THE TRUE ART OF SELF-CARE
February is a month known for celebrating love and connection. Either you are in favour of these types of celebratory events or not; one thing is crystal clear: cultivating a self-loving approach, not just in February, is essential to a fulfilled, conscious and purposeful life.
When you hear the term ‘self-care practice’, what pops out in your mind is probably a weekend in a spa facility, a massage or a Netflix movie with yummy food or a glass of wine. These things are something that will relax you, help you unwind and forget about everyday problems. But this just captures a part of self-care, and sometimes only offer temporary relief. They don’t solve the actual problem or offer long-term and lasting fulfilment.
Let’s look deeper into how you can love yourself more and care for each aspect of your being. Let’s look at you as a WHOLE.
Take full responsibility for your life.
Nothing is more empowering than taking FULL responsibility for each aspect of your life. Every part, every decision and action. And, even though many situations are outside our control, we can shift or change our perspective around the things we can’t control. A self-care approach is changing that job that doesn’t fulfil us, walking away from a relationship that doesn’t make us happy or shifting certain habits that work temporarily only on a surface level. We advocate for self-accountability and self-leadership instead of victimhood mentality.
Create space for self-reflection and self-awareness
Self-reflecting will allow you to become more aware of different areas of your life that call for realignment and adjustment. By self-reflecting, we slow down and create a space to ask these crucial questions: How do I feel? Do I follow my life goals? Do I feel connected with my purpose? Am I happy? Sometimes we are so busy living a life that doesn’t fulfil us anymore that we forget to ask ourselves: What do I really desire in life? Focus on being rather than only doing, and notice how this new insight helps you realign your life to find more joy and fulfilment. At Myall yoga, our mindfulness and meditation classes are the best place to start this practice.
Embrace all parts of you, even those uncomfortable.
We live in times when we constantly seek comfort, safety and pleasure. We avoid feelings and situations that might feel painful, uncomfortable or unfamiliar in some ways. We live in the era of “painkillers”. But looking from an evolutionary perspective, we are not wired to live in this way. In the past, we welcomed periods of hunger, cold weather and times of intense and physical work.
A self-loving approach is also about:
- — Sitting with all your emotions, even the difficult ones and allowing enough time and space to process and integrate them.
New theories emerge that many physical diseases result from repressed emotions and prolonged periods of stress. We would definitely recommend reading a book called “When the Body says No” by Dr Gabor Mate. He has conducted a lot of studies on this matter.
- — Connecting with the physical body and trying to find comfort in discomfort. A great way to do it is by exposing your body to heat (Infrared Sauna) or cold (cold showers, ice baths). These activities will feel slightly uncomfortable, but, at the same time, they will significantly boost your health on a physical, emotional and mental level. To name a few benefits thes practices help to increase your metabolism, immunity and lowered insulin resistance, reduce excess weight and joint pain. Certain poses in yoga offer the same exploration – finding your edge and improving your resilience.
- — Knowing when a self-compassionate approach changes into self-indulgence. Grit, motivation and self-discipline are as important as those days when you act like an unproductive couch potato. Balance and intention are the key.
Choose love over fear.
This sentence might sound a little ambiguous but let’s look at love and fear as two sides of the same coin. You can either stay stagnant and not change your life because the fear of the unknown is too much to bear, or you can deeply connect with your heart’s desires and find the courage to do the things that scare you the most. You can choose not to work on your mindset, even though you carry a lot of negative patterns or invite a lot of growth-oriented situations and open yourself up to new opportunities.
Choosing to grow, expand and shift. Choosing to follow your desires. It’s all about choosing love, regardless of the fear creeping out.
Set up firm boundaries.
Setting solid boundaries is about staying true to yourself regardless of your circumstances. It is about not bending your rules or acting against your values, even if it means some people might feel offended. It’s about knowing who you are, what you stand for, and your needs. Healthy and loving selfishness without guilt! Many studies have shown that setting firm boundaries is essential to self-care and wellbeing. They help unravel the root problem behind codependency, anxiety, depression and burnout.
Cultivate strong self-esteem.
This almost goes without saying: Improving your self-esteem as a part of your self-loving approach will tremendously impact each aspect of your life. Self-esteem is a complex topic, but it might be defined as “satisfaction with oneself”. It is a judgement or self-evaluation of our work or goodness and how well we feel we are doing in areas of our life that we rate as important (Yang, Xu, Chen, Shi, & Han, 2016).
Higher self-esteem has been linked to better physical health, greater performance in life, healthier relationships and improved mental wellbeing.
So, how can we improve the way we see ourselves?
Cultivate a growth mindset, and realise that it is not what happened to you but how you have responded to this situation that counts. There are no failures, only lessons. Do more of what you love and what brings you pleasure, and you will find your purpose. This will empower you. Practice gratitude daily! Be your best friend in every action and situation. Prioritise your wellbeing and your health. These are just some ideas, but each is very profound.
True self-care is also about all the tiny daily habits and decisions you make. How you show up to yourself and whether you prioritise your health and wellbeing.
At Myall Wellbeing, this is our passion, to guide you on your self-caring and self-loving journey. To help you focus not only on your wellness but also your WHOLENESS.
For a more tailored and personalised practice, you can also book a private session at Myall. Our highly skilled and experienced teachers offer stress management programs, life and mindfulness coaching sessions as well as yoga and Pilates 1-on-1 classes. If you are interested in this experience, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tawwab, N. G. (2021). Set boundaries, find peace: A guide to reclaiming yourself. Little, Brown Book Group.