The Radical Practicality of Self Care

Perhaps I am a little late to the game… the self-care game that is. Prior to this month, I knew only of sporadic self care at best and was much more familiar with nonstop pushing… pushing of my body, spirit, and mind. Sure long, hard runs were on my to-do list, but only because this was good for my health and training, and not because they were part of a self care regime. Sure I took hot showers, five minutes long, so that I did not grace everyone with the aroma of an unwashed body. Sure I read books… biology textbooks and journal articles, that is.

I have recently come upon the realization that I viewed rest as a luxury and even an extravagance; I measured my worth by my productivity level. I still, in some regard, maintain this skewed viewpoint, but I am grateful to have at least been offered another perspective. In the last month, I was forced to rest and adopt a list of things which I would consider “self care.”  The list did not come easily and I had to convince myself that these self care techniques were worthwhile. Activities which reduced the tight muscles in my chest, things which gave my mind a much-needed rest, things which restored beauty. Watching the sky and sun set into the stars, enjoying a long bath while reading a riveting fiction novel, running for relaxation and not for health, pausing for a game of dominoes, laughing like it was going out of style, reconnecting with friends, learning mindfulness and prayer, and allowing tank tops, shorts, and flip flops to be my wardrobe. These things slowly reminded me of my humanity… that I need beauty and rest. That they are as much an obligation as a job would be and there is no honor in running myself into the ground.

The grace that I feel mandatory to extend to others, I must also extend to myself. Not my forte. Not even close to my forte. And yet, I must do it. I must radically care for myself so that I can love others. Even though it is radical, it is not selfish. It is wise.

What are some of your radical self-care techniques? Please do share!

8 thoughts on “The Radical Practicality of Self Care

  1. Love thus Kate! So true and needed. I sit on my deck when weather permits. Sat mornings when I’m in town are guarded and the week At the beach where I majoraly veg out! Plus my beach motif (audio and visual) in my bed and bath. All help me slow down and take a deep breath. Thx for this reminder!

  2. this is great. I also thinking avoiding really stressful situations, if you’re able. For example, if I was hiking through the woods and there was a sign that said, hey there are pits of snakes that will kill you, I might choose another route. I think I forget that I sometimes have the option of choosing another route. it’s not running away as much as it is keeping myself safe. and sane.
    I also like to watch reruns of FRIENDS because that show is hilarious and it’s super easy for me to escape into TV. just leave reality for a bit, relax, laugh, and chill out. Some people don’t like television for those reasons, but I don’t really care… another self care tip of mine. not being bothered when people judge my self care 😉 for those who don’t know me, that last part was me just being silly, not a jerk…

    • Some really wise words here, Katie… thank you for the reminder to try to set myself for the best possible, least stressful situation. YES! I’m trying to learn about not judging or letting myself care about being judged for necessary self-care. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh yes, my soul. Having a sip or two from the chalice of human kindness myself tonight. A temperate night, a back deck, the fresh air, the stars above. A balm for the burns and scrapes of the world. Our bodies are wiser than we are. They try to tell us what we need, but in our arrogance we believe we know better. Unfortunately if we keep ignoring what our body tells us, it stops talking to us after a while. I have found this out the hard way. Working on communication skills with my body again.

    • Amen… that is so true. I am also working on such communication skills… when we don’t listen to our bodies, we are susceptible to all kind of malaise. I hope that last night was healing for you.

  4. Great reminder! It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in the rush of this society.
    I love to have a relaxed dinner with candles or under the stars, sit out on the back deck with friends and watch the river go by, piddle in my garden at the break of day, throw the ball for my little Prissy, play word games on the iPad with my honey, play cards with mama Dot, have quiet time with a cup of tea, picnics at Arrington when Art 4 Sale is playing…Wow, writing all this down is kinda relaxing too…when I think about my favorite self care stuff the way it feels to care for myself comes in…cool =)

    • Ohhh what a good point, JT! Just thinking about all of the relaxers, has a relaxing effect! I loved hearing your avenues of self-care… what great ideas. Arrington is one of my favorite places to watch the sunset… I think I’m going to make getting out there again a priority! Thanks for your thoughts here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s