I was introduced to the concept of "self care" during my time at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). At this point in my life I was doing ALL the things I thought were essential to be healthy: eating lots of veggies, running almost every day and going to yoga a few times per week.
And yet I was still anxious, not totally comfortable in my body and (probably most importantly) I constantly felt like there was something missing from my life.
Through my studies at IIN, I learned that there's SO much more to a healthy human than a number on a scale; that our relationships and careers and jobs play a just as crucial role as diet or exercise in determining how good we feel. While my brain understood this at the time, this concept of caring for my WHOLE self - body, mind and spirit - has only really landed recently. Let me elaborate...
I grew up with the belief system "Hard work pays off."
Now, as an entrepreneur who runs not one but TWO businesses I've learned that hustling harder doesn't always mean more success, more happiness. It's only when that work is aligned with YOUR purpose (and this doesn't have to be your life's purpose, but your purpose in that moment) that the magic happens: that you feel inspired, fulfilled and energetically fed. This is true whether you're an entrepreneur or not.
You may be thinking "Emily - I have NO idea what my purpose is."
This is where self care comes in.
The only way to get clear on the best and most aligned actions for YOU in any moment is to take the time to listen to you. This is true self care - listening to and honoring that voice inside of you that knows your next best step in every situation. When you take care of yourself, not only will YOU feel better, you're able to be a better employee/co-worker/parent/friend/partner/etc.
Sure, things like going to yoga and getting massages are great, but the purpose of these activities (and any self care activities) should be to tune in. Often times we use a spa day or a Netflix binge to tune OUT from what's going on in our lives; I want to challenge you to instead find activities and spaces that allow you to be present: to feel your feelings, see your thoughts and connect to you.
When we define self care this way, we open up the definition of this phrase.
For example self care can be...
- Getting to the office a little earlier so that you can enjoy your coffee in quiet before the day officially begins.
- Skipping the spin class and instead taking a walk outside while talking to that friend who just GETS you.
- Not making plans for a full day on the weekend so that you can spend some time with just you.
The final piece that I want to share about self care (for today at least) is this: You MUST make your self care your top priority.
Traditionally self care has been seen as a luxury, as something we can do when we "have the time."
Time is such a funny thing. Time is what you make it, and there is more than enough when we simply focus on what's important.
This year I want us all to make self care a non-negotiable: something that we plan our schedules around, not something that we just squeeze in on the weekends or when it's convenient.
How to make self care a non-negotiable:
Identify the self care activity you want to commit to - What is something that you know makes you feel AMAZING and so much more like yourself? Likely there will be something that pops into your head right away, but feel free to check out this list for ideas: Self care ideas.
Make it a priority - How can you make this specific thing happen on a daily or weekly basis? Is there something in your schedule, or in your mindset, needs to shift? Tip: You'll never know what's possible until you TRY or ASK. Maybe you think your boss won't let you sneak away for a lunch time gym session, but maybe she will. ASK.
Commit to it - Hit reply to this email or leave a comment over on my Instagram and tell me: WHAT are you committing to? Sharing your intention is a powerful way to stay accountable and follow through.
I'll go first. Here are my current self care non-negotiables:
- 10 minutes of meditation daily
- Weekly acupuncture
- Making sure I have blocks of unscheduled time every week for reading, learning, cooking, or whatever feels good in that moment
The last one will probably be the most difficult for me so keep me honest!! If you see me doing a million things on the weekend, please call me out :)
Now it's your turn: What is one act of self care that you are committing to this year? I can't wait to hear and be inspired.