When you hear the term “Self-Care,” do you think of things like chocolate ice cream and french fries, a shopping spree to the mall, or a day at the spa? There is a lot of talk about “self-care” and that women should be doing it. Is this what they mean? Don’t get me wrong, I love a big fountain drink of Diet Dr. Pepper and a few squares of Dove dark chocolate. I also enjoy a pedicure after a disappointing week. No judgement or shame for indulging. And, I have come to know that true self-care is so much more than indulgence.
Let me share with you the SECRET to Self-Care, REAL Self-Care.
Are you ready for it? Self -Care is all about CONNECTION —
Connection to Self, Connection to Others, and Connection to Higher Power*.
First, Connection to Yourself. This begins with your thoughts. I like the definition of our thoughts as “the sentences in our minds” or “the story we tell ourselves”. Do we treat ourselves with care and compassion in the way that we talk to ourselves? Brene’ Brown said, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” I encourage you to notice the way that you talk to yourself. Is it with compassion, criticism, or maybe somewhere in between. There are a plethora of ways we can connect with ourselves. Some of my favorites include: meditation, self-awareness, journaling, coaching, and self-worth affirmations. How do you connect with yourself?
Second, Connection to Others. This begins with identifying the relationships that encourage you to be your best self. Who understands you and inspires you? Who do you enjoy spending your time with? Once we have identified the people who we want to have meaningful connection with, then we decide how we would like to connect with them. Some examples of connection to others that I enjoy on a regular basis are: a daily check in with my children, a weekly date night with my spouse, a monthly lunch with my lady friends, and an annual vacation with my sisters. In addition to regularly scheduled connections with others, I recommend creating a network of a few core people that you can reach out to when you are needing additional self-care. This smaller circle of close friends and family are the people that you feel safe to be open and vulnerable with when needed. Who are your “go to” people? How do you like to connect with them?
Third, Connection to your Higher Power? This begins with your beliefs. How do you believe that you were created? How do you receive guidance? How do you describe your connection to the community? To the universe? The Earth? The ways that we connect to a Higher Power depend on our individual spiritual beliefs. I personally believe that I was created by Heavenly Parents who love me unconditionally. I also believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior. To connect with Deity, I like to pray, study scriptures, attend the temple, spend time in nature, sing, and listen to music. How do you connect to your Higher Power?
In Summary, the secret to REAL Self-Care is all about Connection- Connection to Self, Connection to Others, and Connection to Higher Power.
Your Invitation for Growth: Identify the ways that you would like to connect with yourself, your loved ones, and your higher power. Start where you are at. Schedule a time to implement Self-Care into your daily life. During times of struggle, double down on your self-care. Do it with intention- because you love yourself.
I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!
*I would like to acknowledge that I learned the idea of Connection being to Self, Others, and God from Rebecca Knudsen of Thrive Relational Recovery and you can learn more about her work here.