The concept of “self-care” is everywhere.
I work for the National Epilepsy Foundation and just wrote our February employee wellness newsletter on self-care in the workplace. Last week, I just listened to Harder to Kill Radio (Steph Gaudreau’s podcast) with my dear friend Sarah Fragoso and that was the central topic of theirs (I highly encourage you to listen to this one btw!!). You read about it on blogs, hear about it on podcasts, see it in the news, hear it from your mother and best friend and your best friend’s mother…and now you’re hearing it from me! But what the hell does self-care really mean?
Most commonly, self care seems to focused around the physical body.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat healthy
- Get body work (massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc)
- Take “you” time
Exercising for me is easy because I truly am a different person when I’m not active everyday (not in a good way). Eating healthy is also fairly easy for me now because I know I feel like shit if I eat like shit. Body work, I just have to schedule it and it happens. Meditation happens, but is sometimes like pulling teeth for me. But, I try to make it happen regularly. Taking time for myself is probably the thing I’m worst at, but constantly trying to improve.
With all things in place, I still haven’t felt completely whole. In fact most of the time I feel like I am a hot frickin’ mess… Can I get an “amen!”?
It’s my job to teach people how to take care of their body. It’s also my job to teach people how that positively effects their mind and their whole being. So to feel like most of the time I’m scrambling on a hamster wheel despite my efforts toward health, in the last couple of years I’ve taken a different approach to what self-care really means.
This is not to discount the physical self-care of the body that I have mentioned above, but more to talk about how I truly am trying to care for Jenny LaBaw.
To give you a very brief recap of how I’ve gotten where I am…
Almost 3 years ago, I had my community ripped out from under me. I was wrongfully fired from a job I had poured my heart and soul into. I was broken, I was discouraged, I was embarrassed…I was lost! During the early stages in my effort of building my own private business, I decided to run 500-miles across Colorado for epilepsy awareness. During my 31 days on the road, I had more self-reflection, enlightenment and true moments of being present than I had ever experienced in my life. I was engulfed in something bigger than me. I was committed to doing something I truly didn’t know if I could achieve. I was surrounded by nature in my favorite part of the world. I had no agenda each day except to make it to the next spot in one piece. I laughed and cried and yelled and was silent… everyday my emotions were all over the map. Sometimes minute to minute. (Shout out to my friends and family for putting up with that!). Although constantly tired and sore and beat up, I was the happiest I had been in a long time.
2 years later, I am full throttle back into “real life”. I’ve established a flourishing coaching business. I’m working on other side businesses to fulfill and share other passions. I have an irreplaceable community (near and far) supporting me and my endeavors. The unconditional love from Marcus fills my heart. I am a lucky girl. But there is a piece of my mind always stuck on the roads in Colorado. A piece of me that longs for the happiness and the feeling of purpose I had for those 31 days.
I try my hardest to live in the moment, but I can honestly say that those days were some of the best of my life. It’s really hard not to let my mind wander back. I regularly ask myself what about those 31 days was so special? Why did I feel so whole?
And that’s where I come back to the topic at hand… self-care. Self-care to me means to sit with yourself and truly listen. Feel all the feels and try to understand what they mean. Do what you can to respect and honor those feelings but not let them control you (good and bad). Stop constantly striving to be better, but rather accept where you’re at and if you don’t like something figure out how to change it. It’s so easy to blame others or judge others but turn that mirror around and truly look at the reflection.
In the last 2 years since my run, I strive to give myself that time to sit in my own shit. To really try to see the kind of person I am, the decisions I make, the things I say and do, the thoughts I have, the time I take (or don’t take). The things I want…truly want. We are in a world of constant “go-mode” where we forget to see and feel. We are on autopilot…constantly comparing and judging. We forget to or don’t take time to take time.
So again… back to what self-care is to me… I think in general it’s “taking time”.
- Taking time to care for your body (all things mentioned above)
- Taking time to sit with yourself
- Taking time to see yourself
- Taking time to assess what you see and feel
- Taking time to discover what you truly want
- Taking time to take action (or not) to get to where you want to be
Am I perfect at this? NO! Not even close. Like I said, I’m that hamster in the wheel most of the time, but I am trying like hell everyday to get there. To take the time Jenny LaBaw needs. I encourage you to do the same for your self.