Looking inward is easily ignored and forgotten, as it needs to be a persistent and conscious effort to nurture the inner world if we are to design the outer world of our dreams. The outer world is filled with people we call friends, family, co-workers, items we’ve purchased, items we were gifted, things we needed, things we wanted, animals, trees, plants, birds, sirens, cars, laughter, cries, smells of bakeries, pizza shops, sewage, flowers, dinner in the oven, ect... The inner world is filled with thoughts and beliefs that express into the outer world through choices, actions, and behaviors. Therefore, to modify the outer world to be one that we desire, we have to begin looking inside at our thoughts and beliefs. What do we consciously and unconsciously tell ourselves everyday? Why do we belive what we do? This is an opportunity to look at your choices, actions, and behaviors to determine whether they are in your best interest and in alignment with the thoughts and beliefs you desire.
When life doesn’t reflect the health and happiness you imagine, it’s time to look inward. While altruism is admired by some, it is not a sustainable pathway. The transition from a life of complete selflessness to one that includes self care is a challenging one. For in the beginning, it may seem selfish to take time out for yourself. It will feel odd not doing what you have grown accustomed to doing for others. This choice involves setting new boundaries, which may very well be the most difficult task. When you recognize the need for change and declare it so, others aren’t always so willing to go along with it. They may not understand why you desire to change. Maybe they will understand and support you, but if they don’t, you’ll have to find a way to express your needs that feels good to you. In the end, taking care of yourself results in a new outer world, one in which you are finding others who love themselves as deeply as you love yourself. Life shifts in your favor as you no longer search outside of yourself for the love you were once denied. Practicing self care with the goal of self love, will result in your ability to comfort and care for youself during the most difficult times of life. You'll be more gentle to yourself when life sweeps you up and changes your direction. You'll have the strength and courage to set your course again, while simulatenously being able to support others through their rough times.
Self care is what you do to ensure you’re happy and healthy. Self care is what you do to make sure you are available to give to others. Self care can take many forms and change throughout a lifetime.
To fully grasp the concept of self care, you must first begin to look at how you take care of yourself. Do you love yourself like you love your loved ones? Do you give yourself the same attention? Do you say “thank you” to yourself when you do something that brings you joy and health or when you give yourself a gift? When you provide self care, you can begin to recognize that you are caring for yourself because it comes from a place of love. When you love yourself, you are able to more fully love others in a sustainable and regenerative manner. We cannot nurture others in a healthy way if we do not first nurture ourselves.
When you take this step to acknowledge your own self care practices, you can begin to improve and transform them into self love as you grow. If you currently have a routine of self care, take note that you are providing yourself with love. Consciously recognize that you are doing these actions out of love for your life and others. Consider your self care a practice and commit to your evolution as a human to a fully awakened state.
When you have practiced the 5 Senses Activation, you’ve gotten a taste of an awareness exercise that attunes you into your internal world and physiological sensations. If you haven’t done that yet, I suggest you practice that method alongside this new method to cultivate the necessary awareness to shift your life into the direction of one with less struggle. This next exercise assesses your self care. Recognizing where we are now, allows you space to develop further into what you desire.
Use this as a guide to quantify your personal practices of self care in various realms. Draw your own wellness wheel with 6 pie pieces and write in your self care practices. When you are done, shade in the pie piece to reflect your amount of self care practices and create percentages to go with each section. Notice how you may spend more time in one area than another. This is not a place for harsh self judgment. This a place to recognize simply what we do and where we can grow.
When you're done mapping your self care, see where you can adjust and add in new practices to support yourself to create more balance in your life that will result in more happiness and health. Below, I've listed and briefly described a handful of practices that you can explore more deeply that will help you design the life of your choosing.
When you love yourself you make choices that are in alignment with your integrity.
When you love yourself you make choices that bring you happiness and bliss.
When you love yourself you are able to truly experience what it means to love another.
Doing the work to maintain a healthy body to serve you in the life you desire involves more movement throughout the day. Increased movement pumps up blood and oxygen flow and helps maintain healthy physiological and mental processes. Adding a routine of strength and flexibility training will be increase your quality of life as you age. Sleeping is your body’s time to recover and rest from the day’s stressors. Aim for 8 hours. Body scans help you learn the language of the body. This comes into play with physical exercise, eating, sex, and everyday encounters that trigger physical stress responses. Sound nutrition maintains the physical body and the mind. Eating a rainbow of colors each day will also support you in turning your dreams into reality.
Appreciate and admire your body for what it is right now and not for what it was, or will be, will give you more freedom to love others, their bodies, and choices. Charting menstrual cycles creates self awareness and understanding of your natural shifts throughout the month. Balancing the inner masculine and feminine within one person ensures outward expressions are also balanced and healthy. Have open dialogue about sexual desires with consent and boundaries to establish a healthy sexual dynamic.
Brain Game: Say the color of each word.
Establishing your personal values is one of the most important self care practices that I can recommend. What do you purchase? What do you do during the day? What do you do in the evening? These are clues to help you determine what you value, not what you wish you valued. It’s important to be honest with this, so you can get the most out of it. Establish what you want and create goals to remain in integrity with those desires. Challenge your mind by doing something new and different, like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, or doing the neuroplasticity exercises in this post. Do activities that are experiential learning opportunities. Doing more allows space for you to embody knowledge, rather than simply acquiring it.
Recognize the story you tell yourself and rewrite it in loving and kind language to change your past and future for the better. Acknowledging and navigating around emotional triggers is a key element in this work. I will address tackling emotional triggers in more depth in another post. Communicating in loving language to yourself and others is an act of self care, and ultimately self love. Journaling, Pages, and contemplation all serve roles in emotional self care. Practicing gratitude, honoring your pain through various forms of expression and living in the moment all can be added to your self care practice.
Being a part of community is vital to survival. We are social beings and we need company and reflections of others to support our growth. During play, dance and art our imaginations can explore new pathways to live, gain confidence, and inspiration. Establishing boundaries is needed to maintain healthy relationships in a social community. Spending time nurturing current relationships feels good on both ends, providing a healthy social dynamic.
Connecting with the rhythms of nature through menstrual cycle and moon mapping, we can see how we are not disconnected from nature, we are part of it. By observing nature and it’s behaviors and beauty, we can also feel this connection. Meditation and prayer is the most powerful tool to listen within to witness a higher power and feel a sense of calm. Creating a sacred space, such as an alter, can also support your inner peace.
By allowing yourself to receive your own self care, you allow yourself to receive your own love.
You can only give as much as you receive.
Create some space for self love with this Self Care Package of Love that my friend Courtney made with sustainable, vegan, and organic products.
♡ Sensual Self Love - This box is perfect to bring more self love into your life! Gift this to someone who you know is in need of some "me time" (girlfriend, partner, wife, mother, co-worker, boss, friend, SELF)! This box contains self massaging oil, a sensual crystal & reiki-infused candle, unique tealights, a heart opening bath elixir, cooling salve, self-love mantras, intimate incense, crystals for the heart and body, the list continues! Like all of my themed boxes, I want you to be surprised so I will leave out all the other items! This value is way beyond what you're paying! Unleash your inner goddess and get back in touch with your self with this kit 💗
Aimee, 30 years old views life as a gift and an opportunity to live your dreams. Stick around to hear how she does it and supports you in doing it, too.