Radical Self-Care: why you should do it and 6 ideas to get you started

Hello Love!

Sometimes {especially in Christian circles} radical self-care has a bad implication. "They," say you shouldn't need to take care of yourself, you need to take care of and serve others, and that is what is Christ-like.
I would argue that Christ was a master at self-care. He departed by himself often for his own self-care. Jesus recognized that in order for his human body to keep up with the spiritual, emotional, and physical demands of doing God's work on earth, he needed to take incredible care of it. 
I know that many of you struggle with taking care of yourselves, putting self-care on your to-do list seems like just another chore and one that will never actually get done because it lives on the bottom.
I get it, I used to be there too. Until my body couldn't take it anymore until I got sick and now I deal with chronic illness and fatigue and the only way I can function is to take excellent care of myself physically, spiritually, and mentally.  If you are sick of having zero energy, horrified at how often you lose your temper and convinced that your life and health are only getting worse, then read on love.

I need you to know first that there is no shame in saying, I need help. I need to take care of myself or we are ALL going down! Second, I know that if you jump all in and try to do all the things at once you will get overwhelmed and give up on self-care all together so let’s start small. Just pick one thing you can do for yourself everyday, attach it to something you MUST do every day {like get your kids from school or brush your teeth or feed everyone) and the likely hood it becomes a habit nearly doubles! Once you have one self-care practice that is a part of your every day experience you can begin to add another.

Here are my top 6 favorite ways to take care of myself, some of these might light you up and some might fall flat. Experiment for yourself what works for you and your schedule.

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  • WAKE UP BEFORE 6AM: This might seem impossible, especially if you are someone who struggles with sleep.  Our bodies were created to rest when the sun sets and to wake when it rises.  However, the advent of electricity and the lightbulb has made it so that we can chose to sleep and work and wake whenever we want; but our bodies still crave the circadian rhythms they are designed for. Sleeping at the same time and waking at the same time every day, yes even on weekends, is a loving way to give your body what it is craving as far as sleep is concerned.  The more you work toward a rhythm in your wake and sleep the more the rhythms of your life will begin to come together.  There are some awesome apps for your phone that measure your sleep rhythms to wake you when you are in your lightest sleep cycle {I use one called sleep cycle alarm clock} and some alarm clocks that make waking a little more tolerable… SUNRISE WAKE UP ALARM CLOCK  

  • GRATITUDE JOURNAL: This one is life changing. I have a student who recently told me she just feels angry all the time, she feels like she is full of constant negative energy because she never thinks anything can go right. Does this sound familiar?? My student, and probably you too, had every right to feel this way. The past 8 years for her has been trauma after horrific trauma and she was justified in her negativity but that doesn’t mean she had to live there. Negative energy attracts negative energy, just playing with a couple of magnets can tell you that. So what my student needed to do, and what you might need too, is to find some positive energy in her life. At my request she began keeping a gratitude journal, every morning with her coffee she writes at least 5 things she is grateful for. At first it was so hard to come up with 5… now she is filling journal pages. More than that, she got her kids involved, and their gratitude helps her find even more to be grateful for. If you need a dose of high vibes sisters there is nothing more potent than a gratitude journal.

  • OIL MASSAGE: In Ayurveda the practice of self massage is called Abhyanga. It is a full body massage that releases toxins from lymph nodes, increases circulation, calms the nervous system, increases your bodies moisture barrier to harmful germs and bacteria, and truly supports body love and acceptance if you practice the massage with the intention of loving your body and replacing all negative self talk with loving affirmation. Banyan Botanicals has a great video on Abhyanga you can watch HERE.

  • READ: I am going to say reading with your eyeballs or listening to an audio-book are equal here. When you are giving yourself over to a story, or learning something that drives your passion then you are taking incredible care of yourself. I make it a goal to read 10 pages of something every single day, I can use that as a break in the middle of my day or first thing in the morning, or if I don’t get it in during the day I I will for sure get those pages in before I close my eyes in bed at night.

  • MOVE: However you are feeling whatever busy is in your life, it will all be made better by moving your body. Even if you can only move a little bit, gentle or chair yoga, walking, even imagining what it feels like to move your body can have a positive effect on you. My most preferred ways of moving include, yoga, dancing, walking or hiking, and lifting. You do you! Just listen to your body!

  • MEDITATION & PRAYER: There are literally countless reasons that meditation and prayer help you to take care of yourself. HERE is an article on the top 20 benefits to meditation. If you are a believer then adding prayer to your meditation practice can take all these benefits to the next level. Growing in your relationship with God, deepening your awareness of your own body, making scripture a part of your every day life. All of these things are benefits to prayer and meditation. For more info on meditation and for some guided prayer meditations check out the rest of the blog posts here labeled meditation.

There are lot’s of other ways we can take care of ourselves. Chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massage, art classes, manicures or pedicures, baths, affirmations, cooking, etc… Whatever speaks to your soul should be something you explore. I would love to hear how you do self care, find me on instagram @beautifulandbeloved and let me know how you love you best.

In Love & Light,

Amber

Amber NewberryComment