SELF-CARE: A Blog in 2 Parts (Part Two)
SELF-CARE PART 2: Electric Boogaloo – A Self-Care Recipe
By Shelly Hogan MA, MEd, LMFT-Associate
(Otherwise known as, “How can we do the thing?”)
Here’s where I spill the beans! Ready for my personal, top secret recipe?
Self-care has 3 important ingredients: reflection, intention, and practice.
(Yep – that’s it.) Let’s roll up our sleeves and get cookin’!
Who am I and what do I need?
Self-reflection isn’t tiny, but I promise you can do it. When we look inside ourselves, we see all KINDS of things! Some are amazing. Some aren’t. Usually it’s the ones that aren’t so amazing that we tend to focus on. Self-care is about making those not-so-greats a little bit smaller and turning up the volume on the AMAZING. For example, if you tend to procrastinate you might have a discussion with yourself about your procrastination. “Self, should I get stuff done today? Will I feel better after? Or is today a day I need to take for me and rest?” If your procrastination tends to be LOUD, taking over part of your day, you could decide to do a little something off your to-do list right then to make it quieter, or you may decide that right now rest is most important for you and plan to work later. Reflection is about paying attention, really listening to YOU – recognizing what you need and giving it to yourself, like a gift you pick out special, just for you.
Where do I put my energy?
Intention is all about focusing your energy under the title of SELF-CARE. For something to be considered self-care, it helps to actually think about it as self-care. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, sometimes it’s not that straight-forward. Take the idea of my favorite ‘S’ cup for instance. If I were to take it out of the cabinet, thinking about the million-and-one things on my to-do list today, and just aimlessly pour my cup of coffee and chug it down I wouldn’t necessarily notice which cup I was even using, let alone feel like I was practicing self-care (and real-talk: some mornings are like that). But when I take a moment to select my ‘S’ cup with intention, just for me, then I can consciously appreciate drinking coffee out of my favorite cup and revel in the joy it brings me. That joy begins to feel like taking care of myself. In other words, realizing your battery is charging is part of charging it. Your battery needs to be “plugged in”, or connected to the power source to charge, right? Intention is like the power source for self-care.
What do I need right now?
Practice makes perfect, right? Let’s change that to practice can make a difference. The more you’re able to recognize what you need and make it count with intention, the more self-care can do for you and your well-being, the more ways you’ll find to practice self-care, and the more you’ll actually want to practice self-care (bonus!). The magic? Self-care does not have to be BIG to count. But watch out – starting a healthy self-care routine can be a slippery slope! When you begin to reflect on what you need in one area of your life, you may find yourself reflecting upon other areas as well. Next stop: creating healthy boundaries in your relationships, gratuitous acts of self-care and self-love, renewed sense of self and purpose… the sky’s the limit!
BEWARE: everyday activities like going to concerts, time spent with loved ones, even putting on your favorite socks could take on a life of their own… when you’re cookin’ up your own brand of SELF-CARE!
If you’d like to chat, you can drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to reach out for a free phone consult with myself or one of our other fabulous therapists at Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center.