1.Pause and tune in
Pause is one of the most powerful self-care practices there is – simply interrupting the mindless rush through the day. When we take a mindful pause as a a time to tune in, its power is amplified tremendously! What are we tuning in to? Ourselves.
Slow down, quiet down, make time for yourself. Welcome yourself where you are, as you are, and come with a willingness to be open, curious, compassionate and non-judgmental. Whether you do this in your car in the parking lot before heading into work or home or whether you close your office or bedroom door or you just claim a moment in the midst of people does not matter. You can do this any time, anywhere. It only takes a breath.
From this slowed down, quiet place, connect with your body, your heart, your spirit, your mind and ask them what they need. In this moment in time or in this phase of your life. What is alive for each of these aspects of you? What do they desire? Giving yourself permission to give voice to your needs and desires is critical if you are going to truly honor yourself. Take your time. Ask sincerely and be willing to be surprised. The surprise responses are the ones that let you know you’ve connected to something beyond what your mind already knew at a surface level.
At a time when someone is making a request or demand of you, this quiet time to tune in and check out how that lands in your being is critical. Is this a "yes," a "no," a "maybe," a "not now, but maybe later," or a time to say, "let me think about that and get back to you." Too often we rush to respond before we know what's true for ourselves.
This step can be done as a simple quiet reflection, on a walk, or with your journal handy to jot down what comes through as you ask.
Sometimes we ask the questions but we forget to take the time to also listen to the responses that are coming to us. Stay in the pause long enough that you are aware of signals and signs. Answers may drop in in the form of words or images, or you may just get a sense of what’s being communicated to you. Feel into your body as you ask and listen – your body offers great guidance. As you consider something do you get a sense of softening, relaxing, opening and expansion or is there a tightening, hardening, or constriction? Get to know your body’s way of directing you.
Perhaps the part we miss most often is actually responding to the information we’ve been given. We take the time to get quiet, sit with ourselves and either have a quiet reflection, meditation, or maybe some journaling time. We get answers about what our body, mind, heart, and spirit are wanting and needing.
And then we go on with our life on auto pilot. We tell ourselves we don’t have time, that we’ll get to it later (or “some day”), or it’s just not that important. We put other people’s needs before our own.
It’s really important as you develop this new way of being in relationship with yourself that you actually act upon the insights you’ve gotten. In order to begin to trust yourself, it’s important that you make yourself a priority and honor what you know you need and want; what's right for you; what you have the bandwidth for.
Either respond in the moment or make a promise to yourself. Maybe even write it down or schedule it in your calendar. You deserve your time and commitment as much as anything or anyone else in your life.
Pause again. After you’ve done the thing you said you would do to honor yourself, take the time to acknowledge yourself. You said "no" to a request. You had the hard conversation. You asked for help. You took time to intentionally begin your day... Whatever it is, don’t miss it!
Too often we simply brush it off as no big deal and move on to the next thing on our to-do list. By taking the time to pause and notice and give yourself a little smile, word of appreciation, or pat on the back, you reinforce new habits, build new patterns, and deepen your trust in yourself that you are actually taking a stand for your own peace of mind, for your own well-being. Celebrate doesn’t mean have a party (though you could), but it could mean that you intentionally do something nice for yourself as a reward for taking the time to really take good, loving care of you!
Try weaving these steps into your days and let us know how it goes. Self-care, like meditation, is a practice. We forget, we notice, we come back and begin again. It’s not a once and done thing, but rather a foundational piece to building the life you desire.
When the world rattles you, self-care can be your anchor. It can bring you home to yourself, to your center, to your knowing. It can nourish and fill you up at a time when so many other things are pulling at you and draining you.
“Self-care is being true to and gentle with yourself, one moment at a time.” – Barb Klein