Why Self-Care Is Not Optional—It’s Crucial
Raise your hands, how many of you put your kids', family’s, or partner's needs before your own? Keep the hands up. And how many of you put your job as the next priority? Next in line might be activities like volunteering at school or taking care of your community, all while you sit quietly on the wee bottom of the list, hoping that if you do "enough" you'll get your turn. Any of that sound familiar?
I feel you! Most likely we do all these things, not because we have to, but because we want to be involved, contribute, and we love to serve! Am I right?
These are all lovely intentions, but I'm going to say something crazy. It's time to put our self-care at the tippy top of that list. Why? Because:
- Nobody is going to do it for us.
- If we are not strong, energized, healthy, and happy, we will be of NO service to anybody else.
If this doesn't resonate yet, then check this out. Ayurveda's focus is prevention as we strive to eat the right things, think the right things, and do the right things at the right time, according to our Ayurvedic constitution (take this short dosha quiz to learn your constitution and current state of balance). So we're all practicing the best we can, but do you know the root of why we do all these things?
Because prevention is important for longevity. And...wait for it...longevity is important so that we can live our dharma (purpose). That's it. That's why we live. Dharma. Period. All this striving to be healthy and live a good long life is ultimately so that we can live our dharma and serve in some way.
“According to this definition, we can say that the dharma of every living being is 'to serve' because there is no living being who is not serving someone knowingly or unknowingly.”— Astanga Hrdayam by Sanjay Pisharodi AH Su 1.2
The goal is not to give everything of ourselves away to everybody else so that we are left a tired, sloggy, irritated, burnt out mess. Nope. Because then we bring crummy energy, lack of presence, and even resentment to those things that should be full of love and joy! We might even be too sick or tired to show up. And that's not living!
So right now, we are going to vow to put self-care first. Sit up straight, lift your pretty chin, put your hand on your heart and say:
“From this day forward, before I do anything else, I will take care of ME. Because I deserve it. I work hard. I am already enough. I love me! Every day I will take at least fifteen minutes to move my body. I will consciously breathe for ten minutes. I will drink enough water. I will calm my mind with meditation for ten minutes. I will choose to eat the best foods I can find. I will give myself ten minutes before bed to reflect on the day and give thanks. And I will do these things daily so I can serve. It is essential that I take care of me. I love me. Thank you for me.”
Now, did that resonate in your bones? I hope it brought a goose bump or a tear. If it did, we touched on something awesome. Most people don't focus on their self-care until they are already sick, so it's your job to get ahead of the game so you can keep serving and loving this life!
Here are some ideas to help you get started. Begin by choosing just one or two things to do this week, no more. Slowly we make the changes.
- Drink warm water upon rising
- Clean your tongue
- Give yourself an oil massage
- Practice a few yoga poses
- Take a walk in nature
- Cook a delicious meal
- Journal—review your day and note what you’re grateful for
- Massage your feet before bedtime
Never forget that we are here for a reason. We have a greater purpose, and for that reason, it's imperative to take care of ourselves first. Comment below on what you're excited to get started on today!