Honestly, I think that ‘self care’ has been watered down and commercialized in a weird way. A nice caption for Instagram posts, if you will. But I think its way more expansive and uncomfortable than what my previous conception held. So sure, self care is getting your nails painted or taking a bubble bath–but its also going to the doctor, setting firm boundaries, saying no to things that drain you, cutting out addictive and destructive behaviors. In the last couple months, I’ve begun to practice more of these uncomfortable shifts, and it is not as fun as a shopping spree with my best friend, but taking care of myself in this way is has become non-negotiable.
Pretty recently– I was at the hospital WAY more than I was comfortable with. It was clear my body was talking to me, and I needed to listen to it in order to heal. A lot of my life is about caring for and holding space for other people, as a yoga teacher, a dance teacher–and on top of that I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. Recipe for stress overload. So I have had to make some big shifts in my life, a lot of which feels foreign and selfish. But, quite literally, I will be unable to care for those I love if I am not healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
We really need to get to the truth of what self care is. Take away the shiny filters, the notion that only people with exorbitant amounts of money or free time are able to partake in self care. Breaking it down to the fundamental element of stillness. A couple of minutes a day to just sit. And feel. And listen. Focusing some of the energy we collectively give away to understand ourselves and our place in the world.
Self care takes energy, yes. Money, no. Or at least it doesn’t have to be expensive. But self care does require a focused energy to negate the pull of outside forces (bosses, partners, family, friends, bills, etc.).
I practice meditation daily. I’ve also just taken up a Kundalini yoga practice (which is awesome, btw). I try to cook most of my own meals. I sleep at least 7 hours a day. I spend time with people and do activities that make me smile. I also wear this really lovely floral perfume oil which is a daily reminder to stay soft and lighten up. I listen to this podcast called Affirmation Pod every time I’m driving. I used to roll my eyes at the thought of doing something like this, but I can say with confidence that it has helped alleviate my mood, and my self-talk is much kinder recently.
I share the message of self care by listening to people. People are so rarely heard. And I think if I can actively listen to another, it may encourage them to listen to themselves, take care of themselves on a deeper level.
*Briana is a yoga instructor, dancer, and a writer. She’s currently writing a pilot, set to shoot this Summer.