Let's start with some honesty: I have a hate-hate relationship with the phrase “self-care” (or even worse “self-love”). I am completely resistant to it. Not because I think we shouldn't take care of ourselves, but because it sounds so…selfish. And self-centered. And terribly, awfully, horrendously self-indulgent.
And I gotta admit, up until last year, I secretly believed the act of self-care was all those self-involved things too. Oh, and lazy. I thought of my brain (& heart) to be the important thing. I took care of my brain through lots of reading, writing and long deep conversations. I took care of my heart with friends and family and my sweet marriage.
But bodily self-care was just…not something that seemed necessary or important. I didn't really know how to start.
But that changed.
As I shared here, I had a pretty awful moment of truth last January. Something about that experience woke me up and all of a sudden, I was open to paying attention to my physical home, that thing that was carrying around my big brain all these years, my body.
I noticed I never ate when I was hungry, preferring to keep working through the signs. (Not in some desire to be thin, but because I truly didn't pay attention.) I noticed that I felt actually, measurably better when I moved around and pushed myself. I noticed that I loved feeling physically strong.
As an explorer, I paid attention to what I noticed. I used it to shape my decisions, my day, my actions.
And all of this, somehow, led me to actually take care of my self. It's not a big deal and it's not something I label “self-care”…but it's there now – in eating breakfast, in running, in buying clothes that fit, in breathing deep.
The best part: this shift, into paying more attention (instead of ignoring) spreads to other areas: I have an easier job paying attention to what works in my business. I have the energy to write longer. I don't become fried at 2pm everyday (and when I do, I trust myself to take a break.)
By reframing “self-care” into an act of exploration, I shifted my relationship to my body and to my brain (and to food, clothes, other women, my role in relationships, my business, my finances…the list is endless because changing one thing changes everything.)
To start your own exploration: Pay attention, and then work with what's working. That's it. It's not about being luxurious or indulgent or fancy (although you certainly can be), it's about noticing + shifting, in tiny ways, until things feel a little better.
You can use this exploration method to take care of your self, your business, your kids. You can use it to change your life, your business, or your eating habits. (You can learn more about how to be an explorer in my free e-course here.)
This post is part of the Unencumbered Sharing Circle, a gathering of honest first-hand stories about self-loathing, self-love, and the journey between the two. Read more stories, and share your own, right here.