react to people and situations happening around us. Consider the ocean surface affected by various things acting on it, yet just underneath the surface it is calm and unperturbed. How can we be calm and unperturbed in the face of daily life? Being a conscious observer is a step on that path.
The challenges in much of this are often related to our internal belief system and values that we have gained over our years; from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. Internal messages, dialogue or tapes that play over-and-over which we accept, including self-doubt / low self-esteem / low self-value / low self-worth. These can inform us in both a conscious and subconscious way interfering our sense of well-being. It is important to identify these beliefs and values to make conscious choices about those that serve who we are now or who we are working to become, as well as those that create barriers and keep us stuck and thus not experiencing a full sense of well-being.
Defining our sense of self and self-care strategies can be deep, reflective work and sometimes difficult to accomplish alone. It often helps to have support in this process. Reach out to someone who can help uncover and discover our true set of values and beliefs. Discover your true sense of self and stay focused on things that support this, creating new internal messages, dialogue or tapes toward this full sense of self in the moment to the point of a new understanding of self being secured. Let go of old baggage that weighs one down and holds one back from fully reaching a sense of wholeness.
Consider the 1/2 glass metaphor. The question asked typically is, “Do you see the glass half-full or half-empty?”, in part giving a window into your mindset of seeing things more positively or less positively. More of the core of yourself however, is that the glass is half. Half full. If we are the glass and we are only half full, we are not able to give as fully of ourselves both to ourselves and to the people that matter in our lives and the roles that we take on. How do you keep your glass full? What are your self-care practices to fill your glass completely? And dare we imagine how it would feel to have our glass runneth over? Go ahead, imagine it. It is achievable. You have the power within you. Access that power.
What self-care step or steps can you take today, will take today toward a greater sense of self-awareness, and ultimately greater self-fullness and self-satisfaction?
Jayne D. B. Marsh is a Leadership and Life Coach specializing in Life Prosperity (flourishing & thriving) through Personal and Professional Growth. Jayne provides Individual Coaching by phone or in-person with those who have a desire to grow and move forward in their life, uncovering and discovering potential and opportunity, as well as small Group Coaching for leaders and business teams. Jayne is trained and certified at the Associate level in Core Energy Coaching by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and a Master Practitioner in the Energy Leadership Index (ELI-MP); programs certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). firstname.lastname@example.org. http://linkedin.com/in/jaynedbmarshvisioncoaching.