Self-care has become a bit of a buzz word. It's everywhere, popping up more and more the further you get into the world of self-discovery and inquiry. But what exactly is it?
To me, self-care is the act and attitude you take to maintain a standard of well-being, health and personal happiness. It's those things that add a richness to your life, that make you feel full, nurtured and taken care of.
But what happens when you rituals of self-care become too much and start to impede on all of the above? Is that even possible?
I was talking with a client the other day and she mentioned that she was feeling like her self-care routine was starting to feel like a burden. I asked her what she meant by this and she told me how she got up at 5:30am, before her family was up, just so she would have enough time to do all the things that she felt would add to her happiness, fulfillment and betterment as a person. Except, it wasn't. It was stressing her out and causing her to feel depleted and disappointed when she couldn't get to everything.
I asked her why she felt she needed to include everything in her self-care routine and she replied that they were all things she really wanted to make a part of her life. They were habits and behaviors she valued and brought joy, peace and happiness to others, and thought they would bring that to her as well.
I paused for a moment before asking her my next question. "What do you think you should do then?" I asked.
She continued to tell me how it was causing additional stress on top of everything else that was overwhelming her. When she couldn't commit to something fully then she felt disappointed. She was lacking excitement to participate in them because they were feeling like a chore.
"I probably need to look over my routine and remove the things that don't feel right to me anymore." She replied.
I think this is something that anyone who is aware and committed to adding in self-care to their daily lives goes through. We all know how important it is to do things that we love, those things that make us feel alive and nurtured and well taking care of, but there are only so many hours in they day. In our ideal world we'd be able to carve out enough time to leisurely go about our day, pausing for 20 minutes here and there to meditate, followed by an hour-long yoga class, and walk outside and come home to a nice warm bath. Maybe some days you can do this but when it starts to impede on your happiness, when you start to look at those things like just another thing on your list of things to do, it's time to take a good, hard look at your current reality.
I'm a HUGE believer in self-care rituals. I talk about how important it is all the time with clients however, when it starts to feel like a chore, then it's a sign you have taken on too many acts of self-love and you aren't fully able to commit to and absorb their benefits. Therefore, it turns into yet another chore or task we need to do.
I told my client that maybe she needed to write a list of everything she did in a day to promote self-care and cross out the things that were weighing her down and making her feel conflicted and stressed and do those things that really filled her soul with a deeper sense of self-love.
When we do this we are able to really get the full benefits of self-care.
Remember this when you are thinking about your self-care routing; it's quality over quantity. It's not how many things we can fit into our day but how those things make us feel inside.
Reader Challenge -- If you are feeling like your self-care routine is adding more stress than feelings of nurturing and love, reassess what you are doing and remove that which feels more like a burden and invest more into what you keep.