“I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of bing.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate towards yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Lao-tzu, from the Tao Te Ching
Self-care can sometimes be seen as something selfish or feminine. Neither are true. Everyone needs to take care of themselves. Each individual taking care of themselves is the path to a healthier happier world. I love the quote above “compassionate towards yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.” You serve the greater good when you really show yourself compassion and take care of your own inner needs.
Life gets crazy for us all. There is constant noise, distraction, expectations and lists of things to do that can feel dizzying and overwhelming no matter who you are. We all exist in two worlds our inner world and the outer world. Both can be hectic and scary to face at times. It is important you have self-care practice in place when you begin to feel overwhelmed.
Self-Care is one of those subjects that can feel like it’s a little hippy dippy and over talked about. However, it is necessary for a fulfilling, stable and healthy life. It’s also one of those subjects that is seen as feminine, and that is seriously a problem because both genders need to take care of themselves and develop a sense of inner wisdom and centering, and compassion. If both genders can’t develop these qualities we are only insuring that future generations will continue to see problems of domestic violence, sexual assault, violence, and greed.
To figure out what self-care practices are best for you, start observing your inner world and the state it’s in. Notice moments where you feel happy from the inside, notice when you feel calm and content and what has caused that, and then notice times when you feel anxious or drained, and peg what caused that feeling. What are things that make you feel good? Not just what do you think will make you happy temporarily, but what makes you feel fulfilled? Whole? Strong? Some of this may sounds silly, but I promise you will thank me later. So with that I will go ahead and say YOU ARE WELCOME. Remember life is short, and self-care helps you enjoy it. That is really the most important thing we can do. When we are healthy, and feeling good we can make the biggest difference in the world around us.
Examples that have worked for me:
- Time alone. Time to think, journal and read.
- Time in nature to observe the natural beauty and remind myself I am a part of it.
- Eating healthy foods.
- Time with friends that make me laugh
- Listening to music that fits my mood
Other things could include group sports, running, baking, doing art, and more. Your list of self care practices will be unique to you.
Sometimes we think talking with others will help and it does and sometimes it ends up making us feel worse. Notice when that’s happening and adjust course accordingly. It is best to share deep heartfelt emotions in person so that you have the face to face interaction and support that can be so comforting in times of stress. Notice who makes you feel supported and calm, and if there are times when others make you feel more depleted or misunderstood. Maybe decide what friends and family make you feel most supported and share with them before sharing with others.
As I said we are each unique, so what we need in moments of chaos, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed to bring balance will be different. Start observing what leaves you feeling more depressed, more overwhelmed, and stuck versus what leaves you feeling hopeful, free, honest, and kind. This is such an important time in your life of self-discovery. Allow this to be a part of discovering who you are – discover what makes you feel good, centered and strong. Who are you, and how do you take care of this being that is you?
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