We hear so much about self-care today that it seems cliche.
“Be nice to yourself.”
“Give yourself grace.”
“Put on your own oxygen mask first.”
These are just some of the platitudes floating around.
As a Certified Oola Life Coach, self-care is one of the foundations of my coaching practice. I firmly believe it is imperative to take care of ourselves. Caring for ourselves is the first step in being able to extend love and care to others. In fact, self-love is necessary, and wisdom dictates that self-care is a prerequisite.
But how do we get past the hype and the mystique of it all?
One way is by tapping into our personal reason why it’s important to us. And to find out what caring for ourself looks like.
I approach self-care from a fundamental truth: loving ourselves is a moral imperative. The moral compass I operate from is the Bible.
Matthew 22:39 says, “The second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself.” There are more than 20 occurrences of this command in the Bible.
Ephesians 5:28,29 gives the example of “husbands loving their wives as they love their own bodies. No man ever hated his own body but he feeds and cherishes it, just as Christ does the congregation.”
We can’t say we love ourselves if we aren’t even caring for ourselves. Therefore loving ourselves elevates self-care to the level of selflessness, not selfishness.
Other spiritual leaders also teach the wisdom of caring for, and loving, ourselves.
But understanding the benefits of self-care, and the wisdom to apply it, are two different things.
Here’s an example of wisdom vs knowledge:
You’re walking on a train track and you hear a whistle blow. You feel the rumble under your feet. Knowledge tells you a train is coming. Wisdom tells you to get off the tracks!
Wisdom is the application of knowledge.
There are two ways to gain wisdom:
from your own experiences
from those of others.
Personally, I’ve learned the wisdom of self-care. There was a time I felt I didn’t deserve to take care of myself. I didn’t feel worthy. These feelings stemmed from mistakes, an abusive relationship, and from failures in my family that were outside of my control. For some reason, I blamed myself.
When I was at the peak, near my breaking point, self-sabotage was a habit. I was sinking into self-loathing. But slowly, with support from family, and some amazing friends, I began to emerge.
The first thing I addressed was my physical well-being. This was tangible, and easily inside of my control. It was also less daunting than my mental and emotional state. I learned a secret about starting with physical self-care: the benefits far surpassed the physical results.
As I continued, I began to appreciate my own value. Self-care even allowed me to be a better parent, grandparent, daughter, sister, and friend. The best part is that I truly began to love myself.
I learned so much that, when a beautiful person came into my life, I was able to be completely me. Self-care allowed me to find and be a better partner in life. I began to understand the reason why self-care mattered to me:
to be the best version of myself for those I love
to be able to create, and fully experience, memorable moments
I finally found my ‘Why’.
Another thing I learned is that what we feed our soul is equally, if not more important, than what we put in our mouths.
It’s essential to make healthy choices for our physical nourishment. But, the choices we make about our mental and emotional nourishment, are even more critical.
Show me a person eating well and physically fit, yet still battling chronic illness, and I’ll show you a person that is under stress and overwhelmed. This is the area where self-care really shines! When I took the time to work on all areas of my life, stress was reduced, and balance was restored.
Do you practice self-care? Or, do you avoid it? Why?
Don’t wait until you reach the breaking point, like I did. Glean from my experience.
Find your ‘Why’.
Is it to serve a higher mission, create memories and experiences, or to be powerful and fit? Whatever makes you tick, it’s worth becoming the best you.
Here are some areas of self-care to consider:
A fitness routine.
A meditation practice.
A gratitude journal.
Prayer and worship.
Spa day or long bath with a good book.
Goal setting and personal growth.
A morning and evening routine.
Tap into a community
If you need help to start your journey to self-care, find a coach, or mentor, to guide you and hold you accountable.