Last week I was so honored to host an event with Michelle of Holisticism and Nicole Webb, who’s a reiki practitioner who uses muscle testing as a modality for intuitive healing. We were able to partner together for this event to discuss the innate wisdom that our body holds. I found myself speaking to a group of incredible women who were all prioritizing themselves by making the time to attend an event that would focus on their self-care. Sometimes I feel like a kettle boiling over and the burnout is real. I know all of you can get the same feeling when our work and personal lives get congested with the non-stop to do lists. This is where self-care comes into play, but only up until the last few years did I really start to determine the difference between self-care and escapism.
As a facialist for the last decade-plus of my life, I’ve FINALLY been able to determine that one of the most valuable tools to help you achieve your overall goals, better your health, and feel balanced is that of self-care. My personal definition of this is that it is an act, practice, or hobby to help nourish your mind, body, and spirit. It is meant to be a restorative practice and there is no wrong or selfish way to do it. I grew up thinking that these acts were lazy because there was always something productive I could be doing. I come from a line of hard workers who all have the disease to please. The only time I ever look back and find balance in my life was when I had a hobby that I would dedicate hours to, like dance or drawing. Regardless of everything that needed to be done in a day, I still managed to find time for everything because I looked forward to how those practices made me feel. They would fill me up with so much peace that whatever I was anxious over would just melt away. All my solutions for my life's problems would come to me while I was practicing something that really made me feel good. I felt balanced and would excel in every part of my life.
Over the last month, I've had to relearn habits of self-care on an intuitive level because I struggled to manage clients, launching my online program, managing my team, and all the while struggling with a huge amount of grief. For me, grief sits in my body in the form of profound inflammation such as massive bloating, brain fog, and fatigue. I also find myself going through emotional deterioration by immediately wanting to act out towards myself. I wallow in self-loathing, dip towards low self-worth, and start to dim my light to where my emotional stability is in question. My first instincts are always: Drink alcohol, smoke weed, nap all day, eat junk food, and go down the negative rabbit hole of comparing myself to others on social media. This time around, I found myself making incredibly conscious decisions to fight against those instincts. I have to admit that my husband and dog keep me from spiraling because they rely on me and I'm their team leader in so many ways.
Self-care has fortunately and unfortunately become one of those buzzy terms in the wellness realm. The fortunate part of it is that it’s shedding light on how some practices are meant to become ours exclusively by doing something unselfishly for ourselves. The unfortunate part is that anything that becomes “trendy” can often be overlooked for its actual benefits and intention. This isn’t a new concept but depending on your upbringing and environment, this may be something that doesn’t come very easily to you. Some may think that this has become such a “millennial” trend that many of us disconnect from the intuitive markers that our bodies communicate with us every day without even knowing it.
Some simple examples that you may need self-care:
- Feeling exhausted but still having a ton of work to do. Instead of hearing your body that you might need a break for a reset, you may reach for more caffeine and think you need to push through.
When your skin is having a flare up you may think that you need to over treat or attack it, but your body is communicating inflammation so you have to calm it down instead of battle it.
To get a better idea of where you are at in your current self-care practice, we have to ground and determine what is taking space in your life. Space can be filled with good, bad, unnecessary, or random things. We’re in constant communication that we may end up choosing escapism instead of care.
What’s an escapism?
Escapism is the behavior or habit you may have to fully drown out the noise or busy of your life without the component of care. Think Netflix and postmates over an Epsom salt bath and meditation. Mine are usually excesses in the above mentioned habits that are fine in low doses, but not when I'm emotionally fragile.
The best way to determine how to implement the care you may need is to start by determining what may be calling out to you. Let’s start by determining the top 3 things that reserve a lot of space and energy in their life. EX: It could be work, relationship, and health. With your life in constant evolution, it’s important to recognize how you may have developed the unintentional habit to overwork yourself in one or more aspects of the space holders in your life.
The body works best while in homeostasis which by definition means the tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance. We are often conditioned to attract the same type of energy we are experiencing (ex. “already working hard means work harder?”) but that shifts your body into doing twice the amount of work that it needs to be. If you find a balance you will find that not only are you more productive, you will feel better overall.
This is where opposites attract
Inflammation needs calm
Hard work needs rest
Sluggishness needs movement
The skin is a great place to test this theory and how your mind, body, spirit responds.
The body is filled with different systems that are communicating to each other and reflecting their imbalance on the skin. We have both yin (dry, cold, stagnant) and yang (wet, hot, fluid) energy to create an energetic balance (Qi) and if we experience an excess of either energy you balance it out by treating it with the opposite energy.
For Example: Acne is a alkaline condition on the skin which means we are internally acidic. If you add more alkaline products to your skin, you will notice that the skin won’t resolve it’s problem because you have to address the internal health first. Once you start to eat a more alkaline diet that’s when the balance in your skin will start to change.
Out of the following examples, I want you to just pick the first 3 self-care options that speak to you:
Epsom salt baths
Getting to your favorite place in nature
Having a day date with your loved ones (girlfriend dates are great self-care)
Going for a walk after each meal (especially while you’re at work)
Taking a mindful stretching break in between tasks at work
Meditation (even if it’s just 1 minute - set a timer on your phone and tune in)
Getting body work done
Arts and crafts
Cooking or baking for fun - not just because you need to
Having a tea
Once you determine the top 3 options to try based solely on intuition you can look back at the areas in your life that hold the most space. You will be able to see how this intuitive practice will directly correlate to the areas that hold the most space in your life.
There are endless options, and the more you try out some ways to support yourself the more you will recognize the signals your body is communicating every day. This mindful practice will help you find your equilibrium in all areas of your life and can be re-learned the more you practice them. Continue to evolve this practice and soon enough you’ll be your most balanced, radiant self!