How to Master Self-Care, The Journey, pt. 2

Welcome to part 2 of the journey. Since this journey is all about you and you, we are going to talk about our favorite topic that you’ve probably heard a million times now and are maybe a little sick of ;) - self-care.

How do you feel about self-care? What thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and memories come up when you hear the word? Are you like “fuck yeah! self-care” or “ughh, this again”? What brought you to click on this post?

Taking care of ourselves is a fact of life. I don’t really see it as much of a choice. We can choose how much we take care of ourselves - but you have to take care of yourselves at least a little bit to even survive. You are already practicing self-care - even if you haven’t even tried, even if you’ve set zero intentionality. So, please, go ahead and pat yourself on the back - you’ve been doing self-care all along.

So now that you’ve realized that you’re already doing self-care, you might be thinking “Yes, that’s nice, but how do I get good at it? How do I do it even when I don’t want to?” I’m going to give you some of my thoughts, but I have to first respond by making it clear that there is nothing that will make you always want to do the things you know you should probably be doing. None of us always want to do it. And if someone told me they did, I would, in my mind, tell myself they are full of shit - even if that was just to make myself feel better.

I could be famished, my phone could be right next to me (easy access to delivery), I could have a frozen pizza in the oven, and it still might be a struggle to get myself up to nourish myself. The thing that finally gets me there, is understanding and trusting that I will feel better once I do it - but still, it doesn't always work.

But there are ways to make us more inclined to do it when we don’t want to. So here we go...

  • Reframe Self-Care

  • Find out what self-care needs to mean for you right now. Sometimes self-care is getting food, any food in your body, other times it’s specifically getting healthy food into your body. Sometimes self-care also means sleeping a little more than is needed, or taking that mental health day, or turning off your phone. Sometimes self-care is saying no to the stereotypical idea of self-care and yes to whatever the fuck I want right now. Self-care can’t always be that, because balance - but it should probably sometimes be that, because… b a l a n c e.

    Part 1 of this journey is meant to get you in tune with yourself and your needs. You have to first be aware of what’s happening, and then you can identify “Do I need to be rigid with myself and my routine right now? Or do I need to be a little flexible?” I see a lot of stuff online saying that self-care must be this or that - but it is simply what it needs to be for you. You are the most important thing in self-care, and no one knows you better than you.

    Be open to what self-care can look like. Your ability to shift and shape new beliefs is one of your many superpowers.

  • Focus Your Self-Awareness

  • The reason I made Self-Awareness ( Part 1) of the journey is because it’s going to be really hard to engage in this process, and especially self-care, if you don’t first develop even the slightest ability to tune into what’s happening internally.

    Your internal experience is your wisdom. It will take time to learn how to read yourself, but to get that far you have to start. But if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’ve already read part 1 or already have some capacity to tune in internally.

    When I say focus your self-awareness, I mean start to do a regular internal scan and ask yourself:

    “How am I feeling right now?”
    “What might be causing me to feel this way?”
    “What might make me feel better?”
    When I’m laying in bed, and I start to get a headache, and a somber mood is sneaking in - I ask myself these questions and then remember that I haven’t eaten today and some food might make me feel better. 

    When I’m hanging out with a friend, and I start to make snippy comments or feel irritable - I ask myself these questions and realize, maybe I should leave this scenario, maybe I need some alone time because I am not enjoying myself and I can try again with this person another day.

    When I start to ruminate on past experience, and feel shame bubble up - I ask myself these questions and notice that maybe it would be nice to remind myself of the good things I’ve done, that I am human, and that my mistakes don’t define me.

    What you decide to do might not immediately shift how you’re feeling. You might need to use trial and error A LOT. But that is the journey, that is the process not only in self-care, but in life. And it’s okay to be frustrated by it, it’s okay to get exhausted, it’s okay to want to give up sometimes. Feel it, take a deep breath (or 20), and set an intention to try again. That is self-care too.

  • Resource Yourself

  • If you don’t know what works for you, or what to even try, it becomes really easy to do nothing. You might be aware that you aren’t feeling good or that you need a shift, but then becoming aware of it with no way out of it can lead you to feeling overwhelmed - and can lead you to saying fuck this journey and all this mental health BS. And that’s understandable because we do this journey to feel better - and when we aren’t resourced, we can feel worse.

    So resourcing yourself is how you avoid that overwhelm, and in turn you start to build trust with yourself. It’s like looking in the mirror and saying...
    “I got you, no matter what, even if no one else is around. I am here, and I am prepared, and I will do my best even if it isn’t always perfect, even if it doesn’t always work.”

    The nice thing about resourcing is realizing that there are an infinite amount of different ways to practice self-care, but you want to find what works for you. During the trial and error phase of your self-care practice, I recommend seeking out the lists of self-care, and just start trying stuff.

    To start you off, here's one.

    Try the stuff that immediately stands out to you, AND try the stuff that you think is stupid. Think of it like an experiment, because it is an experiment, and in a life where none of us have the answers - experiments are good.

    You master self-care by trying and trying again. Over time, it will become automatic. And then something will happen, and you’ll have to find new things to try yet again, and then those will become automatic. But this ride will happen over an extended period of time which means you’ve got years to look forward to where you have developed enough understanding and trust in your ability to self-care that you feel more grounded and capable of tackling scary uncomfortable life stuff.

    Self-care won’t take away sadness, anger, grief, fear, or anxiety. Self-care simply helps you to feel confident in getting through those feelings, and helps you to feel less overwhelmed.

    So, again.

    1. Reframe Self-Care: Remember it is anything that helps you to survive. If you want to get more granular, it shifts you from not feeling so great, to feeling better.
    2. Focus Your Self-Awareness: Start Intentionally noticing when you aren’t feeling great, and intentionally notice what helps you to feel better. This will require experimentation.
    3. Resource Yourself: Develop your own long list of fun/enjoyable shit that makes you feel good inside. It could be as simple as saying a nice thing to yourself or cuddling with a blanket, or something as big as intentionally making a big beneficial life change.

    Take what works, and leave the rest.

    xx
    Abra

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