What are the core principles of self-care?By Linda Emslie on 31 August 2018
A very dear friend, teacher and mentor, tells us that self-care is a decision. When you decide to make care for self a priority, it happens!
And I agree. So often we think we’d like to take better care of ourselves, and yet there is always something more important that needs our attention…
Really? More important than you? What is going on in your life that is more important than you? Maybe a better way to frame that question is: What’s going on in your world that’s more vital than your presence? What would happen if you weren’t actually around to make that priority happen? What then?
There are three fundamental pillars to self-care. We are all so familiar with them that they roll glibly off our tongues, but no longer have much resonance or meaning.
They are: body, mind and spirit.
There’s a tendency to view these as discrete units. But as we are all beginning to understand, everything is interconnected. There really is no this one ends here, this one starts here. They flow seamlessly in to and around each other, influencing and affecting each other.
Let’s talk about Body.
You’ve heard me speak previously about how important your body is. Let’s revisit that. Your body is the sacred vessel that carries your Soul here on Earth. This is the way your Soul has chosen to experience your life journey, to enrich the tapestry of the whole of creation. It is imperative that you fully inhabit your body and move through this world with all of your senses open. Rekindle the magic, embrace the wonder of the inner child and realise the exquisite beauty of the world around you.
There are many ways to get back into connection with your body. They all revolve around one fundamental point – movement! Your body is made to move, so get up and move. Get out and move in the world around you. Open your senses and let the sensory information pour in.
Movement enables you to release stuck energy, to reinvigorate your body with fresh blood and oxygen, to relieve stress and tension. It is a sure-fire way to start feeling good about yourself – because movement helps release endorphins. Your body rewards you for treating it right!
Remember, if you have been still and quiet for a long period of time, or if you are recovering from injury, illness or surgery explore the movement options available to you and pick something that supports and assists your body for where it is at right now.
If you have a vision to run a marathon, that’s fantastic. You have a fabulous goal to aim for, but you won’t run that marathon today or tomorrow, if you have only just decided to “get off the couch”. You’ll need to build your fitness, strength, reservie and endurance. You have to work your way up to it.
Pick movement that uplifts you, feels good and if it includes laughter and new friendships, even better.
Just as movement is great for the body, and brings you fully to home in your body, stillness is great for the mind. Being able to cultivate stillness is a skill and is something to aim for, just like running a marathon.
Cultivating stillness can be achieved through the now popular activity – meditation. And there are many forms of meditation. Again, it is worth shopping around, trying things to see what works for you. What makes you feel good and feel right? Remember though the art of stillness is not necessarily the absence of thought. It is the absence of engagement in those thoughts.
Another art of stillness that’s not often mentioned is that of day-dreaming. Again this is a practice that lets the mind choose a pathway different to the well-worn, mundane path of your every day thoughts, worries and concerns.
This is the place where Spirit whispers, where dreams take flight, where imagination and intuition intertwine.
What about Spirit?
Spirit entwines, enfolds and embraces us. Whether we choose to acknowledge that or not, it is there. How we choose to enhance our personal understanding is what’s important.
There are many paths available, and again, it is about asking questions, and listening to how answers reverberate within you. Your clearest guidance is always going to come from within, but for many of us, accessing that inner wisdom is tricky.
A spiritual framework can help guide your inner journey and enhance your bodily experience.
Many of us are waking up – coming to the realization that our bodily existence on Earth has a far more profound purpose than working to pay bills, and then keeling over at the end of our life. We may not really be clear about what that bigger purpose is, but there are some common themes that millions of us are striving towards. They include
- The idea of interconnectedness
- Higher consciousness
- Universal source of unconditional love
- Soul purpose to learn and grow that enhances cosmic consciousness
- Reconnecting with the wisdom of ancient traditions
And so on.
When it comes to putting these core principles into practice the bottom line is the ability to consciously decide to honour Self. This is the key ingredient that I ask you to take onboard and include in every one of your day to day activities.
Whether your embarking on a self-care practice that nurtures body, mind and Spirit, or self-nurture practices that make you feel good – hair, shopping, food, friends, -- or just getting on with your day-to-day activities. Start making decisions based on how you are honouring yourself in that moment.
This was the topic for discussion during one of my Lounge Room Chats. Feel free to watch the replay.