3 Levels of Self-Care
This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you. For real. This is gonna sting. But we need to hear it. Over and over. To infinity and beyond.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re causing problems for your future self and your kids.
There. I said it. I meant. I don’t regret it. It’s the hard truth that parents are CONSTANTLY struggling to face. Take that times a thousand if you have a kiddo (or more) who is struggling with something, regardless of how that “something” compares to other kids’ “something.” (REMINDER: Don’t compare. Comparison is the thief of joy and the killer of gratitude)
Let me break this down mechanically for you a bit. Even if you only agree with half of this and only execute half of that, you’ll be SO much better off for it.
You have three parts that need care: Your body, your soul, and your spirit. Now, I realize that you don’t have tons of time just laying around waiting for you to take a hot bath. If you do, I’m super jealous. If you’re like me, you’ve gotta prioritize. It’s just reality. Something you think is important is just gonna have to get less time or be postponed until a later date. You’ll have to really think about it. Sometimes church or school obligations tend to take priority and we just have to do some closet-cleaning on that.
I’m not here to preach a sermon at ya’. I’m just telling you, if you’re avoiding or neglecting your spiritual self, you are missing out on a major lifehack. Here’s why. When you spend even 5 minutes in a meditative state with the intention of engaging your spirit, the soul and body will AUTOMATICALLY respond. That’s just how it works. I didn’t make the rules. Pick an app and a quiet place and just start practicing.
Soul is more complex because it’s got several components. The easiest way to understand the soul is “mind, will, and emotions”.
One great thing you can do to care for your mind without stopping everything would be to listen to classical music. I’m listening to the “classical for spring” playlist on YouTube Music as I write this and it’s wonderful. I’m relaxed and feeling jubilant, exuberant, maybe even triumphant. (Yes, I’m a nerd).
Also, read books that plant good seeds in your psyche. Fiction is fine, but that’s not going to really cultivate much in your future self. Just being honest. What you consume in your mind will show up in your life months down the road.
“Will” is fairly complex, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it your intention. Take 5 minutes a day and write down what you are aiming for in the next 6 months, 5 years, 90 days. What do you WANT? Not for your husband/wife, not for your kids… for YOU. It’s very important to have a target you know you’re aiming for. It might take you months to fully form it, but putting even 5 minutes a day into that will unlock the world inside you. This is self care, even if you don’t feel it right away.
Emotions are ridiculous. They are very important and very loud and very annoying and very useful and hard to manage and they make me eat yummy things when I feel sadz. Not as much now because I started doing self-care on this. Emotional regulation is CRAZY important. There are hundreds of books on the subject. Wild and unruly emotions can destroy a person. Managed emotions will unlock your highest potential. It’s that black-and-white. Caring for yourself here is tied to body and mind. What you eat, how much you exercise, what you consume mentally, and what you let yourself think about all play major roles in this category. A VERY simple tool is breathwork. You don’t even need to meditate. Just download an app and do some breathing techniques and learn to put them to use when you feel your emotions getting high. This can and will make a HUGE difference in your ability to calm the waves of your emotional ocean.
Physical self-discipline IS self-care. Hot baths are self-care. Going to the spa is self-care. Going to the gym is self-care. Doing yoga is self-care. Stretching is self-care. Eating meat and vegetables and getting rid of all the frickin’ deliciousness you hide from your kids is self-care. When you care for your body, short- and long-term, you will change your emotions, your thoughts, and ultimately you will change your trajectory. It’s inevitable. Eating right and exercise is a MAJOR lifehack. Don’t believe me? Try it for 3 months. If you feel worse, I’ll personally buy you your favorite crapfood and hand-deliver it.
If you figured out how to do just 20 minutes of body, 5 minutes of mind, 5 minutes of emotional, 5 minutes of intention/will, and 5 minutes of spirit, 3 days a week, you would be investing 2 hours a week into your future self and it will naturally amplify itself.
Your kids will notice too. They will see you taking care of yourself and something inside them will start to click, like a clock ticking. They have a discpline-ometer. They really, really, want to have self-discipline and they will begin to mirror you eventually. But don’t let that be the goal. The goal is SELF care. It’s not self-ISH. It’s wise. It’s right. It’s good. It’s truth.
The “you” that you see in the proverbial “mirror” will change gradually and you will begin to see yourself and others through a slightly different lens. So until next time, take care of yourself. And each other. Oh my god I just quoted Jerry Springer.
What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself? We’re always looking for new ways to show ourselves some love/care. Let us know in the comments!