Updated: May 16, 2019
Sometimes the "rules" are meant to be broken.
What does “self-care” actually mean? For some it means waking up early to have a half hour to yourself before you head into the chaos of the world. For others it means finding 3 or 4 hours a week to make it to the gym. And for others it means saying “no” to things you don’t really want to do.
Self-care has become such a trendy word lately - and it’s importance is undeniable. I would like to challenge, however, the notion that self-care must mean setting boundaries, saying no, working out, eating well, etc. While the intentions behind such noble recommendations are good, it reads like another to do list - one of the many hundreds I’ve already created and ignored.
So I decided to take a look at self-care from another perspective. I’ve mentioned previously that I have my morning rituals - and I honestly love them. They help me thrive. They give me peace when I need it, and allow me to feel grounded and capable of handling whatever stress throws at me. But some days I just don’t feel like doing them. I am not in the mood to journal, or I don’t feel like zenning out into meditation.
I used to beat myself up over it. I had an actual checklist to mark off each day that I meditated and journaled. I would police myself to “get it done”. That’s not quite what I was going for when I started my rituals to help keep myself aligned and in flow. They weren’t meant to be a chore - a thing I had to do before I could anything else.
"So while I still hold my rituals near and dear to my heart (because they serve me so well!), I’ve let go of the reins a bit to allow myself to be in choice. To proactively choose what self-care means for me from one day to the next."
Most days it actually means journaling and meditating. Some days it means making it to my spin class (shout out to Ride Berlin - for keeping me sane!). But other days, like this past Sunday, self-care read more like:
1. Straighten the kitchen
2. Do my laundry
3. Paint my nails
4. Go out for a cappuccino
5. Book a flight to NY
Taking care of myself meant allowing myself to do what was important for me. Things that were on my mind, and that would ultimately bring me happiness. Each item on that list took away a small part of my stress, and gave me the freedom to decide what I needed in the moment. While I recognize my list is very different as a single 30-something than some of my readers with family or other obligations, the point is that you get to decide what it means to take care of yourself.
While I still believe it’s important to know what rituals help you to be your best every day, (no matter how many times I try to cut my 8 hours of sleep down to 7, I always feel the painful, tired-eyed side effects the next day), I also believe that some days you should just throw out the “rule book” and let yourself be.
You do you.
Amanda Parker is a purpose-driven entrepreneur on a mission to humanize the workplace. She supports businesses to create workspaces where people are inspired to show up with full heart and purpose every day. She also works with badass women to activate their courage and take their personal and professional lives to the next level.
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