There are many different ways that we can actively take care of our mind, body, and soul. Liz Connors, a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, believes that there are 6 different categories of self-care. In her Self-Care Guide Liz shares that we must focus on each aspect in order to have a happier life, they are:
- Social Self-care
- Emotional Self-care
- Physical Self-care
- Practical Self-care
- Spiritual Self-care
- Mental/Psychological Self-care
Most people begin practicing self-care with physical self-care as a way to start our self-love journey. At the beginning of my journey, I was so passionate about my new path of self-love that I jumped in full force in my self-care. What I found was that I forgot to focus on my self-awareness and self-compassion in the self-love tree.
Each branch of this self-love tree connect at the trunk for a reason.
When we begin to practice self-care we need to support ourselves by also incorporating the other branches of self-love. Lately, I have also been prioritizing self-awareness as I mentioned in my article 5 Ways To Mute Your Inner-Critic, and self-forgiveness. According to Christine Arylo, in her article, The 10 Branches of Self-Love, self-awareness means, “You know who you truly are and who you are not, and you have an unwavering commitment to truth about how your actions, thoughts and choices affect your reality and the people around you.”
When I first made the commitment to focus on my self-love, I put too much pressure on myself to meet a certain standard of perfectionism. I compared myself to others and did not place value in my own journey.I had to meet myself where I am. I was recovering from a minor-depression, a single-mom, feeling lonely, overweight, out of shape, and broke.
“Don’t compare your Chapter 3 to someones Chapter 30.” –Rebekah Denise
Arylo defines self-compassion or self-forgiveness as not having a “constant criticism or perfectionism machine running in your mind.” There is nothing perfect about self-love because there is nothing perfect in this life. Thinking about my past use to cause my much grief because a lot of my pain was self inflicted. I caused myself to get in the position that I am in now. Instead of facing my reality, I tried to run from it and stay hidden in my shame.
My silence diminished me.
I was lacking transparency because I was afraid that I would look weak if I admitted what I allowed in my life. Transparency has definitely saved me. Being transparent with God, my friends, family, and in my blog have given me a strength that helps me to forgive myself. I am constantly reminding myself that in order to effectively make my self-care practices habitual, I have to do the following five things:
1. Start Small
Self-care does not have to be some dramatic thing. There are small things that you can do to show yourself some self-care without breaking your pockets or you stamina. Lighting candles, taking naps, cleaning your bedroom, taking a Detox Tea Bath (visit the Self-love Shop to purchase for only $8.00/no shipping or handling), or stretching your body are great ways to incorporate self-care into your lifestyle.
2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Once you have started making small steps in your self-care routine, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and experiment trying new activities. As mentioned, there are 6 forms of self-care and most of us focus on the physical.
Try something new.
If you have been focusing on physical self-care start opening the to spiritual self-care or emotional self-care. By tackling all forms of taking care of your mind, body, and soul, you can truly receive of self-love.
3. Meet Yourself Where You Are
It is difficult to not compare our health and wellness to others, but comparisons are the killer of self-care. You have to meet yourself where you are by understanding your needs, limitations, and ability.
Stop comparing yourself.
For example, if you are a mother and you are trying to practice self-care the way that women do who don’t have children, you may constantly feel like you are inadequate because it’s difficult to find time for the gym, so many moms, like myself have to workout at home. Self-care is not an over-extension of your abilities, if you are not very flexible, don’t start with splits, begin by stretching your body; we have to crawl before we can run. Your journey is your own.
4. Find a Tribe
There are so many benefits to have like-minded individuals on your side when maintaining your self-care:
- Helps give you Accountability
- Ability to be Transparent
- Community building
- Receiving Constructive Criticism
- Provides Motivation and healthy competitiveness
- Gives you the Support you need
If you are focusing on clean-eating, for example, but you are spending the majority of your time with people who are constantly eating fast-food, the temptation you experience could be detrimental to your journey. Join a group or a club, or start one of your own to help you maintain your goals.
5. Know That You Are Not Selfish
We all have responsibilities, but when we are not taking care of of ourselves, our jobs, family, and friendship can become strained because we are unable to give our all. When we neglect ourselves, we cause those around us to suffer. When we take care of ourselves we are more capable of taking care of others. Remember that!
It’s not selfish, it’s self-love.
You are never selfish for making yourself a priority, so pencil yourself in on your calendar, make time for yourself that is reasonable for your lifestyle, for you to take care of you; show up for yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and feel good about making small steps toward your self-care goals. Every action in self-care is a positive step in self-love.