“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” “You can only love others as much as you love yourself.” “You are no good to others if you are not good to yourself.”
Golden words that have never been truer. Isn’t that how it was always supposed to be? So how did we get this so wrong?
Ok. Let me stop for a moment. I am not judging anybody. But, let me be clear! By taking care of you, it doesn’t make you selfish. It doesn’t make you greedy. It doesn’t make you arrogant. It doesn’t mean you don’t care.
It just means that you respect yourself enough to do the work to become the best version of YOU. So therefor, collectively as a society, we can all become better!
It took me years to understand this, let alone accept it. I am still not sure I totally get it. But what I do know is that when self-care is first on the to-do list, the list doesn’t seem so daunting.
One of my greatest pet peeves is hearing “I don’t have time.” What do you mean you don’t have time? We all have the same 24 hours. It is how we use that precious commodity that matters. When we get stuck in the notion that time is finite, we lose ourselves in the maze of excuses. Once excuses become part of our everyday vocabulary, health, peace, joy and happiness becomes a distant dream. Then the tsunami of failing health, mental fatigue, hopelessness and desperation hits.
We all HAVE it! We breathe it 24 hours a day. It is in our faces every minute. To say we “DON’T HAVE TIME” seems like a little bit of an oxymoron.
I know! I know! I am usually not this gloom and doom, but when it comes to prioritizing self-care, I have a pretty low tolerance of hearing excuses. Every single one of you is deserving of your “ME TIME,” but it is up to you to seize it. The spectrum of longevity and quality of living is determined by the time and effort you put into you.
It is not a luxury! It is a necessity! Self-care is an act of lovingly giving to yourself what you deserve without judgement or guilt. The path is different for each of us. In whatever way you replenish yourself, remember why you are doing it.
While in that “ME TIME,” remember to allow the flurries of joy to arise within you. Don’t silence it just because the task is finished or the clock tells you your time is up. Stay there. Enjoy that strange feeling, that familiar feeling from childhood when joy was all we knew and has now become a faint distant memory of adulthood. That’s where we are going. Back to that place where self-care wasn’t an option. It wasn’t something we had to choose to do. We just lived it. And we were so much healthier because of it.
Everyone has different ways of getting back there. Take your time finding yours.
The road for me continues to be under construction. Different phases of my life have offered different opportunities and experiences to become healthier. I am learning new ways of healing while unlearning old patterned ways of destruction.
I like to keep it simple.
As many of you may know I am a Friends freak. I watch very little, if any, TV. However, when I see that my fuel tank is getting close to ‘E’, I will watch a couple episodes of my most favorite show! During those 60 minutes or so, I don’t worry about what has been left undone or how much time I am “wasting” in mindless glare of the screen.
For me, those few precious minutes remind me of the 20-something year old girl that is still within me and the carefree spirit she once danced through life with. That memory reminds me that no one has taken anything from me. I had just forgotten that part of me that was buried deep into the caves of other people’s expectations of me.
When I give myself permission to climb out of that burial site and allow myself to experience that joy, an internal glow of warmth takes over and it reminds me that I am enough just as I am – and that all is ok and all will be ok.
And all of this because I gave myself 60 minutes to live, laugh and love. That feeling is what healthy living looks like.
Some of the other ways I utilize self-care in my healing are:
- Strength train 5-6x/wk. If one long block of time is not possible, break it up into 3x-10 minute sessions throughout the day.
- Meditation daily. This is a work in progress. Currently only doing it for 5-7minutes/day.
- Read one page out of any book.
- Look at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself one positive affirmation a day-OUT LOUD. This one is weird in the beginning and will take some getting used to. It is one thing to say it in your head, but it is another thing to say “You are total awesomeness” out loud. But trust me, it will change your day.
- Stretch for 180 seconds before bed. Notice how I didn’t say three minutes? Why? Because our thoughts will immediately tell us we don’t have time. But when we hear ‘seconds’, it is like, ‘oh, I can totally afford to take out a few seconds.’ Outsmarting the mind is the only way to recondition our engraved societal thought patterns of ‘I can’t’; ‘I don’t have time’; or the ‘go big or go home-all or none’ mentality.
- Every month, do ONE thing that scares you. Now why would we do something that is going to skyrocket your cortisol levels? Because when we do what we think we can’t, we realize just how capable we are and this will cause the endorphins to multiply exponentially.
As you can see, I try to keep things simple. It only takes spending a few minutes with yourself every day. Here are some other fun easy ideas:
- Sports games with friends
- At home mani-pedi
- At home spa day
- Diffusing essential oils
- Sleepovers with your BFF’s-Pillow fights and all-nighter movie marathon allowed
- Bubble baths
- Head oil massages
- Sidewalk chalk art
The possibility to be creative is endless. Doesn’t matter what you do. Just do it.
I used to write out complicated timelines and elaborate visions of how I was going to take the ‘best’ care of myself. They often required more time or more planning and if just one thing didn’t go according to plan that day, my whole intention was derailed. I would find myself in a fast tailspin towards mental and physical collision.
I have learned that when healing is kept simple, more space is available for us to learn, play and enjoy the experiences.
If we are patient enough, we will learn that the open grounds of life’s experiences will lead us to health and healing. When we truly begin loving ourselves and all of our perfect imperfections, we begin to love everyone around us just the same.
And that my friends, is what we call SELF-CARE.
Self-care is a mosaic of your best work: a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of infinite potential buried under the misconceptions of other people’s perceptions.
YOU DO YOU! Because there is no one else like you!
Be safe. Stay healthy.
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on caring for each person as a whole, not just a list of symptoms. Our office is committed to helping our patients stay well and maintain good health rather than treating patients only after they become ill.