What is so radical about self care? And why is an herbalist talking about it?
In my practice as an herbalist and in my life as a mother of young children I see the exhaustion and weariness mothers are pushing through. I see it every day. I myself live it too many days. In part 1 of this series I talked about noticing the signals that your body is sending you. I think I might have got the order of these posts wrong. Why we need self care and how to do it in the most radical way really is step one. So here is it, my take on Radical Self Care.
When I work with women the most common complaint they have is exhaustion. We can't keep up with our lives. We feel all kinds of expectations, both from ourselves and from others. So many of us feel like we are failing all the time. This means much of the work I do in the herbal clinic is about unpacking these expectations and supporting women to shift their focus to self care first and foremost. The rest really does start to take care of itself when we put our own needs first.
This is what makes self care such a radical act. Because it IS a radical act.
It goes against so much of what we usually think. Yet, when we engage in daily acts of self care we discover we have more time, more energy, more to give.
I think we need to turn our priorities on their head. This might seem the complete opposite to many of us but I promise, your life will feel different if you take care of your families needs in this order.
So many of us work in the opposite order. Then find themselves worn out, cranky, and even sick. This helps no one, especially those we thought we were helping the most.
It's called putting on your own oxegyn mask first. You can't be there for your family, friends, employers, or parents if you can't be there for yourself.
Take five minutes this weekend – just five. Write yourself a list of all the things you do for pleasure. Not the things that you do to keep the household running smoothly (though a clean kitchen and folded laundry might feel good to acomplish). Things you wish you had more time for. Those things that when you walk away from there is a smile on your face. Don't stop writing until the page is full. These can be big things (a spa weekend with girlfriends) or small things (a shower, alone, with hot water, and a locked door). Anything you can think of.
This list is your place to start. Some will be easy to do a little every day. Some things will require more planning and time. They are all important.
Next, you need to schedule these things into your days and weeks. Make them a priority. They are just as important as grocery shopping and driving the kids to school. Put them in your calendar and the family calendar. Everyone will be glad you did.
All the supplements and even herbs in the world can not replace Radical Self Care. That's why I'm writing about it. That's why I practice it. That's why it matters.