There is a vast difference between doing things that seem “self-care” ish and true self-care. It doesn’t matter if you go on a run every day unless you are doing that for you. It doesn’t matter if you pack a frickin’ Paleo salad in a Ball jar every day of the week if you aren’t doing that for you. It doesn’t matter if you got a new coffee maker and are “treating yourself” to good, gourmet coffee if you are not doing that for you.
Are you self-caring because you want to or because you’ve added it to your “To Do” list? Are you that unimportant (Hint: You’re not!) that you have to put the things you like to do (the true self-care things that make you a better you!) on a wishlist?
Here’s an idea. Sit with yourself. No really. Sit with yourself.
Do whatever you need to do to quiet your mind. (I like putting on a swim brief and laying on a blanket. Just me? You do you then!) Do whatever you need to do to quiet your mind ENOUGH so that you can listen to yourself. Use those teacher ears of yours! Listen to what you want to do. Not what you THINK you should do. Not what is EXPECTED of you. Not what would get the most “likes” on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Listen deeply to what you want to do. Do that for you and for you alone.
As a teacher, I am very direct and explicit with my students when I tell them, “There is such a thing as a bad question. It’s when you haven’t taken the time to think about it first. It’s when you already know that answer. It’s when you don’t take the time to ask an even better question.” I will say the same thing to you, dear Changemaker. There is such thing as a lousy answer. It’s a bad answer when you don’t take the time to listen to yourself. It’s a miserable answer when you don’t do the vulnerable work of going deep to your soul. It’s a lousy answer when you are itching to doing something - to indeed do THE thing, THAT thing - for you, and you don’t do it.
Whip out that sexy planner of yours. Bring the writing journals out of the storage unit. Whatever you need to do, do that. You can make them SMART goals if that’s your thing. You can design thinking maps around your lovely ideas. You can even make a frickin’ collage if you have to! But you don’t have a choice. Not if you want to be a Changemaker because all Changemakers know that their needs are the most important. And all Changemakers understand what their needs are.
What do you need to do to have bone-chilling and braining calming self-care? I started taking ballet classes a few years ago. And you know what? I love it. I ache for it. Tights, dance belt (lookup with caution!), and all! Over three years ago, I started treating myself (yes, treat!) to 10-minute daily loving-kindness meditations DURING MY TEACHING PREP. Oh, you’ve probably heard of people “scheduling meetings with themselves”, but I actually do it! No meetings during that time. I lay on the floor, close my eyes, and bliss out. I wrote this d*mn blog post as a self-care practice.
What thing makes that heart of yours ache? What is hiding in the cobwebbed crevices of your heart? (Don’t need to go morbid with you but I do have to be real!) What is ready to burst out of you?
“But that’s too hard!” First, no complaining. I don’t accept it. You don’t have to either. Second, you are a Changemaker. Nothing is too hard. You have the grit and gumption to move mountains! So shut your mouth with that“too hard” crap.
Yes, you read correctly. Do it. And do what you need to do to make true self-care happen.