These soothing and truth-filled words are a guest post by Galia Alena.
Self care seems to be the catch phrase being flung around at the moment, something else for us all to add to our endless to do lists, our oh so important “must” do lists, another thing to fail at, another thing to feel guilty about, to beat ourselves up over if we are not doing it right. Ironic? Yes, but how often do we actually stop and think about what it actually means to us personally- “self “ care, how do we care for our Selves.
On first glance I think of bubble baths and tea, but some of us are just not bubble bath girls (the thought of sitting in the bathroom that the kids use, amongst the debris of toys and dirty clothes is anything but relaxing to me, honestly it would just conjure that dreaded to do list with clean the bathroom and wash clothes) and besides, I’m a coffee girl. A bubble bath is someone else’s idea of self care, not mine. So what does it mean to me.
Self Care, caring for “self”, that’s me, caring for me. Firstly that makes it completely individual, what works for me may not work for anyone else. So what does work for me? When I dig deep and really think about it, self care means looking after myself. Not in a selfish way of putting one’s self first but in the sense that I have to look to myself. To do that firstly I have to know who this self is, so the first step in self care is to foster a relationship with self, including self awareness and, as all good relationships should contain, kindness.
For me that requires stopping, pausing long enough to see, taking a moment to check in with myself to find out what it is I need. Listening to myself and then choosing from that inner wisdom. When I do pause and reflect what I find always seems to take me back to what is truly important, what is at the center of my beliefs and values, and reminds me to make choices that are in alignment with those beliefs and values. That is how I care for myself, it is the big picture in the little moments. The pausing and reflecting cuts through the external noise, busy demands and outside influences which constantly serve to lead me off my path of choice. In a sense, self care is about taking the time to bring myself back into alignment with my own center. It is a conscious practice to check in with myself.
With this conscious practice I can nurture self care because I am becoming aware of what I need, who I am, living in away which is connected to my deepest intentions. These pauses of mindful connection with myself also connect me with moments of being fully present to my life. In a single moment I can experience the whole beauty of my life, in a single moment I can pause and drink it all in. I’m always amazed by how much basket filling I can do in a moment, and after all there is only the moment, but how rich that moment is if we are fully present to it.
So that’s how I do self care- I pause, I reflect, and I choose how to live in integrity, I check in with myself, and I check in with my deepest intentions and through this simple act I can try to stay connected with my truest self, I remember what is important to me, truly important, I drink in the moment, I breathe, I notice the light falling gently through the leaves and the scent of lavender in the air, and I delight at the simple pleasures, I hug my loved ones and, for me, that is Self Care.
A whole life in a single moment
Drink it all in gently but ever so greedily
Let the moment fill you deeply
with the joy of being truly present
and your life.
Galia Alena works at mixed media artist, she attended Macquarie University and currently lives in Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand. Check her website at GALIA ALENA Photography and her blog at Galia Alena.