Self-care – more than just a buzz word?
Me time, unplug, clear your head, because you’re worth it! These are just a few catch phrases that we’ve become familiar with, largely because marketers have seen an opportunity to sell us a product or a service. We’ve been told that looking after ourselves means having the latest cosmetic or home appliance, a spa appointment each month or a wedge of time spent in front of the box or scrolling online.
But what if self-care was simpler than that. What if self-care was the act of feeling into our bodies before a decision was made.
Am I feeling thirsty or hungry?
How is my energy level? Would I feel more refreshed if I sat down for a few minutes or did a walk around the block?
Do my joints feel comfortable during this exercise? Should I slow down or stop?
Am I warm enough? Should I grab a jumper or a pair of socks?
The question that we ask ourselves is not really important. It is the process of momentarily pausing, feeling into our bodies and allowing that physical intelligence to arise. Maybe we action the bodily response, or maybe we don’t. But like most new things, repeating the enquiry can build a deeper connection with our bodies which can then develop into a regular habit.
I still remember the first true step towards self-care that I made a few years back. I would always get to the end of the afternoon or night and sink into the couch or bed, and feel the annoying rub of my earrings in my neck. It seemed like such a small thing, so I would always override the ache in my body and put up with it. Until one night I decided I would take them out – bliss! I then continued with this routine and started to add other small building blocks of self‑care into my day. I feel bloated when I eat this, I feel more refreshed when I go to bed a little earlier, my muscles feel looser when I exercise gentler. All of the little building blocks had made a foundation of self-care and I had developed a habit of listening and honouring my body. A daily cycle of trial and error, that doesn’t aim for perfection.
Often, we fall into the trap that a grand gesture has to be made, in terms of expense or time, to short circuit unhealthy habits. But from my experience it is checking-in with my body that has brought a vitality to my life. How is your body feeling now?
Carly Skeers teaches yoga to people of all ages on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She loves encouraging people to reconnect with themselves and with each other.