Today I spun The Wheel of Topics, and here we are! Ding! Ding! Ding! Self-Care! Self-Care. It’s important.
Wait! Do this! Do it right now! Get a pen, a piece of paper, and write a few things down. Or not. It’s up to you. I’m just over here making strong suggestions.
What are some of the things you are doing now to take care of yourself?
You should know that my definition of self-care does not involve having a spa day with friends, having brunch, or whatever the hell it is that you do with other people.
Wait...Maybe it does? Considering our current state of affairs... Ok, your friends can come, but usually, I consider self-care to be a solo act.
OK. So if the answer to the question above is that you aren’t doing anything, and you have no self-care routine. I want you...I need you to get a piece of paper and a pen. Go! Get it now! I’ll wait…
The first thing we’re going to do is breathe. If you’ve read my other posts, then you know that I am a big fan of breathing (Hey! Don’t be smart...I know we all are). I am talking about intentional breathing. What is true is that we all have time to breathe. We all have a few minutes in the day to breathe. Remember we’re not breathing solely from our chests. We are engaging our diaphragm as well. Slow intentional breaths.
“But, I don’t have time!”
Yes, you do. Maybe you hit the snooze button four times instead of five and there you have it! Time. While taking a shower, take time to breathe intentionally. Tap your chest to bring awareness to your body, and your heart.
Make sure you have breakfast. Sit up straight instead of slouching.
All of these little actions add up. How can you practice being mindful, present, and aware if you're not breathing fully, or nurturing your body? There is time if you make time. You create time for so many people and things, but how much time do you create and dedicate to yourself?
Self-care is self-development, and the amount of care you show to yourself is directly proportional to the amount of care you can give to someone else. By this I mean if you are doing more for others than you do for yourself, then you are not truly caring for others.
So let’s get back to it. If you don’t have a self-care routine, take five minutes. Set a timer and for five minutes write a letter to yourself. Of course, you can do it for longer if you like. When I write letters to myself, I literally address myself as if I am not myself. This allows me to detach and be more honest, and accountable.
So, my Love, you are writing a letter to yourself, and in it take ownership of not creating time for yourself. Name the things you feel prevent you from dedicating time to nurture yourself. List things that you will do moving forward to take care of yourself. Make a promise to yourself to start taking better care of yourself. Your actions don’t have to be grand. The tortoise won the race!
You can start off by promising yourself that you will sit by yourself for a minute in a safe space with no distractions breathing, and then move from there.
Even if you have a self-care routine, I find writing a letter to myself is helpful because your "self” may ask you to include more time doing something, or it may ask you to do something completely different.
Besides breathing, eating (don’t act like some of you go through the day without eating), and sitting up straight here are some things I like to do:
Stretching: There are different types of stretching that you can do. I would not recommend ballistic stretching if you don’t stretch regularly, but then again I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Stretching is something you can do anywhere and anytime.
Yoga: There are many reasons to have a yoga practice. One of the main reasons I love yoga is because it offers a myofascial release.
Reiki: There are many levels to Reiki, but level one is enough. Having a Reiki practice is a beautiful way to start your day. Remember earlier, when I suggested you hit the snooze but one less time? Well, while you’re breathing if you are attuned to Reiki, you can also take time to give yourself a Reiki treatment.
Craniosacral Therapy: This is a beautiful practice. I like to think of it as being dead center on the spectrum of modalities, where Reiki is non-invasive and massage therapy is the most invasive. Craniosacral Therapy works with the soft tissue structures of the body, and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid from the head to the spine. The touch is very light (no more than 5 grams of pressure), and the therapist focuses on sensing and freeing restrictions in the body. This modality also offers a myofascial release to the transverse diaphragms in the body.
Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy, you guessed right! Using water to heal the body. There are two different types of Hydrotherapy. Thermotherapy (heat), and Cryotherapy (cold). Most people are familiar with the benefits of Thermotherapy. The most popular forms are Hot Stone Massages, Saunas, and Steam rooms.
Cryotherapy has just started to become more popular. The benefits of cold therapy are vast. Cold therapy is great for inflammation and bringing a “deeper heat” to the body. Just like you can receive a hot stone massage, cold stones do exist. There are also places that have cryo chambers and ice baths. Or, you can wait until New Year’s Day and take the Polar Bear Plunge!
Floatation Therapy is another form of hydrotherapy that involves using about 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The body floats naturally and effortlessly. I love all kinds of water therapy. Water is a natural conduit for emotional healing and processing.
Then there is Massage Therapy! Come on! You knew I was getting to it!
Massage Therapy: If you have never received a massage do yourself a favor and get one! If you don’t feel comfortable disrobing, there are plenty of modalities like Shiatsu or Thai massage that allows you to be fully clothed, and still receive the benefits of massage. A good massage therapist will be able to work with you and address most of the concerns or chief complaints you may have. I say most because a lot of y’all be like, “This knot has been here for seven years, can you get rid of that for me?” The answer is NO! If something has been living in your body for years, be prepared for it to take time to leave the body. Muscles have memory Homie! And if you’re not willing to follow a treatment plan then don’t expect to be healed overnight.
Whew!!!! This was a long one! Thank you for hanging in there with me. There are so many more things that you can do to take care of yourself. Think about what brings you absolute joy. Singing, dancing, walking, sleeping, whatever it is. Make a promise to yourself to take care of yourself.