chop wood, carry water.
chop wood, carry water.
~ Zen Proverb
Have you ever had those days when you felt like you’re floating, you couldn’t get anything done, your mind is always scattered, you’re constantly irritated, and/or you feel helpless and overwhelmed with how your life is turning out?
I know I have, and when I look into why, I realise it’s usually because I have not been lovingly caring for myself in ways that work for me.
I can read all the self-help books I can find and go to as many transformational workshops as I can, but if I don’t practice self-care, all my well-intended attempts at deepening my connection to my self will be half-baked. I have to look after all the parts of this beautiful and sacred being I have been given first.
According to reachout.com, “self-care is any activity that you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. It can help you feel healthy, relaxed and ready to take on your work and responsibilities.”
A lot of people equate self-care with “me time,” or going to the spa, having a massage, taking a bubble bath, reading a book for leisure, and so forth. These activities are usually done occasionally, although some may do them on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. However, a true self-loving person sees and practices self-care more than these avenues.
Self-loving self-care is looking after our own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is when we give our entire being the nurturing we need EVERY DAY to live and move through life with joy, love and compassion for ourselves and for others.
I emphasised EVERY DAY because we live and breathe every day. Don’t we want to live life with joy, love and compassion every day?
To understand what self-care is in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, I have listed a few questions below for your own self-inquiry. These are meant to simply facilitate awareness of your level of self-care. What you do after this is up to you.
Whatever your answers may be to these questions, I invite you to show a lot of compassion to yourself. You are doing the best you can in this moment with the resources and awareness you currently have.
- What foods do you eat on a daily basis? Are they nourishing and healthy for your body?
- How do you maintain strength in your body to accomplish your daily physical tasks? Do you exercise to improve your current fitness level?
- How do you give your mind a chance to rest from the constant stream of thoughts?
- What stimulates your innate logical and creative abilities? Do you give them a chance to be expressed?
- What do you do to acknowledge how you are feeling in any given moment?
- Do you ask for the support you need when you are feeling heavy emotions?
- How do you connect to the divinity within you, the BE-ing that thinks, moves, sees, hears, feels, and breathes you every moment?
- What do you do to connect to your inner knowing of what’s best for you?
Self-loving self-care is when we take absolute responsibility for our own needs first. It does not mean we have to bear it all. We are self-loving when we admit to ourselves what care we need and we either give it to ourselves if we are capable of it or ask support from others. We are self-loving when we express what we need and take steps to bring that about in every area of our being on a daily basis.
Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being is the basis of our lives. If we don’t take care of these parts of our being, all our other endeavours are for naught.
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