Putting the Self Back Into Self-CareOct 30, 2020 06:45AM ● By Kelly Lydick
123rf.com/ Roman Samborskyi
For many, many years, our culture has been focused on being productive, sometimes at all costs. Work hard, work hard, and work harder was the norm. Burnout was commonplace, and self-care was an elusive thing. In recent years, the pendulum has swung culturally. As Americans, we’ve begun to value leisure time more, be less in favor of a seven-day workweek, and better recognize and embrace the value of a quality life over being materially focused.
As a result, self-care has become a buzzword in recent years, but many people are still just beginning to understand what that really means. We’ve all heard the term “work-life balance,” but that doesn’t really encompass true self-care. And, when self-care becomes just another thing on the “to-do list” in order to continue to be productive, it remains elusive and inauthentic—diminishing its purpose and impact.
Think of a time when your energy felt drained, physically or emotionally. What did you do to recharge and reenergize? How did you do it? The self is the focus of self-care, with the goal of keeping mind, body, emotion and spirit in balance and harmony. It most often requires that other activity is ceased in order to focus solely on the self to correct imbalances that have occurred as a result of a particular activity, event or experience.
Physically, self-care can include things like proper diet and nutrition, exercise, sleep, and intimacy with a partner.
Emotionally, self-care is healthfully processing emotions as they occur. It also means meeting your own emotional needs, having appropriate boundaries with others, and committing to a full expression of who you are. It can also include saying no to things that pull you out of that balance, or forgiving yourself or others for events that have happened in the past.
Mentally, self-care includes taking proper leisure time, doing things you like for sheer enjoyment, and taking downtime when needed. It also includes positive self-talk, meditation, and can even include support from a therapist or life coach.
Keeping your energetic field balanced is also a part of proper self-care; this is often overlooked in self-care practices. But the energetic field works symbiotically with the physical, mental and emotional bodies, and is as important as these. Energetic self-care can include healthfully discharging negative emotions, healing old patterns of outdated or inherited behaviors, taking regular sea salt baths to clear energy, or even working with a reiki or energetic practitioner.
When we become imbalanced, it’s sometimes a question of the chicken or the egg. Was it emotional? Physical? Energetic? Was it internal mental chatter that triggered one of these? Stop and take an inventory. Tune in and feel which area is the source of the imbalance. Ask yourself what you need in the moment to restore that balance. Is it a brisk walk outdoors? Or maybe a hot cup of calming tea? Or maybe it’s something deeper that needs attention, like processing grief or healing from a relationship that has ended.
When we can put the self back into self-care in order to elevate the practice and integrate into daily life a way of authentically appreciating the self through balance, it’s not just another pedantic thing to cross off of the to-do list.
When you practice proper self-care, you feel recharged. When you are balanced, you feel connected to the core of who you are and have a true desire to honor yourself in all facets. You are also able to focus on the present moment and enjoy your life in a way that is aligned to who you are. Making the commitment to yourself to do the things that keep mind, body, emotion and spirit balanced becomes more than a daily practice, then, and instead an enjoyable and necessary part of life.
Kelly Lydick holds a Master of Arts in writing and consciousness and professional certifications in meditation, optimal healing environments, and music therapy and sound healing. She’s a certified Gateway Dreaming coach, life coach, and reiki master. She’s appeared on iHeart Radio, Align Radio, and others. In 2016, Lydick was honored by the internationally renowned Omega Institute, of Rhinebeck, NY, with a Juno Award for her consulting business, Waking the Dream. She teaches creative writing and personal growth workshops, and offers private sessions via KellyLydick.com.