What is self-care? There is a lot of talk about it. Everyone SHOULD be doing it, right? The question worth answering is what is self-care FOR YOU. Self-care, for me, used to look like a superficial picture of a bubble bath with a messy bun, candles burning in a better homes and gardens bathroom. Or sitting in a lotus pose and mastering that meditation technique everyone else seems to be doing for at least 15 minutes. It was completely manufactured. If you’re anything like me, you have a decent bathtub but it is cluttered with bath toys, and you don’t really have the time or bandwidth to execute that magazine-infused idea regularly... much less perfectly. And as for that perfect meditation practice...It seemed like the harder I tried to meditate the less attainable it was. Not to mention that the earlier I woke up for “me time” the earlier my 5 year old woke up for some “mommy and me time.” Self-care became an idea that I SHOULD be experiencing with absolute bliss and meditative nirvana rather than a real-time hug I give myself to reset and recharge. If you are a person with an average work load and a couple of kids it’s poppycock! Trying to fulfill some manufactured idea of self-care can actually ADD to your level of stress, (and for some anxiety). This is especially true during this challenging time of Covid-19.
My name is Elisa Gemme and I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Intuitive Massage Therapist. I’m a single mom of two daughters, 13 and 5. Right now we are on lock down and we are adapting to life as we have never experienced it. Since I am now a teacher, business owner, single mother, social life maker, craft queen, housekeeper, etc., the likelihood of me getting the time to take that bath and relishing in it with some meditative state of nirvana is pretty rare. Instead I have figured out that self-care for me RIGHT NOW looks more like pausing ANYTIME to close my eyes and take 5-10 very deep breaths while re-engaging with my body in this present moment. As a matter of fact, my kids have started to notice that I am not angry or about to yell, (like I used to). Instead I am resetting myself, and they are starting to do it with me because they like it. They see and feel the benefit of it. I wake up just a little earlier to connect my mind, body, and spirit through some breathe work and relaxed movement while giving thanks for anything I can think of in 5 minutes. If I get interrupted, I either keep going and let my little one join me, or I try again later. I’m not talking about yoga with a mat and any set up. I’m talking about breathing deep while moving and stretching my body in whatever fashion feels comfortable TO ME for 5 minutes. Self-care is defined by taking the time to discover how you personally reset your own mind frame. It’s different for everyone. The key is learning what works for you and executing that plan unapologetically. Carving out a little bit of time for you your way. What do you actually take action doing? Read, swim, browse social media, binge watch Netflix, cook, clean, garden, get a massage, go on a motorcycle ride, count to 10, get a manicure, stargaze, eat healthy, or eat an unhealthy treat? The list is infinite and very personal for each of us.
It’s important that when you define self-care you take that first picture or idea that comes to your mind, (usually from magazines, media, or friends), and you relate it to your current situation and limitations. If it is unrealistic, unattainable without outside resources, or not something you even care for, then it’s time to delete that picture. It’s time to replace that picture with what works with who you are right now and where you are right now. This is your self-care...right now. I invite you to take a moment now to reflect on what self-care means to you without other influences, and most importantly without guilt, shame, or judgement. Give yourself permission to decide what helps you reset. Then USE YOUR TOOLS!!
That is it! You have now manifested self-care that is tailored to you by you. Once you have started implementing your tiny or large acts of self-care remember to care for others. One of the best ways to lift your spirits is to do nice things for others. From a smile to a token. The gift of giving is exponential. Remember… one tiny act of self-love almost always leads to more acts of love for self and others!