What is Self-Care anyway? It's such a thrown around catch phrase these days, yet no one REALLY knows what it is. The reason no one can really define it is because what self-care is for me will probably be very different for you.
How I teach self-care to my clients is a simple exercise we often do in a session and then they take it home and add on more. Let me preface by saying that SELF-CARE ISN'T SELFISH. Here is my little inspirational video that talks more about how self-care is actually the most generous thing you can do: A Self-Care Reminder.
But let's get started on the most simple way you can uncover what kind of self-care works for you.
1) Grab a pen and paper. Preferably a larger piece or something that you can post or see regularly. Perhaps some fun coloured pens or markers too!
2) Sit in a quiet place and take a moment and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and just relax into your body. No need to overthink, no need to clear your mind, just trust that whatever is happening for you is what is needed. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, take 5-10 breaths.
3) With your eyes still closed think about your current day or your yesterday. Start from the morning and go through every detail. Take your time.
4) Now that you are scanning your day, look at yourself. See your facial expressions and observe your body language. When you are doing this, watch to see what things throughout your day naturally made you smile.
5) Notice the small things that made you smile, that changed your body posture to be open. It can be as simple as a bus driving saying "Good morning" when they greet you. This is OK. There is no wrong answer.
6) Now that you've noticed those small things, check in with your heart and ask it; "What was it specifically that made me smile?" Perhaps the "Good Morning" from the bus driver gave you a sense of acknowledgement, which makes you feel a sense of connectedness, which makes you ultimately feel a small pang of excitement (or what I often refer to as the spark ).
7) If you have the time, look at the rest of your day this way and gently observe what gave you that spark. Be curious, and ask yourself why?
8) Once you feel you are finished, slowly open your eyes and grab your pen and paper.
9) Write down what you noticed. Did you like feeling Joy? Did you notice sparks of Passion? Perhaps you felt love in your heart? Or maybe the sensation of gratitude? See if you can track a pattern of emotions.
10) On the backside or on another sheet of paper, divide the sheet into 6 sections; Mental (brain), Emotional (heart), Physical (body), Spiritual (soul), Social (community), Practical (life skills).
11) Under each section try to come up with a minimum of 2 things that you did throughout your day that filled you up. For example, under the Social category, when getting a greeting from a bus driver you felt a sense of connection. Perhaps you saying "Good Morning" to your neighbour or the bus driver first is something that will nurture your social self-care?
12) Go through and repeat this process as many times as needed. If you are struggling, the additional step I suggest is tracking your day. So easy we forget the small stuff that lights us up. When you notice yourself feeling "good" take a second to write in your phone your surroundings, the situation and what you were feeling. (added bonus, this technique helps us cultivate more gratitude in our lives, and gratitude is a proven aid in helping alleviate depression while manifesting abundance!)
If you're overwhelmed with where to start, take a moment to watch the video I created below for step by step instructions on how to create your own visual self-care plan:
Once you feel your self-care plan is complete, I want to encourage you to post it somewhere visible. Mine is on the back of my bedroom door. This is a visual reminder to you of the many things you have in your back pocket that you KNOW rejuvenates you. It's also a physical reminder to check in daily and try to do something small just for yourself each day!
Let me know what you thought about this exercise, and I would love to hear from each one of you what your favourite self-care tip is! What is one completely random thing you do just for you?