I recently came across a powerful definition of self-care in Jessica N. Turner's wonderful new book Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive.
When you're in the thick of it, when you're struggling with sadness, when you yearn to try another diet, when you're angry with yourself for yet another mistake, when you feel like losing weight will fix everything, it's so hard to pull yourself out. Of course, acknowledging those feelings, accepting their presence and not judging yourself is foremost.
On her powerful, insight-filled podcast Startup Pregnant, Sarah K. Peck asks her guests, who are women entrepreneurial parents, a brilliant question: What don't you do?
Inside of each of us is a stack of books filled with tales, tragedies, comedies and everything in between---most of which we've written. We're constantly spinning stories about who we are, what we deserve, what we need, what we are capable of (or not capable of).
For many of us even the hint of sadness or anger can feel overwhelming. We don't want to go there. So instead we turn away, and pretend we're perfectly fine. We pretend that nothing has happened, and we take out our favorite shovel and start digging, burying whatever remnants of emotions we haven't already hidden away, deep into the ground.
Journaling is a powerful tool for processing our feelings. As I’ve written before, it’s as though each piece of paper we write on absorbs our emotions. It bears their weight; it bears the load—and we start to feel a bit lighter, a bit freer.
Think of yourself as having two parts: One part is a child in need of nurturing; the other is a parent who has the privilege of caring for that child. It's a privilege to take seriously. And one way we take that privilege seriously is to practice self-care on a deeper level.
There are many ways to think of self-care, and many ways to practice it. But at its foundation self-care is noticing and attending to our needs and being kind to ourselves, according to Laura Torres, LPC, a holistic mental health counselor who specializes in self-care, self-compassion, anxiety, perfectionism, relationship issues and highly sensitive people.