Holistic Self Care

*written for Crose Nest

Self-care is a trendy topic these days, and it's no wonder! It seems that our lifestyle gets more and more fast-paced with each passing year, leading to lots of folks feeling burned out. I always appreciate the phrase "You can't draw water from an empty well."

Your well is your life force, the energy that sustains you and motivates you through life. Drawing water can mean taking care of others, going to work, being in relationship with anyone, creating anything, and so much more. None of these things are intrinsically bad. But if you notice yourself becoming resentful about any of these, it is a good sign that it's time to refill your own well, through practicing holistic self-care.

While taking care of our bodies through exercise, food, and personal care are very important aspects of self-care, I'm starting to explore categorizing self-care beyond just this physical level. You simply can't face-mask, jog, and green-juice away too much mind-numbing screen time and the inability to genuinely express your emotions. 

And so, I've broken the aspects of self-care into four equal groups:

  • Physical Self-Care, or caring for your vehicle

  • Mental Self-Care, or caring for your mind

  • Emotional Self-Care, or caring for your heart

  • and Spiritual Self-Care, caring for your soul

I've also added suggestions to each category, not to be accomplished as a checklist, but to spark your imagination and give a good starting point.

Physical - Your Vehicle

  • movement

  • nourishment (love-based nutrition)

  • herbal medicine

  • bodywork like massage

  • energy clearing

  • hydration

Physical self-care suggestions for Winter

  1. Practice gentle movement like Yoga, Tai Chi, or walking in nature

  2. Eat warm, well cooked food in good company

  3. Drink warming teas like ginger, elder flower, or chai to build warmth and immunity

  4. Massage your body with sesame, olive, or coconut oil before or after a shower or bath - at least once a week!

  5. Stay hydrated - add a splash of lemon or ginger to water, or drink warm water only

Mental - Your Mind 

  • meditation

  • affirmations / mantra

  • quiet time

  • less screen time

  • practicing deep presence

  • learning new and exciting things

  • witnessing the monkey mind in action

Mental self-care suggestions

  1. Affirmation: I give myself permission to be extra sweet to myself, especially when I'm feeling critical of myself or others.

  2. Loving-Kindness Meditation: repeat this mantra, first saying for yourself, then someone you love or someone you are having a hard time with, and then for all beings. May I be safe, may I be healthy, may I be happy. May my life be filled with ease. May you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be happy...

  3. Set a "quiet time" daily alarm on your phone, and give yourself 10 minutes of uninterrupted space: sit or lie down, close your eyes, and allow yourself to do absolutely nothing but breathe and relax. If you have an anxious nervous system or often feel overstimulated, put in headphones and play a soothing track, burn some incense, and put an eye pillow over your eyes.

Emotional - Your Heart

  • journaling (no filter)

  • expressing / voicing your needs

  • permission to feel ALL your feelings without judgement

  • giving and receiving love

  • caring for someone or something

Emotional self-care suggestions

  1. Start a journaling practice: not to document your life, but to freely and honestly express your thoughts and feelings. A great place to start is Julia Cameron's Morning Pages exercise.

  2. Start noticing how it feels for you to give and express love - to a friend, to family, to your significant other, to a pet, to a child. And notice how you feel as you're receiving love from any of these beings.

  3. Explore the 5 Love Languages, and notice how you like to receive and give love. 

  4. Take some time to sit and listen to music that really moves you. Notice how it makes you feel. 

Spiritual - Your Soul

  • spending time in wonder / awe

  • time with soul family

  • belly laughing

  • sharing your uniqueness with the world

  • imagination & creating

  • connecting with something greater

Spiritual self-care suggestions

  1. Connect with your childhood self: what activities did you really enjoy? How did you enjoy expressing your creativity? Through art, dance, music, writing? Start exploring those avenues again, or explore new ones. Creating is soul food.

  2. Organize a gathering with folks who love, support, and energize you, and have a good time!

  3. Spend time in nature. (Yes, even in the cold!) Notice what is going on around you, like a curious child. Are there birds, animals, leaves, living plants, dead stalks, snow, frost, is the ground frozen or soft... ? Breathe it in. 

  4. Read a book of philosophy, poetry, or a spiritual, religious, or inspirational text that makes you feel energized, empowered, connected, and alive. 

May you begin to tend to all aspects of yourself with deep care

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