Sometimes I really envy those people who can go to extra lengths to take care of themselves.
They know when to take a break. They know how to chill and think less about stuff they cannot control. They have immense self-control to regulate their actions around simple, day-to-day things like food, exercise, or sleep.
And it comes naturally to them.
On the other hand, I frequently struggle with self-care.
I find it hard to take things easy. My mind never stops working. At times, I cannot stop obsessing about things not under my control.
It becomes worse in extreme scenarios.
If I am extremely busy, I conveniently neglect things like sleep or food and compromise on their quality. If I am stuck in a rut, I fall into the trap of seeking temporary pleasure from junk food or oversleeping.
Seeking comfort in food is usually one of my default patterns and it always reminds me of this article on Yoga of Eating by Tiago Forte where he says,
“We crave rich foods as a form of self-care in the face of unsustainable demands on our spirit.”
The truth is I never learned or was never taught how to take care of myself when nobody was around.
To be honest, I feel even most adults, or at least adults of my parent’s generation, don’t know much about this either. Maybe that’s why sometimes they say self-care is a luxury.
But, I have realized that it is not just a luxury.
It is a critical part of the adulting process, especially today when there is a need to be our unique, authentic selves more than ever.
I have begun to experience that I cannot be my authentic self and fulfill my potential consistently unless I know how to regulate and take care of myself.
We can go on for a few months, maybe years, as we do in our 20s without taking care of ourselves.
But, we realize that while chasing career goals, we also move toward burnout, anxiety, or depression, sometimes questioning our purpose in this lifetime.
It is like driving a brand new car in your early years and 20s/early 30s. Sooner or later, without regular service and cleaning, the car is going to crash.
So, how does one start with the self-care?
I honestly don’t know the right answer. Maybe this awareness and acknowledgment that I suck at it would be the first step toward it. Hopefully.
In one of the episodes of Ted Lasso, a heartwarming web series I watched and loved recently, there is a line that got stuck with me:
“Self-care can be scary. Flight or fight is a natural response.”
Maybe to begin, one small act of self-care could be to practice a mindful pause when you feel your internal engine light blinking. This is when you are just present with the icky feelings and sensations without falling back to your usual coping mechanisms.
And eventually, you discover and experiment with more acts of self-care.
Watching a sunrise/sunset. A glass of water to take a break. Going on a walk. Meditation. Salt baths. A good night’s sleep. Whatever soothes your body and spirit and helps you come back to the present moment.
How do you take care of yourself?
Or do you think self-care is a luxury only few can afford?
What is your idea of self-care?
What are some small acts of self-care that have made a big impact on your life?
Share your thoughts and/or suggestions in the replies! 🙂
Until next time,