Let’s talk about why and how to start a self-care practice.
A Little Background
A little background about how I learned this the hard way and why I want to share it with you … Years ago, I remember zipping up my pencil skirt for work getting ready for another day. I remember the chaos around me and the stress that awaited me. In that moment, I looked out the window and wondered “is this it?” This was the first time I’d ever questioned the course I was on and while I wouldn’t understand the magnitude at the time, something began to shift.
By outside appearances, all was going well. In hindsight, I can see that I was completely disconnected from myself, going through the motions and a robot on autopilot.
I was experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety which I drowned out with alcohol. Needless to say, that didn’t go well. If you’re interested, you can hear the full story here.
To make a long story short, I would land myself in rehab and find myself here now 10 years sober with a mindset and life that look very different.
What I Learned
What I learned was that I was stressed out trying to meet expectations and benchmarks that I hadn’t created. In fact, I had zero self-awareness. In addition, I thought that feeling awful, tense and having a monkey brain were completely normal.
When I decided to get sober, I had a realization that I needed to do this by myself and for myself. Most importantly, I needed to find some compassion for myself and be on my own side. Likewise, I found this idea to not only be completely novel but, extremely difficult. When I started, I took incredibly small steps because that’s all I could manage but, I kept at it.
In addition, I realized how much energy I’d put into my own self-destruction and wondered what would happen if I used that energy for good?
When I began to see that personality responsibility wasn’t a burden but, an incredible opportunity, it felt like empowering myself to look at things and create some meaningful steps for myself. And, if I was going to all this trouble to turn things around then, I wanted to find and create joy for myself – in a million small ways every day. Slowly I began to create a life that felt fulfilling to me.
What is Self-Care Really?
We hear this term ALOT but, what is self-care really? To me, it’s finding a place where we love ourselves and we take responsibility for ourselves. Like we would care for something that we really love, we find a kindness for ourselves. We listen to our needs and take mindful actions to fill them.
I hear a lot of ideas tossed around about what self-care is and isn’t – some people say it’s not manicures for example – that’s not going deep enough. Let’s not put rules around it. Rather, let’s believe that self-care can be whatever you make it. Self-care is whatever feels nourishing to us. Likewise, self-care is better done simply and consistently than one grand gesture that fills your cup for only a time.
What Gets in the Way
I’ve spoken to thousands of people over the years and I want to take a moment to highlight what gets in the way. Perhaps if we call it out, we can know that it’s normal and then,move these obstacles out of the way. I know that I’ve hit all of these roadblocks and perhaps you have too. In no particular order, here’s what I hear most often:
Worthiness is a big one. For an infinite number of possible reasons, we don’t feel that we’re worth it. Other people are but, not us. Whether you feel this way or not, I’m going to encourage you to begin a simple self-care practice. It might feel very uncomfortable at first but, just stick at it. Things will shift. I know it. You are worth it but, you may not have realized it yet.
By delayed gratification, I mean that we think we need to work now (or take care of others) and take care of ourselves later. Self-care is not a top priority. What I can tell you is that this approach leaves things until it’s way too late. We need to take care of ourselves consistently so, we are healthy and happy. Not only will this make our work lives and relationships better but, it will serve us much better over the long-term.
In our chaotic and busy world, there’s just never enough time. First, your time is your responsibility. You can choose how you spend your time and creating time for self-care should be a priority. Second, in the following steps, I will show you that self-care doesn’t need to take a lot of time and it can be integrated into your everyday life. Do not underestimate the power of simple and consistent steps on a daily basis.
Starting a Simple Self-Care Practice
First, don’t overthink it, just start. No matter how awkward it feels, commit to 30 days of simple self-care steps.
Remember that, simple and consistent will not only make your practice doable but, it will also build momentum over time. In doing so, you will begin to create a habit and ultimately it will become a lifestyle.
Create an intention each morning. I encourage you to pick a word or action that will inspire you. You could pick an intention card, choose a word of your own or pick from my 3 go-tos: love, kindness or gratitude. All excellent places to start.
Ask yourself, “if I cared about myself, what would I do today?”. Answer with simple actions that are easy to integrate in your day. Some examples might include: taking breaks, getting a good night’s sleep, going for a walk, listening to music I love or having a healthy snack. Begin to include self-care everyday and layer it into what you’re already doing.
Notice what you’re grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful practice as it encourages us to reflect, notice the abundance in our lives and it also re-wires your brain. On good days and bad days, notice the things that you are actually really grateful for.
Make a Commitment to Yourself
Make a commitment to yourself to begin a very simple and consistent self-care practice. Be accountable and keep it up – even when you feel uncomfortable or like it’s “not working”. Sometimes we don’t feel instant gratification but, by building a practice you will begin to see a significant transformation over time.
Loving yourself and caring for yourself will never be time poorly spent.
Start simply and I think you just might find this whole journey much more fulfilling.
Above all, create a practice that brings you joy.
Resources to Help You Get Started
I’ve created some great tools to help you get started:
Self-Care Starter Kit – this card deck is a great companion to help you get started and will give you simple, daily ideas for your self-care practice.
We have several intention card decks. If another deck feels more inspiring to you, those are also excellent choices.
All of our decks come in Deluxe Ritual Set versions. I’ve included everything you need to create a beautiful daily practice (card holder, rose quartz crystal (to promote self-love and energy clearing) and little card with 3 simple steps to get started).
Find us on social media for daily ideas and inspiration:
Instagram – @mayyouknowjoy
Facebook – May You Know Joy
TikTok – @mayyouknowjoy