The term self-care is becoming popular and more widely recognized by women around the world. I suspect this is because more of us continue to live busy lives, thus the importance of “time for self” gets more pressing with every day.
But just because we have heard about self-care doesn’t mean we actually know what it is!
On the weekend I presented a talk on self-care to a group of maternity health professionals, and preparing for this reminded me of the key thing I think so many people misunderstand about self-care and therefore avoid doing it. This is most common misconception we make about self-care, so are you ready to get your world rocked ??!
What self-care isn’t
Self-care is NOT about doing more so you are healthier and happier.
It is NOT about adding more to your to-do-list and creating more reasons to rush, be busy or beat ourselves up.
It is NOT about being all the things you know you should, or doing all the things you should in order to be healthier or happier
What self-care REALLY is
At its heart, self-care is really about taking things off our plate instead of putting more on it.
It is about making things easier for ourselves, by fostering an awareness of self-compassion and creating a gentle inner dialogue so we can slow down and find more peace with where we are.
This means, when you learn to practice self-care, you get better at saying NO and making your life simpler. You get better and knowing what does or doesn’t serve you, and then you can say yes or no more easily.
Which brings us to the conversation about how we talk to ourselves..
I truly believe the most important (yet underlying element) of self-care is learning to have more COMPASSION and KINDNESS with ourselves.
Through cultivating more positive, patient and loving inner voice or self talk, we put down the self-beating stick of criticism and instead embrace what we need in the moment. Through having more self-compassion, we let ourselves acknowledge and admit when we are feeling over stretched. Even more powerfully, through a mindset of self-compassion we can also be kind enough to not make such feelings wrong – instead just understanding they are simply how we feel!
It is never wrong to be frustrated or angry, sad or anxious, these are simply feelings that are giving us FEEDBACK on where our thoughts are currently focused. By learning to accept this feedback as a form of communication, we further cultivate self-compassion and find more peace with where we are now.
What this means for me
Through teaching and modelling self-care in my life, I find my awareness of what I can and can’t do (without negative consequences for me) continues to get much clearer. Yet I do still have those days/weeks where I take on too much, or don’t want to say no to an opportunity and suddenly I’m end up feeling way over committed.
Today as I write this, I have chosen to honour myself with a day of much needed rest. As I sit listening to the gentle rain falling I’m letting my long to-do-list wait and instead taking the day to breathe out and slow down fully. To be more in the present. And I know that by making this time for me now, by this afternoon – when I need to get back on the horse of life and its many commitments – I will feel so much better, calmer more balanced and more at peace for it.
Which helps me remember the real truth above all else; that I am a human BEING not a human DOING. Sometimes the day to day DOING really needs to be put on pause for a bit, in-honour of self-care and self-compassion. And because I choose to live a life with increasingly more presence fun, pleasure and ease than stress, I am choosing to do that today for myself.
What can this mean for you?
Take a moment to explore this simple question: what can you do to bring more self-care or self-compassion into your day today?
Have fun cultivating more self-compassion in your life however you do it. And if you need support and guidance on the how, reach out or comment below.
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based women’s self-care + happiness coach specialising in fertility, pregnancy + birth, motherhood + beyond. She is trained a HypnoBirthing® practitioner + personal renewal facilitator with is passion for helping women bring more self-care into daily life. Bree coaches women across a wide range of areas, runs restorative + self-care retreats, and has a range of and hypnosis downloads available on iTunes. Read more about Bree here.