What Is Self Care?

Here’s what I used to think that it meant.

  • Eat semi-healthy foods
  • Drink enough water
  • Get a reasonable amount of sleep
  • Exercise (only if I have to)
  • Resist a second glass of wine on a Tuesday night
  • Wear sunscreen

Practically speaking, yes, daily self care does include these things. Attention focused on our bodies. We need nourishment, hydration, sleep and exercise to exist and contribute productively in this world. So the body usually gets our attention. On a good day, we might also find time to be outside, relax, get a massage and forget about looming work deadlines.

What about our minds? When do they get the attention that they deserve?

Our minds tend to get a little forgotten along the way, burdened with schedules and deadlines, bills and money, the past and the future, what couldn’t have been, what everyone else has.

Our unmanaged minds leap from our bodies constantly, chasing the external – the validation from others, the comparisons to others, learning patterns and behaviors that work for others. We effort against it and yet the draw of the external seems to slay us, every time.

I used to think that this is the way it worked. Focus on physical self care daily, get the basic (I mean, BASIC) plan done (and don’t take up too much time doing it, because someone may really need you) and it will be a pretty good day.

But seriously, who ever wants a pretty good day?

My poor neglected mind. It was dehydrated and starving. It can’t subsist on paying bills, managing schedules, the past, worry about the future. It’s needs way more!

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Our minds crave management and direction – not just about worry, stress and the to-do list – they want to spend time dreaming up happiness schemes and solving interesting problems that actually enhance our lives and make us feel good.

Our minds need our attention. Daily. We get to decide what we want to think. And the best part of this is, that we can choose to think positive thoughts!

My new daily self-care routine looks a lot like the list above, thankfully, without the exercise resistance. It also includes all-day thought attention. I do an inventory of my thoughts, from the minute I wake up until I go to bed. I am making sure that my mind is aligned with the goals that I have for a healthy lifestyle and successful business. I make sure that mind is trying to solve problems that actually enhance my life, not someone else’s. When I sense that my mind is going for a detour and looking for distraction in someone else’s life, I reign it back in. It’s not always easy, in the same way that getting to bed on time or getting to gym to work out can be really hard. I get it. But the gift of caring for our mind and our thoughts has a huge positive impact on daily self care routines.