The Art of Self-Care
The art of self-care is a simple yet profound concept. It involves no-one else and is best practiced held-lightly and with grace. It teaches self-love, inclusion and gentleness. Its intention: to bring together the disparate aspects of our psyche and physical awareness. It soothes and it consoles. And it enlivens.
I’m not talking here about the to-do list which many of us can associate with fitness and well-being…the sessions at the gym, the squeezing in a manicure, a physio session or overdue visit to the doctor. I’m not referring to slowing our pace as we rush here or there, or taking a day off sick when we feel we should instead be at work. What I’m referring to, is the nature of caring for our-self – all the parts of our-self, all of the time. Forever. No more conflict, no more sacrifice, just the decision to choose yourself above all else, with all else. Period.
This simple decision, when made, will have the greatest impact on your well-being and wellness. For now you are working with yourself, not against yourself. No longer do our bodies need to fight for our attention but are incorporated into all that we do. They form part of the ongoing decision-making, subtly influencing what we absorb and what we share. Wellness becomes a daily consideration for not just us, but those around us. For if we cannot care for our-self, how can we care for others?
Self-care is an art, for it requires us to become creative, to listen, and to observe. We create not from what we know, but from who we are. In listening to ourselves, we become able to hear what our bodies are telling us; not just our physical body, but also our mental body, our emotional body and our energetic body. As we listen and acknowledge how we are feeling within these different aspects of our-self, we start to consider not just what needs doing in day-to-day life, but how we are going to do it. As we allow space and movement in any one area of our psyche, we both intrinsically affect all other areas and begin to integrate emotionally, mentally, physically and energetically. As we come together, we begin to feel whole.
At its core, self-care teaches self-love; that we each have our own answers, needs and desires…and that we can accomplish them. Correspondingly, all our needs and desires are themselves rooted in self-care. As one enhances the other, we start to act instead of react. Life becomes fuller, and calmer.
The decision to make self-care non-negotiable is the work. Once this decision is made our role is to hold ourselves lightly, with gentleness and kindness. We observe, and we start to feel our way forward. We give our mental body a rest as we slowly replace thinking with feeling, judgement with kindness, and doing with being. We enable our emotions to surface, to diffuse, and to inspire us. We chose movement which brings space, not constriction to the physical body. And we allow ourselves to gravitate to environments and people we find energetically uplifting and healing. We do what feels nice. And as we make these small yet consistent acts of self-care, we begin to re-shape not just our lives, but also ourselves.