Updated: Mar 10, 2021
These days the loud chatter within is getting some serious competition from our external world. More and more, we are being challenged to let go of those things that we can’t control. We are being called to slow down, simplify, or prioritize, and thus self care has become increasingly important. It’s time to check in on our personal level of self care and possibly even reframe what we consider self-care.
In order to help determine your self-care needs, start by taking an inventory of your stressors. You might find a couple things pop into your head immediately, but reflect on the question a little longer.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What are your personal stressors vs. those outside of you?
What stressors are chronic vs acute? Don’t forget about stressors that were recently resolved where your body and spirit might still be in recovery mode.
Which stressors are someone else’s that you have taken on?
Have you gone through a recent major transition such as a move?
Are you overexposing yourself to the ups and downs of social media and news?
Are you worrying about loved ones?
Did you have a stressful situation that you recently went through? An awkward conversation?
Are your boundaries being challenged?
Is your physical body in recovery mode?
Has your work stress heightened?
You might find that if you open up this conversation to friends or family, you might continue to add to your list as you listen to other people discuss their stresses. It's very likely that we are experiencing stress at a greater level than we are acknowledging.
Now that you’ve completed an assessment of the stress in your life, does it feel like your self-care is adequate? The goal is not to make you feel guilty or that you're not doing enough, it's just about bringing more awareness to how you can help yourself out in areas that you might have overlooked. This isn’t about adding to your “I should” list, it’s about giving yourself a break.
Tune in to your physical body.
This simple act in itself is an act of self-care. Our bodies communicate to us, but sometimes we have to be intentional in order to receive its messages (especially when we are stressed out and stuck in our heads). Your body might be telling you that it is desiring better rest, deeper and slower breaths, simple changes in nutrition, and/or increased movement, for example. The more you are able to practice tuning into your body, the more you can look after yourself in a more conscious way.
Reflect on your internal world and its response to the external world
What have you been dwelling on that is contributing to stress levels? How much have you been stressing about things completely out of your control? Slow down and lean into the quiet to find your center. By doing this more frequently, you’ll find greater harmony with your external world.
Keep in mind that this is about being gentle with yourself and making simple shifts allowing for better stress resilience for long term balance. Checking in on your stress levels and determining what you need for physical and emotional well being will be an ongoing process.
Remember that this is about long-term self nourishment. Consider if you need self-care that provides immediate gratification such as a massage or a simple shift such as cutting back on caffeine that can have more long-term benefits. Simply setting your intention towards a mindset of nurturing in everyday tasks such as meal preparation or exercise can heighten your opportunities for self-care.
Give yourself lots of permission to give to yourself and open the path to receive from others. When things seem out of control, you can always control how well you take care of yourself.