Self-care goes much deeper than taking bubble baths and reading good books. As humans, we have a diverse set of emotional, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. In essence, every action we take is an *attempt* at self-care. Some of our behaviors (overeating, drinking, drugging, facebooking) miss the mark and leave us, quite literally, hungry for more. The core issues behind getting our needs met in healthy and fulfilling ways is rooted in our self-worth. Without a foundation of deep self-worth, self-care will feel like an immense struggle.
However, when we are plugged into our self-worth, our drive to meet our deepest needs happens automatically – no force, no willpower, no striving, no deprivation, no white-knuckling. Part of that drive will be a desire to acquire practical tools for making it happen.
That is what makes my approach to self-care a bit different than the “standard” self-care advice. It includes the “inside work” and the “outside work” because both are critical to the process.
From this place, we weave self-care throughout our days. It isn’t just a few minutes in the morning. It is looking at our whole life and getting what you do on a day-to-day basis into alignment with your truest desires and values.
Obviously, it isn’t perfect. I don’t know anyone who is rooted in their self-worth 100% of time – not even me. And when we become unplugged from our worth, shit can go a bit haywire.
Here is a peak into a typical day in my life with some side notes about when it goes south:
I usually rise with the sun, as I tend to feel my best when I sync my sleep cycles with the natural cycles of sunlight and darkness (called the circadian rhythm). Getting eight to nine hours of sleep is really important for me.
Side note: This is best case scenario and my usual aim. It doesn’t always work out this way, though. If I am in a fibromyalgia flare, insomnia kicks in and makes sleep a little more elusive.
After rising, I make breakfast immediately since I typically wake up feeling ready to eat. At the moment, my favorite breakfast is three scrambled, pasture raised eggs cooked in grass-fed ghee, and a side of sauteed greens, and some sort of feremented food like sauerkraut, kimchi, or bubbies pickles. I also usually have cup of french press coffee brewed with vanilla beans and then I add coconut milk to lighten it up. I also take a spoonful of fermented cod liver oil.
I usually chill with my breakfast and linger over my coffee for at least an hour. This happens in a variety of ways; I might read, watch a little tv, do a little mind-mapping, or write in my journal.
Side note: If I wake up anxious and forget that I am in charge of my mind, this lovely little routine might go to hell in a hand basket. If that happens, I might end up on my computer for a couple (or twelve) hours.
Then, after my breakfast routine, I brush my teeth and then hop online for about an hour. From there, I usually check in with what feels right. Depending on the day, it may mean doing some self-coaching, mediation, intentional emotional release work, or anything else that helps plug me into my inherent worth and truth. On other days, getting right to work feels more in alignment. This means creating content (blog posts, love letters, program materials) and supporting the peeps in my group programs. Some days, it looks like doing the laundry or “picking up” our house while listening to a class or a podcast.
Side note: See above note about waking up with anxiety.
While working, to honor my bodies needs, I use a standing desk and a wireless headset. This helps my body to feel much less pain overall. It also makes it easy to walk away when I feel stuck, take a little dance break when the music moves me, or go fill up my water. Overall, I am very active throughout my entire day because in addition to standing while working, I also typically pace while teaching classes or coaching clients. I don’t do a whole lot of “formal” exercise because of my overall activity level during the day. I do practice yoga, jump on my rebounder, hike, and have dance parties when my body is feeling it. On very rare occasion, I might do some body-based weight-bearing movement.
Side note: At it’s wost, I might drag my laptop to my couch and sit there instead of standing/moving around. My body usually reminds me pretty quickly that this doesn’t work. Also, I do think my body would feel better overall if I incorporated more weight-bearing movement and I am working on weaving this more into my days.
After my morning routine, I’ll eat lunch before my coaching/teaching calls begin at 12. I keep lunch really, really simple. So, leftovers make many, many appearances in the lunch rotation. Most days, I make dinner with our lunches in mind. After lunch, I will just chill for a bit. Sometimes, I watch something on television or I’ll just sit and catch up with myself. My big journal might also make another appearance for some mind-mapping.
Side note: Some days lunch happens in front of the computer. (Are you noticing a trend here?)
I spend my afternoons coaching/teaching on the phone or skype. Between calls, I usually keep writing/working on program stuff, check in on email, social media, etc. It also might include some advance food prep like mayo making, bone broth making, or veggie chopping.
Throughout my day, I make very conscious choices to just check in with myself and see how I am feeling in general. If my shit gets triggered, I’ll look at my mind and check in with how I am feeling. Sometimes, I’ll even call in the troops (my coaches, my friends, my husband) to help me sort stuff out if I am feeling stuck on my own. Managing my mind and allowing my self to feel my feelings is a critical, critical part of my self-care; they are what support me in plugging into my inherent worth.
Side note: If again, I forget that I am in charge of my life, I might spin a bit before tuning back in.
I work from home, sometimes the lines of the work-day and personal time get blurred but I do my best to finish with work around 5:30. I am trying to get into a habit of taking a shower “after work” to help me create a boundary here. By then, I am usually ready to eat so I typically jump right into making dinner.
Since I do a lot of advance prep each week, dinner usually comes together in less than ten minutes. I always keep cooked proteins, a variety of sliced/chopped vegetables, and a large variety of spices, seasonings, and sauces, on hand to make dinner a breeze. For dinner, we eat a lot of “stir-fry-esque” meals, where I just put a bunch of stuff in the pan, add some sort of seasoning, some nourishing fats, and we rock it out.
Doing dinner this way has truly changed my life and has contributed to my peace with food. Besides binge eating, one of my least peaceful behaviors with food was ignoring hunger and then eating the fastest thing I could get in my mouth. This method of dinner/food prep along with becoming more attuned to my hunger signals has solved that.
Side note: If I’ve had a rough day, I might ask my husband to bring home dinner. This happens much, much less now that I have incorporated even more advance prep work.
After dinner and during dinner, I usually chat with my husband. We will talk about our plans, whatever we are going through, and the common adoration of our cats . We both do a variety of things in the evening times. Sometimes, I mind-map, read cookbooks like novels, make our shopping list, or read. I also always (mostly ) write in my gratitude journal. In the later evening hours, we watch “our shows” together.
Side note: On craptastic days, this might mean more hours of tv than feels good for me. Coupled with insomnia (see above), it can move into the very late hours of the night. Ultimately, I’d like to watch a max of two hours of tv a day with some days of watching none. I’m working on it.
I usually go to bed a few hours after dinner. I use a white noise machine and a sleep mask as they both improve the quality of my sleep. It is also important for me to keep the room really cool. Most night, I sleep solid through the night and then, I rise and start all over again.
So, there you have it, folks – a for real sneak peak into my day through the lens of rooting into my self-worth and honoring my deepest needs.