For the longest time, I associated the term "self care" with basic health and wellness needs. Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, etc. But over the last year or so, I have come to realize that self care is so much more than that.
Yes, all of the things I mentioned up above are important. As I've stressed several times on my own health journey, I really don't believe you can be helpful to yourself or anyone else unless you are feeling your best self.
But my point today is that it's not all about eating vegetables and getting sleep. It's about knowing your mind and your body well enough to know what you need at any given moment, and then acting on that need. It could be as small as getting up from your desk to walk a few laps around the office when you are starting to get a headache from your work. It could be treating yourself to a yoga class. It could be just sitting at your kitchen table, listening to music. The point is, it's whatever will get you through. It's whatever helps you take another step in life, or jump over another hurdle. We cannot expect to succeed if we do not take care of ourselves whole heartedly. We can't leave ourselves behind, we're stuck with who we are- so we need to embrace that person and treat them like the beautiful soul that they are.
If you had a friend or a family member that wasn't taking care of themselves, you would say something, wouldn't you? Most of us would. We would express our concerns. So we need to do that very same thing for our own selves. When you are starting to feel run down, or beat up, ask yourself "what do I need in this moment?".
Eventually, with practice, that will become second nature. You will start to put yourself first. Not in a selfish way. You will just start to know what you need to keep on keeping on. But even the most experienced self-carers (totally not a word) slip up, get lost in the chaos and forget. That's okay. It just takes a few moments to get back into that mindset.
There are thousands of articles on the Internet that tell you how to practice self care. They have some good tips, but I say---- self care is what you want it to be. There's no checklist or how to guide. It could be something different every time! That's where listening is key. You'll be surprised at what your own self might be telling you.