Summer of Self Care
How to make the big shift and really start taking care of yourself
Oh boy, do we love to talk about self-care.
And now that it’s summer? We’re geared up and ready to go. Every woman I know has mentioned self-care to me at least once in the past week.
I’m serious. Every. Single. One.
And I’m on the list. I too have vowed that as my schedule settles into its summer rhythm, I’m going to up my game and take better care of myself. Frankly, I’ve been patting myself on the back for making over-due doctor’s appointments, meditating, and taking a mid-day walk to get out of the office for a bit.
It’s a good start…
I’m not beating myself up for not doing more, this is about self-care after all, but this morning I noticed something else.
I haven’t been sleeping well. My husband hasn’t been sleeping well either. We need a new mattress, and we’ve needed one for a really, really long time.
Why haven’t we gotten one, you ask?
Well, there’s always something more important to do… There’s always something more important to buy…
And yet, (this was my realization this morning) if it were for either of our kids, it would have been taken care of eons ago.
I know we’re not the only ones.
My best friend wants to get into better shape and although she lives in the city where she could walk every day, she rarely does. Why?
She’s busy, the weather is bad, a foot problem creeps in…she just can’t seem to get around to it.
Here’s the thing…
When her beloved pup was in his final days, she bought a stroller, changed her work schedule, bought comfortable shoes, and even in the searing August heat, walked and carried him everywhere.
We do things for them that we don’t ever consider doing for ourselves.
And that, my friends, is the reason we have to talk about self-care in the first place. We never gather round and talk about how we wish we could just find the energy to take loving care of our kids (with or without fur). We just do it.
When it comes to them-care we move mountains, find money, muster energy or simply do it.
Your summer of self-care isn’t about forcing yourself to take better care of yourself. It’s about learning to love yourself enough that nothing on heaven or earth could keep you from it.
Self-Care Equals Self-Love
Start by making a list of all thing things you think you need to do to take better care of yourself.
Now picture one of your beloved "thems" and read through the list. Is there anything on there that you wouldn’t do for them? If there is, cross it off. It’s not a priority to you – it may belong on someone else’s list, but not yours.
Next read through the list a second time. Is there anything missing? Things you automatically do for them that you don’t do for yourself. (make doctor’s appointments, find time to play, buy new underwear, etc…) If there is, add it!
Now, here’s the tricky part…
I don’t want you to force yourself to do anything on that list. This is the summer of self-care, not the summer of will-power.
Your to-do list is all about love.
Start by dumping all of those tired old mantras that you no longer believe.
You know, the ones you learned growing up about wanting more, being greedy or what selfish looks like.
Let them go or re-write them so that they’re aligned with what you really believe today.
For example: "No one can have it all" might become "I don’t want everything there is to have and I know what things I really do want. I can easily have my version of it all."
This may take some time. It’s OK. Just start where you are and revisit as the summer moves forward.
Next, close your eyes and picture yourself as a child. Really sit with that child. Watch the way she moves. Ask her what she wants. Ask her what she’s afraid of. Listen to what she has to say. Allow yourself to fall in love with her. Promise that child that you’ll care for and protect her.
Each morning before you open your eyes this summer, tap in to that child with pure love. Ask her how you might best care for her each day.
When you get stuck in old habits, (and you will) rather than beating yourself up speak to yourself the way you would speak to her or to your other beloveds.
Be gentle. Be easy. Be helpful.
When you can do that, you’ll never have to worry about self-care again.