When I begin my career as a therapist, I would admire those who were able to implement self-care on a regular basis. I often would think to myself that I would know that I was successful in my career once I was able to afford regular trips to the nail salon or monthly massages. It took me several years, and being close to burnt out a few times, for me to realize that self-care was more about my attitude towards myself and not an call to a spa. I also learned that self-care was not an award that I needed to earn, but an essential part of living.
Like everything else, self-care takes practice. This new habit takes time and conscious effort to implement. We won’t just stumble into a good self-care routine, we need to be deliberate. Self-care starts with knowing where you are and what your needs are. I usually start with the area that most needs attention or feels the largest amount of ick. This is the area that may be easy to avoid but will have to greatest impact.
When we are making any changes it is important to explore our roadblocks. I found that my largest roadblock to self-care was my attitude. I often think that I don’t deserve the time, think I haven't earned it, or think that a particular task or person deserves more attention. Any of these thoughts or attitudes are not going to foster positivity or motivation and my self care will remain a goal that I will never reach. If I continue to allow my inner critic to diminish my worth, I won’t have the energy to give love to the world, and I will miss the opportunity to show love to myself.
You don’t have to be in a “helping profession” to deserve or need self care. This shift in attitude is how we show love to ourselves. How do we determine who warrants compassion and kindness? We are all deserving. Love is not something that we earn. Instead of affirmations, I write down the ways I have shown myself compassion and kindness. What is one way that you can show yourself much deserved compassion and kindness today?