The Art of Self-Care

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“In a busy society where we are told to do more, achieve more, and be more. Often times we forget to really look at who we are and what makes us uniquely us. Self-care is the idea of slowing down and giving mindful attention to what you need. Everyone has different needs and nobody can answer this question for you. We often look to others, compare our lives, consult with Google or fall prey to advertisements that are waiting to tell us what we need. In doing so, with good intentions, we neglect ourselves. Too often we are listening to everybody but ourselves. Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself (mind, body and soul) and listening to what your unique needs are so that you can live a fulfilling and balanced life.”
-Michelle Bobich Psy.D.

I’m by no means here to tell you what you need, but I would LOVE to encourage you to consult yourself and discover what it is that truly feeds your soul.

I spent most of last year learning to be a friend to myself. To love myself first and figure out what I loved and needed. I know that may sound TERRIBLY selfish, but in reality, none of us can love others well if we don’t know how to love ourselves. Lucille Ball said it best “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this life.” Or…if you don’t trust her, what about Eleanor Brown? “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the OVERFLOW. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

You know what I learned during that year? I learned that I love art. That it needed to be a part of my life or else I felt like my soul was slowly dying. Well, hooray! Now it oozes out of me…hopefully in an artistic sort of way 😉

I’m not sure what self-care looks like for you, but I’ll just throw out a couple questions to get the creative juices flowing. Is it a glass of wine and your favorite TV show at the end of the day? Is it a weekly yoga class? What about a bubble bath? (I always think it is a bubble bath–but it turns out they’re rather boring to me…so, next!) Is it saying “no” when you are stretched to the max? Or is it curling up with a good book in your favorite chair for a few solid hours? Maybe it’s eating well or getting enough sleep? What about cooking a meal for loved ones? Or painting?! Maybe it’s painting, like me–getting lost in the creative process. Whatever it is–I want to encourage you to practice it. It’s perhaps the best investment you can make in yourself, but it really is a practice. It’s not easy and it feels rather uncomfortable at times, but I’ve got a hunch that “uncomfortablility” is a pretty wise teacher (I know that’s not a word, but you get it, right?).

For me, this week, it’s giving myself a day away–without an agenda, without a plan. A wise friend of mine gently reminded me that I’m not going to figure it all out in a day (like I was planning)–so I probably shouldn’t try. Maybe I should just go and BE. Bam.

She was right. It is time for an intervention–some radical self-care. Just for a day…in a new place…go and just BE.

If a friend of yours desperately needed a break, you’d tell her to go take a break, right? She needs it. She’ll be refreshed and more productive as a result. Well…I’m trying to be my own good friend. So, here I come, Cambria! I’m looking forward to some yummy Thai food, ocean strolls and room service. At least for a night 😉

What can you do this week to care for yourself? To be a friend to yourself.

Hugs, Love + Art,
The Gypsies