Beyond Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just a yoga class you take twice a week or the beach vacation you plan with girlfriends. Those things are wonderful, perhaps essential. But do you ever deeply relax for a few days only to return to your previous state of tension within hours of resuming the regular routine?

We need more than just the pleasurable, nourishing activities we do to recharge. Beyond self-care is self-love. Self-love is the way you talk to yourself on your roughest days and the permission you give to feel your emotions in full color. It’s saying no when you don’t feel like saying yes, and it’s forgiving yourself when things don’t work out the way you intended. Shifting your self-talk is a bit trickier than scheduling a massage, but the effects can be profound.

When I’m struggling, one of the practices I find most useful is talking to myself. It’s pretty easy to do in public these days—I just put on a pair of headphones and pretend I’m talking on the phone. I’ll take a walk in the neighborhood and ask myself questions like:

“How are you feeling, love?”

“What do you need, sweetie?”

And then I let my inner wounded one speak. I tell the story as long as I feel I need to tell it, and then wait for a response. Sometimes it helps to ask the question:

“What does my heart say?”

And when I let my heart speak, she usually says things like,

“Yeah, that was really hard for you. Of course you’re feeling sad right now.” 

Or, “I love you, dear one. I am with you no matter what.”

It works. I know it sounds a little silly, but hey, what’s wrong with silly? We have conversations in our heads all day long. This is about purposefully choosing the conversation you want to have.

To hear more ideas about going beyond self-care, check out my recent podcast conversation with Erica Blocker.

MWD 127 Julia Aziz

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