The benefits of true self-care
I used to think our community — especially women — put a priority on self-care. But recently, I started wondering what self-care really is, what it actually looks like.
As we moved into 2023 I thought self-care meant taking a day off (Sundays) and doing whatever it was that I wanted to do, which meant brunch and hanging with friends.
I was ill-prepared for Mondays, when I woke feeling fatigued and mentally exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, brunch is amazing and time spent with loved ones was refreshing, but were they truly the type of self-care that I really and truly needed? Or were they just a distraction from what real life is?
Two weeks ago I ventured to New York alone, with no shopping plans, no gyms located, no reservations to multiple restaurants or Broadway shows, just a hotel room and an idea that I needed to truly spend time alone to figure out what proper care I owed myself.
I spent weeks prior thinking about what I wanted to improve on, picking daily regimes I wanted to begin and weekly activities I wanted to add. This was all in an effort to bring more to my life and fill my cup in a way that exhaustion, forced outings, weekly ditch days didn’t accomplish.
Hello Manhattan, New York! In this busy, beautiful city I spent a concentrated, mindful three days beginning each morning with the same routine.
It consisted of a proper routine of skincare (face and body), journalling (because, obviously I love to write), and reading a chapter or two of a book, something I hadn’t done since giving birth to the twins. I timed it as well, making note so I knew how to implement this when I flew back home to real life.
The morning set the tone for each day ahead knowing that I gave time to care for myself, listen to my thoughts and train my brain.
Since becoming a wife and mother life is busy, and putting myself last seemed to be the selfless thing to do, not realising that my cup was constantly empty.
Don’t get me wrong, Sunday brunch was a welcomed weekly break; midday naps were amazing; not having to cook dinner – yes! All of that was only possible with a supportive husband and family.
However, I still felt the urge to do better for myself, make better choices and implement a proper regime of self-care that didn’t leave me exhausted.
New York helped me put things into perspective, allowed for silence and time to figure all this out.
Even though it was “just” a morning routine, it completely shifted my thoughts and feelings about the day.
So what is self-care?
I truly believe it’s firstly taking the time to figure out what you can do daily or weekly that fills your cup, brings you joy, challenges your mind and most of all makes you feel like you’ve spent precious moments being kind to yourself before (or after) giving so much time and energy to others.
Do I have it all figured out?
Nope. Not at all. Does my version of self-care end after each morning session? Of course not.
The one thing I do know is that life is full of constant change and adjusting. Whilst this morning routine is going to be set in stone, eventually I’ll figure out what weekly activity I truly need that will cater to the idea of self-care, recognising that it may change on a frequent basis.
It means listening to my body and staying in tune with my mind, giving what is best for the time.
I say all of this to ask, can you answer what self-care looks like for you?
I challenge you to take up the task of stillness and silence, listen to your body, let the thoughts flow and figure out what you truly need to live a fulfilled, less exhausted life. Or better yet, a more kind-to-self life.
You may not get a weekend, but in some way, somehow you can make daily efforts at improving your self-care regime, feeling satisfied that you are making your mind, body and soul a priority. After all, how can you pour from an empty cup?
Happy Wednesday and remember, this fitness journey is nothing without a solid foundation of mental and emotional wellbeing.
Take the challenge – improve beyond the aesthetics of the gym and become successful in both fitness AND wellness.
As usual, fitfam, continue to remain unapologetic about your fitness and wellness journey. Remain honest with your efforts and always true to yourself.