Yesterday I wrote about “step one” in the process I help people explore as they work toward elevating the level of self-care in their life. It seems so easy, doesn’t it? Self-care seems like a no brainer. We’re in the business of higher education after all, aren’t we? We can all intellectually understand the importance + need for self-care in our lives. Certainly.
Then why can is be such a challenge?
I’m hoping to unravel if just a hint of knowing on this question as I support and work with individuals on this journey. I don’t know the answer. I have some hypothesis that I’d like to explore however (smile).
So back to the process. The first step is “taking pause” throughout your day so that you can begin to notice more things about yourself. About how you feel at certain times during the day. About how the choices you are making impact the way you feel. This first step is becoming more in tune with self. By paying attention to your breath and your body. Once we actually start slowing down, the knowledge will surface.
Step two is becoming clear on our current self-care status. There are infinite layers when it comes to self-care, but I like to hunker down on the basics to start. We all have to eat. We all have to sleep. And we all need to move. I know for some, that last one is debatable (smile). My goal is to help bring each of these important areas into greater focus.
The truth is, we all have basic needs. And when we meet these needs we can function at our best. We can probably ignore some of these needs for a period of time, and still function (although likely sub-optimally), but in the end, this approach will catch up with us, like it or not.
Getting a baseline read on our baseline categories of self-care is essential. Just a simple rating, on a scale of one to ten, will do. For me, at this moment in time, I’m at about 5 in the eat category, about a 5 or 6 in the sleep category and more like an 8 in the exercise department. I know I need to focus on my food choices because they haven’t been the best. They’ve been on autopilot for a while now, and while they haven’t been horrible, I know I’m not feeling or operating at my best because of I’ve been letting this area in my life go.
You can add in any other major area of life in your baseline self-care assessment if you like. Another category you might consider is friends/family/relationships. Or how are you doing on the spiritual side of things, however you might define it. Money is another big one.
But again, I find keeping things simple, especially to start works best. Spend a day or two contemplating how you’re doing in these key areas. How are your choices making you feel on a daily basis? What ideas come to mind for how you might enhance your foundational self-care? Get clear on where you’re at so that you can start to envision where you want to go.
P.S. as much as this might be possible for you, try not to judge yourself and where you’re at. super easy for me to say and suggest, but truthfully, getting down on yourself isn’t going to serve you. be okay with what is because you are beautiful with imperfection abound. try to keep this in mind as you move forward in crafting your vision and your foundation for growth.