Reinventing Self-Care

In the helping profession we often hear the term “self-care,” Suggesting some form of practice of how you relax, unwind, and take care of yourself after supporting and helping others daily. This practice may include a variety of things such as, a glass of wine, a long walk or meditation. But often this practice may only provide us with some temporary relief or momentary distraction; not fully alleviation of the challenges of our professional world.

There has been many times I have found myself in the land of wanting to “treat myself” for a hard day of work with a drive or a

walk. No doubt moving my body feels good, releases energy, but my mind often trickles back to the person, thoughts, or behaviors that were the initial stressor. I have been left wondering why when I create intentional space to take care of myself am I not getting the result I want? So I have begun to play with the concept of self-care as perhaps something that is not an intentional act, but rather an integrated approach to how we care for ourselves on a daily basis, not just in moments of distress, or need for relief.

So here is what I propose… self-care to be a way to live in the world. What I mean by this is: validating, trusting, and creating a nonjudgmental dialogue within ourselves. This is not to say that spending time exercising or meditating, as a form of “self-care” is not useful, but rather our approach to “self-care” is not just one activity it is a intentional approach to the way we live our life.

Many of us over extend ourselves in our field. Our effort is to create more impact and influence, and we left drained and burned out. In this state we often find ourselves being more judgmental, critical and negative towards others and ourselves. I have been here many times and it has become a wake up call to how I implement my self-care practice.

It is now about leading with my heart, recognizing my own needs first, and being sensitive to the times of which I feel obligated to overextend. I have to be kind to myself daily. Knowing that as much as I want to support others, I must first support myself in a manner that is kind, loving and generous.

This practice has had a magical influence on my clients. I find more often now my clients are more likely to support themselves around their own needs, rather than seeking me to support them. It has become a fair exchange, to allow space for processing to happen in the collective, but independence in our emotional experience.

We are often so hard on ourselves. It is natural for us to continuously quest to be more, do more, and offer more. The essence of our approach to self-care is to quiet this part of us and support that which we are currently being and doing. There is nothing more to do. I offer you to try this exercise of being generous to yourself everyday. Feeling good about your boundaries and limitations and anticipate the reflection of your client’s ability to do the same. Self-care is available to us at any time, anywhere it is just a matter if we choose to provide it to ourselves or not.

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