The new moon is today, which means I’m picking a theme for the month. Last moon was play, which instigated some pretty radical changes. This moon’s theme is developing self care practices to carry me through those changes.
Perhaps you’d like to join me for this theme. This summer and fall are going to be rough for all of us. There’s no way not to be affected by the hatred and vitriol of American politics right now. We had best learn to care for our bodies and spirits so we can show up, be fully present, and help cultivate compassion – starting with ourselves.
I started to write about what self-care looks like for me, but as I did, all sorts of negative thoughts about it popped into my head. This was really frustrating because I know they’re not true, but they still affect the way I take care of myself.
Let’s talk about those instead: the powerful mental obstacles we have to building effective self care practices.
Here are some common misconceptions about self care:
1. It’s selfish.
Sometimes people think when they don’t take care of themselves, it means they’re more community minded. (Think of community as the family unit, the social circle, or the workplace you’re a part of.) But really it’s the opposite. You are part of that community, and you are the single most effective tool in keeping yourself healthy. No one else can do that job as well, so when you drop the ball, the whole community suffers.
2. It only benefits you.
When you’re not taking care of the part of the community that is you, other people have to pick up the slack as best they can. But when you’re healthy, and therefore happy and productive, everyone gets to enjoy the benefits.
3. It takes away from your loved ones.
When other people have to pick up your self care slack, they have less time and energy to care for themselves. Remember, they are the most effective tool in keeping themselves healthy, not you. Tend to your own garden so they don’t have to abandon theirs.
4. You don’t really need it.
Have you ever heard of a breatharian? They’re people who’ve decided they don’t need food – they’ll just live on air because they’re somehow different than every other mammal that walks the earth. That is stupid. So is deciding you don’t need the same self care every other human needs, because you’re superperson.
You deserve to be supported and cared for, and so do I. Sometimes we just need reminders.
If you’d like add more self care into your life, the best place to start is asking yourself questions. I’ve been asking myself a lot. Here are a few examples. (I’d love to know some of your answers to these questions!)
How much sleep do I need to feel rested?
What does my ideal schedule look like? How can I change my current schedule to better align with the ideal?
How can I honor my creative practice more fully?
How can I keep my space less cluttered so I’m less stressed?
How much social media makes me feel connected, but not frazzled?
What food and movements make me feel good?
What sorts of activities help me relax? How can I make time for them?
Where can I automate repeat tasks to give myself more creative time?
Am I getting enough water?
Are there any rituals I might want to add to my days to be more mindful/less stressed?