This beautiful ceramic mug is perfect for any event of the day.
- Ceramic 15oz mug
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
~ Excerpt from Wheels to Wellbeing, A practical Self-Care Guide to Living a More Balanced Life.
Chapter 37: Self-Care Is Self-Aware and Intentional
As you proactively schedule in more breaks, you allow self-care to be intentional and habitual, instead of a reaction to trauma or overwhelm. You become more aware of what your body and life needs to feel more balanced. You give yourself more grace and love.
For most of my life, I lived by the philosophy: work hard, play harder. My order of priorities was work, and then play. Rest was simply not in my vocabulary. When challenges or obstacles came my way, I worked harder. If my body hurt or my soul was weary, I pushed through. Until I couldn’t.
Maybe you can relate. I’m talking about those life events that add additional stress to a life you are already struggling to find balance with. It’s an accident or illness. It’s surgery or job loss. You find a lump. A friend moves. Someone dies. It’s a heart attack. Cancer. Divorce. It’s adjusting to a new way of working or learning. It’s everything going on in our world including wildfires, racial and political tensions, Covid-19.
Often it takes a major life event to realize how stressed, overwhelmed, or out of balance you are. These life events force you to pause, reflect, and reprioritize. They force you to change and consider your self-care.
But self-care is easier said than done. You may not be so great at putting yourself first. Perhaps you create your to-do lists and figure you’ll practice self-care when the list is complete (it never is). You take care of everyone else first, and when everyone’s needs are met (they never are), you think of yourself. It’s time to be more aware of and intentional with your self-care so that you can feel more balanced.
There is a story about rocks, pebbles, and sand that is used in time management seminars and teachings about priorities. You start out with an empty jar and a stack of rocks, pebbles, and sand. You’re told all the rocks, pebbles and sand will fit into the jar, as long as you add them in the right order. Start with the wrong item and you will run out of room. Without awareness and intention, you focus on the wrong thing in the wrong order, and all the people, priorities and requirements of your life don’t fit. You look at self-care like a piece of sand instead of the rock that it is.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from setbacks and challenges is that when I make self-care a habit instead of a reward, I feel calm and balanced and more able to handle life events with more ease.
Self-care is about being aware of what builds you up, replenishes you, and restores your energy. It is knowing yourself and your needs and knowing what fills your cup, so that you can share joy and light and love with the world. It is all about knowing yourself and your spokes.
What activities drain you? Let those go.
What are the moments in life when you are completely engaged, relaxed, or happy?
Do more of these.
Do you need solitude or connection?
Do you need to take a nap or dance out your frustration?
Some of my favorite forms of self-care include:
- quality time with my husband
- laughing with my sister
- riding my bike
- a walk in nature
- kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply being near the water
- fueling my body with good nutrition
- taking a nap
- enjoying a cup of tea with a friend
- relaxing in a bath with Epsom salts and essential oils
Your list of self-care tools may look different. I have friends who run, ride horses, work out, and play volleyball as a way to unwind and reduce stress. Others paint, draw, sing, cook, dance, or pray. Many find joy with their dog, cat, or beloved pet.
Whatever self-care means to you, do more of it on purpose. Do more of what relaxes and recharges you as well as what brings you joy and laughter. The stuff that drains you? Find a way to do less of it. Add self-care to your schedule and make it part of the natural rhythm of your life instead of a reward, and you’ll find that all your rocks, pebbles, sand, and everything else in your life simply fit.