Are you busy caring for others, but having trouble caring for YOU? It’s often easier to care for others – to give them more time, to be kinder, less judgemental, more forgiving, more understanding, more helpful – than it is to do these things for ourselves. And when we think about self-care, its easy to miss its most powerful dimension.
Sometimes ‘self-care’ can become another box we have to tick, and something else to feel guilty about if we aren’t doing it. Even if we are overwhelmed already, we feel we have to schedule in more activities that are meant to be us caring for ourselves, but sometimes just feel like hard work. We don’t always have the time, energy or mental and emotional capacity to do these “self-care’ activities. And then we can feel we’ve failed ourselves.
But here’s the good news! It comes to you from my brother Peter – a person who knows a lot about self-care. He has recently put out a series of six emails on this very topic. I’ve found them really helpful, and I loved this following reminder that the important component of self-care is care.
“It’s about caring for yourself.”
He goes on to say “We often think about self care as things we can do. You know, things like exercise more, rest, eat better, have better boundaries. By doing so we miss the most powerful dimension of self care. That dimension is caring.
Caring, in this context, is the emotion behind the action of self care. It’s where you are coming from. Caring comes from your heart.
Coming from a place of caring eases out the tension, softens, and creates more spaciousness. Caring soothes and transforms.
When you notice that you are stressed or tired, try allowing yourself to come back to a caring place, a place of kindness. You don’t have to justify it, or believe you deserve it, care just because you can, and because it’s nice.
So where can you apply care towards yourself?
- You can care for yourself as a person. You are worth caring for, and therefore it’s good to do things that take care of yourself.
- You can care for the parts of you that are hurting. The parts that are uncomfortable and need your attention, for example the part that is worried or stressed, or the part that feels you aren’t good enough. The pain is a signal that that part of you needs care and kindness.
- You can care for the positive, the parts that let in nourishing experiences, the parts that heal and restore. These parts often take a bit of a back seat, or even get shut down, when we are stressed or worn out. Paying attention to them with kindness and caring can help them open up so they can work their magic in reversing the signs of stress.
This week, see what happens when you connect to a more caring space within yourself. When, just like a river, caring runs through the current landscape of your experience, providing life giving water to nourish and restore.
Thanks to Peter, for letting me reproduce that here. If you’d like to receive Peter’s series of 6 weekly emails on self-care, you can do that by clicking on the link here (it’s free!). While you are there, check out the rest of his website, Heart and Soul Coaching. He offers a lot of free resources for self-care, building happiness, and living a full and genuine life.
And remember, sometimes self-care means giving others the opportunity to care for us too.
Until next time,