Hello dear one, how are you doing? Is there anything in your journey that needs gentle care and witnessing right now? If so, I'm sending so much love and letting you know that I am with you, here in this beautiful space.
I want to talk with you this week about something very close to my heart - *and* that has challenged me at every step of my own personal journey. It's about how we learn to look after ourselves and practice staying resourced for the many challenges we face in life.
We could call this 'self-care,' but I think that phrase has now gained so many connotations around 'have a bubble bath and all will be well' that it's kind of lost its true meaning. This just isn't useful to us right now.
So 'learning to look after ourselves' - or, sometimes, 'replenishment' - is how I look at this tricky area.
And it is tricky isn't it? Partly because as women, often times under-supported, overworked women at that, there is SO much to do just to keep up with the everyday demands of life. But also because we often haven't had a good model of what it means to look after ourselves - and often haven't developed a sense that we are WORTHY of being looked after (by ourselves, or by anyone else possibly either.)
So, what does it even mean, to look after ourselves? Well, it could be in practical terms - eating well, hydrating ourselves, exercising, going to bed at a reasonable time, continuing to cultivate healthy relationships... But it also means having boundaries (to protect our resources and capacity,) finding mental health support (counseling, coaching, group therapy) and doing things we enjoy.
And I think that creating space for that first mini list, around practical ways to look after ourselves, is hard enough. But the second list, around boundaries, mental health and enjoyment, is EVEN HARDER!!
So how do we even start? For me, the first thing is to decide it IS something important - something worth pursuing. And to do that I find it really helpful to have some motivation to guide and nudge me along.
For me, that motivation is KNOWING that when I look after myself, I am more resourced and have more capacity and that makes me more capable of showing up to life as my best self. Not perfectly, but better.
Of course, the converse of that is also true. When I DON'T look after myself, those are almost always the times when I react in ways that aren’t true to how I desire to show up to life on life’s terms. That's when self-compassion comes in in a big way!! But ideally, those times would be few and far between, right?
Once we've established that looking after ourselves is a "Very Good Idea," (and that can take time!) then we want to start taking steps - and they can be VERY small steps - towards actually putting that into action.
It has taken YEARS of exploring and trying things and tweaking to realize what’s not working, and reminding myself of my motivation, to try some more things and to get to a point where I now have a pretty good (not perfect,) structure in place to maintain a balance for all my needs in addition to meeting the needs of my family. This encompasses mind, body, and spirit, as well as a healthy work-life balance.
So my invitation to you is to find your motivation, and to start exploring, with curiosity and compassion, how you might bring some changes into your life so that you feel more nourished, more replenished, more fulfilled - more LOOKED AFTER.
Here are some prompts to support you in moving forward in looking after yourself in a more self-compassionate way:
1. In what ways am I good at looking after myself?
2. In what ways am I challenged in looking after myself?
3. How does it feel in my body to consider the idea that I am worthy of being looked after/looking after myself?
Wishing you love on this amazing journey! I invite you to share your answers in the comments or Contact | Authentic Soul Care.
I am here to support and hold space for you!
Grace and Peace,