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Practicing Self Care

I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who was overwhelmed, frustrated and fried. She felt her life revolved around taking care of others. Drive the kids to various sports, walk the dog, cook dinner, do laundry...repeat….”What about me?” she asked. “Who takes care of me?” I could see the desperation in her eyes. She was miserable.

Although this woman never gets facials; she scheduled a monthly treatment with me. She also lined up a good massage therapist. “It’s time to take care of me.” She said smiling as she climbed onto my treatment table. Hmmm, I thought….she’s onto something. She’s taking charge. Her frustration and exhaustion have launched her into action. She’s replenishing her reserve. She’s practicing Self Care.

Self Care is trendy right now. It’s in magazines and discussed on talk shows. But what is it? I mean the name is self-explanatory, so without getting all Oprah on you this is my conclusion:

Self Care is an awareness that you bring into your life. It is based on self-preservation. It is knowing when to hit the “Pause” button in your life to do something that makes you happy.

As a mother and wife, I, also spent years caring for others. Hands down, it is the best job I’ve ever had and I thrived at being the mom of three little nuggets. I loved volunteering at their school and being home with them with macaroni in my hair. Now that they are man-children and (a little) more independent, I feel a longing/desire/hunger to...okay, I’m gonna say it…..FULFILL MY NEEDS!!!

I don’t mean needs needs, per say. I mean doing things that nourish my mind, body & soul. For example: I have always wanted to experience a Sound Bath. A friend of mine and I had discussed going to one for over a year and were determined to finally make this happen. We searched and found a local spa that offers a Sound Bath in a Himalayan Salt Room. That experience was not only soothing, it also replenished my ‘reserve’. I had been running on empty.

The week before, I was in an unrelenting stress storm. On the inside, I felt like how Albert Einstein LOOKED. A scattered mess combined with a little crazy (minus the genius part). The Sound Bath brought me back to my center and helped me to reboot. Afterward, literally walking to my car, I heard the birds chirping again as the golden sunlight of a warm California dusk glistened beautifully, even in a boring parking lot. I was back. This experience prompted me to tune in and gage my life experience. The stress had dissipated. I felt I could take on life again, but in a more harmonious way. The next day, I started practicing meditation again; which prompted me to do yoga in my living room, a healthy habit that I had fallen out of. The Sound Bath led me back to some self care habits that had faded from my life. Had I known that forty dollars and one hour of my time would have been so beneficial I would have done it months ago!

Are you practicing Self Care? Is there something that you’ve been longing to do that just hasn’t made it onto the calendar? Be sure and make it something attainable that fits into your daily life easily. Or, if it is large and takes a lot of planning, get started!

As another example, last Christmas, my boys all received gift certificates to go skydiving. Upon calling to schedule their jumps, I was on hold listening to Tom Petty’s “Free Falling”. Listening to that song, I had an epiphany that as a teen, I always wanted to go skydiving. Where did that dream go? As I hung up the phone, I realized that I had not only scheduled the boys jump...but mine as well! The utter bliss, belly laughs, fear and (best of all) expressions on my kids faces were priceless. To me, this was a form of self care. My mind, body and spirit soared that day. It hit my happy chord. I’m still smiling about it.

What hits your happy chord? Remember to make it something healthy! xoxo Lori

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