Defining “Self” Care
Interesting things happen when you’re alone. I mean, truly alone.
I recently completed a 21 day Self Care Detox Challenge. I made up the Challenge, and hence the “rules,” but in a nutshell, I pushed myself to set aside 30 minutes a day to do something for myself.
Yea, I used the word “pushed.” As if you really need to “work hard” at doing nothing for 30 minutes! Well… some of us struggle with that. We are so caught up in work, running, chaos, bills, productivity, squeezing more out of life and into our days, that we neglect the most basic form of self-care.
When I say basic, I mean basic. Being quiet. And alone. Basic.
What I noticed as I began my 30 minutes for 21 days is that we often make things super complicated. I had this whole conversation in my head about, “Well, what is self-care? What activities ‘count’ as taking care of myself? What is a good enough use of my time? Is one thing better than another?”
I hear you, as you think this is all ridiculous. And it is. But, how many times have you tried to outdo yourself – to top your own ideas – to weigh what is “better”? I bet you have.
I think we really use money to level the playing field. It’s a language we understand. You can break things down into dollars, and therefore, now we know which “thing” is more valuable.
News flash – value is in the eye of the beholder.
So, during my 30 days, I did a range of activities. Some cost me money. Some cost me nothing. They all took time. In the beginning, I was wrapped up in making the experience super meaningful. So, as one of my first activities, I got a massage. A massage, to me, is obviously self-care. Everyone knows that…
As my 21 days went along, I realized something very interesting – my belief that money made something more valuable. It’s not hard to know why I think this; we are programmed to believe this our whole lives. So, therefore, the money I spent on the massage made it more valuable than the quiet meditation I did in my hammock at home.
I also stumbled upon my own irony – tying my own self-care to activities to other people. I’m not getting a massage without a therapist, right? Then I raise the question: How much responsibility of my own self-care do I place on others? Is it the therapist’s job to make me feel great? So, if I don’t feel great, does that mean that self-care is hogwash?
Raising the bigger question: How much of my self-care do I actually do MYSELF? When I walk, I use headphones. When I get a massage, I see a therapist. When I got to the chiropractor, I see a doctor. When I zone out at night, I watch Netflix. When I want to escape my reality, I read a book. When I have a few minutes to disconnect, I do the opposite, and scroll through Facebook. The list goes on and on.
What I found in the 21 days is that the best quality of self-care I received is when I spent time alone. In my head. Just me. It is in that space that I found peace, calm, and freedom. That’s where great ideas are born. Revelations are made. Strength and answers are found.
That isn’t to devalue a massage, a facial, the chiropractor, a good book, etc. It’s just my realization that it’s different. I think many of us struggle to be quiet in our minds. We struggle to be alone. We struggle with our own thoughts when there is no one around to listen. We want validation from others. We judge our worth and time based on how much we spent or by the qualifications of the person we were with.
The bottom line is, you are enough. Just you. Just your thoughts.
We also have so much power within us. So much of what we seek truly lies in our souls. Just be comfortable enough inside your own skin to hear and feel your own thoughts. The guidance we receive in the quiet spaces in our mind is our true path. No road signs and flashing lights of approval are needed by anyone else. Trust yourself.
If you struggle with being alone in your own mind, whether it’s fear or just a hectic life you lead, I challenge you to put aside the busyness and connect with yourself, even if you have to make an appointment with yourself to do so. No need to rely on anyone else. You are enough.
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