You hear about it like it's the newest trend out there.
So you either go after it full force, decide it's not for you and not even try, or attempt it half-heartedly and it eventually falls off your radar as the demands of life crowd in and take over.
I usually ping pong back and forth between going in full force and letting it fall off my radar but in the beginning of summer I chose to go all in - I read an inspirational quote in the book "Find Your Happy Daily Mantras" by Shannon Kaiser in the morning, journaled, repeated my positive affirmation "I am focused" from my Inner Light Botanicals Intention Care Kit, pulled a tarot card for the day to help me be more in tune with my intuition, meditated, a little bit of yoga at home, did an embodiment practice.. and I found myself getting overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed.. by self-care.. HUH? That doesn't sound right.
I had all of these amazing, daily self-care rituals and I kept finding new ones to add into my routine but it just ended up being another really long list of things to do.
Some of you know exactly what I mean by this, some of you are thinking about how you’re lucky to have 15 minutes of quiet time to yourself once a week. But here’s the deal for all of you- Self-care is like a toolbox with a bunch of tools (practices and rituals) to help you with what you need each day. If you’re hanging art on a wall, you’ll need a hammer, nail and your piece of art to do that. You don't need ALL the tools in your toolbox.
If you tune into what you need today to help you feel good and thrive, you may need to meditate, to read, to take a bath OR a walk outside, OR maybe socialize with friends, or get your nails done. OR just take three deep breaths. You don’t need to do all of them today or every day.
The definition of Self-Care is: 1.) "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health" 2.) "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress."
Notice the common word: practice.
The definition of Practice is: "carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly."
I took this a little bit deeper by defining my own personal practice.
Your personal practice makes up a combination of all the things that you do to take care of yourself regularly - daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Little things that you do to make yourself feel better and healthier. It most likely changes from day to day but some practices may be a permanent part to your routine.
It could be pausing and taking 3 deep breaths when you are stressed at work, a walk outside, or taking a nice biiiig stretch arms, overhead and legs out long, in bed when you wake up in the morning.
It doesn't have to be an hour long, 30 minutes, 10 minutes. It can be small practices that fit into your everyday routine when you need them the most. And some days you may do nothing at all and use that space just to be, just to be present and feel into what you're feeling, and that will be your personal practice for those days.
After awhile, this is how we heal, this is how we do the work to better ourselves, to integrate and transform, uplift ourselves, our communities and our world.
Think about that for a moment.
- What do you do daily that makes you feel good?
- What do you do that makes you feel more grounded?
- What makes you feel more relaxed when you are stressed?
- What inspires you?
- What can you do to remind yourself to do more of these things?
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Mandee Metzger is the Creator and Founder of Inner Light Botanicals. She has studied and practices Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Crystal Healing, Reiki, and Integrative Nutrition and is a huge advocate for mental health awareness and feeling your feelings. She believes in the power of a smile, positivity, and the healing journey. She also believes in the power of integrating self-care into our daily life in small moments. And she believes in the power of the energy we put out into this world to transform lives and our planet. Find her simple self-care practices and mindful lifestyle on her YouTube channel, Mindfulness with Mandee.