Self-care teaches us how to truly love ourselves, live life lovingly, effortlessly, detached and without emotional overwhelm.  It energises and resources us to respond to whatever is presented in life, including work, parenting, relationships and caring for others.  If no one told you how to do that, this is how.

Inner before outer

If you find yourself obsessively concerned (thinking) about another, their needs and what you can do for them, then this is an indication you have forgotten yourself. This is not to say you ignore the other person. But if another or others become your main pre-occupation, then ask yourself, what’s going on and where am I? You can bring yourself back to you by re-connecting to your breath. Focus on the gentleness of your breath, the in-breath and out-breath. Each time your mind wanders to the other person or problem, return to your breath. In-breath, out-breath, brings you back to you.

You are worthy

If you find yourself thinking I’m not worthy or feel you’re not doing enough, cut it. Go back to your breath. We are all intrinsically worthy.

You may ask how does a woman (or man) in the roles of employee, parent, daughter/son, husband/wife/partner and carer find time for themselves?


Change the narrative.

Self-care first, and equally care for others as you serve.

Too often we put others before ourselves. This, often considered selfless and good, leads to our own detriment. Self-forgetfulness creates exhaustion, stress, overwhelm and even burn-out. You begin to resent your job or responsibility. Your first priority is yourself. This is not selfish, it is self-regarding and gives you resources to fully care for yourself and another without depleting yourself.

Your well-being is equal to the person being cared for

This is important even if they have a life-threatening illness or are a child. Self-care is loving and designed to nurture you, and you are important.

Commit to you, not time

If you are committed to the wellbeing of another, why not be committed to your own wellbeing? If you make time for others why not make time for you? If your day/week is so full, you are squeezed out, what does that tell you? Have you forgotten you? Have you not allocated time for yourself? Look at your day/week and begin to allocate ‘me only moments’ every day to rest, exercise, walk, bathe, meet a friend.

Listen to your body, not your mind

Your body is in constant communication, so is your mind. Your body tells you when you’re hot, cold, tired, hungry, dull, enlivened, balanced, imbalanced, stressed, burned out. But how often do we listen? Listening to our body is fundamental to true self-care. When we override what it tells us, it’s usually because the mind has taken over and pushes us into over-drive, achievement, rush, results focus, or needs of another person.

‘Busy, busy, busy’, an expression often used, is a sign the mind is running the show.

Your body is your buddy

Listen and respond to your body’s messages. This takes practice and commitment but the benefits are immeasurable.

Learn to observe

This means observing our inner world as well as what’s going on around us. Observing yourself means listening to your body: feelings, energy levels, sensations. It constantly gives you feedback.  Are you responding or ignoring what it’s telling you? In true relationships, an observer sees what is happening for the other person but is detached from it, not embroiled in it. Even in caring relationships it supports to STOP and STEP BACK. Become the observer not the sponge. Simply observe what is going on for the other person. Your responsibility is to support them, not carry them or have any specific outcome. The observer does not take on what belongs to the other person. It is their journey, not yours.

Keep life simple

When we take on too much or try to please others, we can find ourselves in overwhelm. Focus on the essentials and what best supports you.

Healing as a daily activity

Some foods nourish and energise, others do not. As part of listening to your body do your homework, your own research. Find out which foods support your body (heal) and which ones do not or deplete energy reserves (harm). Observe your body when you eat food and its effect on you. Is that food the right food for you? Develop an honest relationship with your body, what you eat and why you eat it.

Exercise and moving the body energises

Exercising or movement activity of some form is very good for our bodies. Exercise is meant to be enjoyable, not hard, a chore or drudgery. Find the activity that you love to do and leaves you feeling alive and joyful at the end, not exhausted.  Make it part of your daily rhythm – a walk or some form of exercise each day energises.

Self-nurturing nourishes

Nurture yourself with delicate gentle movements when you bathe, moisturise your body, lovingly put on your clothes. Self-nurturing cannot be rushed. Allow yourself the time to get ready in the morning, so that you are not rushing. Attend to yourself first before the person you care for. Sleep is precious. If tired take yourself to bed, however early, when able.

Self-care offers as much to those you support as it does to you

Self-care revitalises and supports us to be more present with those we care for. Who wouldn’t want that? You begin to enjoy roles and responsibilities rather than be overwhelmed and drained by them.

This could be considered class 101 of Self-Care

Are you enrolled?

1 thought on “101 of Self-Care”

  1. I was brought up to consider others first and that to put yourself first is selfish. This is the opposite of the truth. How can we truly care for another if we do not have a foundation of nurturing care for ourselves? We will eventually burn out or feel resentful. When we are driven by the task, the demands of another, or even the desire to help we lose our connection with our body and can end up exhausted, especially if we are run by the clock. If we simply respond to what needs to be attended to in the moment, we stay with ourselves and can actually do a lot more without getting tired.

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