It kinda makes me want to poke my eyes out.
I think of the platitudes to get a pedicure, take a bubble bath and soak your cares away. The whole assumption that a pedicure or a bath is somehow a robust offering for a complex life feels like it demeans the complexity of being human. And really, I love both baths and pedicures, but I do not equate them with self-care. At all.
How I define REAL self-care.
First I use a different word altogether - I use the word self-responsibility. Taking good care of yourself is a multifaceted endeavor. It's not just physical - it's mental, it's emotional, it's spiritual, and (oh, you knew I was going to say this) it's financial. All this in the face of the very real fact that if you are a woman who is reading this, you likely are running your own business and you likely have children and a lot of responsibility outside of taking care of yourself.
Self-responsibility is a radical choice.
It is not only an act of great kindness to claim and act on your ability to respond to your own needs (self-responsibility) - it is also a powerful demonstration of your commitment to the life you want, instead of being lost in a state of reaction to what is happening outside of you.
This requires an ability to say no. This requires the ability to discern what is truly aligned with with what you want to create. This requires your full presence in this moment. This is fierce self-love and dedication. It is not for the faint of heart.
Bubble baths my ass.
I know that for me, self-care (you know, self-responsibility) takes a lot of toughness. It is a radical act for me to stay committed to taking care of my body, my mind, my emotions, my spiritual growth, and my finances. What I know now, though, is that being committed to this path of self-responsibility keeps me moving in the right direction in all the right ways.
A typical day of self-responsibility...
Spiritual self-responsibility: Every morning I meditate and/or practice yoga asana. I spend time in silence, be it outdoors or in front of my altar. This connects me to my intuition and after spending time checking in with myself, I ask for guidance in whatever arena needs it. I often spend a few minutes with my journal, post-meditation.
Financial self-responsibility: After meditation and breakfast, I say good morning to my money. I check in with money in/out and express gratitude for whatever is happening in my bank accounts. I also check in with my money at the end of the day and make sure all expenses are accounted for. I set up our household budget at the beginning of every month with my husband and I track our personal budget with Pear Budget (which I simply adore).
Physical self-responsibility: This is the place where I am most likely to struggle. I subscribe to a whole foods mentality and I know that processed foods and grains don't fully agree with my body. So I would say that I am 75 - 80% awesome with how I feel myself with lots of veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, pastured meats and eggs. But I trip myself up with "treats" of sugary goodness.
I'm a fabulous sleeper. I love to go to bed before 10pm and I naturally wake between 6:30 - 7:00am. I feel so completely blessed by my ability to sleep well.
I've often let my business get in the way of exercise, and this year, I'm actively working with taking loving self-responsibility for this as well - and so far, in 2013, I've exercised on average 3 days per week. I recently joined the local Y and I'm taking some classes that are really, really fun (Zumba and Body Combat for those who are curious). I'm appreciating that movement is a gift I give to my body AND to my business (as much as I like to tell myself a story that exercise takes away time from my business).
Emotional self-responsibility: Emotional self-responsibility is woven through the other elements for me. My greatest challenge is giving myself permission to take the time to deal with what comes up. I see everything as a mirror - a spiritual practice of sorts - showing me what requires my attention. Sometimes meditation brings up strong emotion, sometimes checking my bank account does. If I'm not letting myself be with what comes up, well, hello cookies!! Yes, sugary foods become a soothing balm when I'm not taking care of my emotional well-being.
It's all so interwoven, isn't it??
Mental self-responsibility: I see this as taking responsibility for my thinking. What kind of stories am I telling myself? To really care for the health of my mind, again, presence is required. I spent years reacting to the stories I was telling myself. And I still can, but my spiritual practices and my commitment to presence has really helped me bring more awareness to my thinking and to clean it up. I also employ a number of coaches to help keep me honest. Plus, I love being coached almost as much as I love coaching.
I'm not 100% on all the time.
I used to make that mean I had failed, but no more. I'm simply committed to the path of self-responsibility. I'm committed to discerning the right-action to be taken in this moment, based on the best information I have available to me. And joyful learning from the many moments when it's not what I hoped for - with curiosity, compassion, and a lot of love.
Self-responsibility means there is no perfect.
But I believe in my heart that it is the ONLY path to creating what we most want on ALL levels. It is the kindest path. It is the truest expression of self-love and self-care that will help you create what you truly desire in your life.
Namasté, business yogini!
This post is part of a self-care blog hop curated and organized by the lovely Mara Glatzel - a host of amazing bloggers, coaches and teachers are sharing their stories about self-care this month. You can read more on Mara's site. Join the conversation.... XO