I caught some flack for posting this on social media back in May 2019 after I attended a much needed disconnect from my busy life for a silent retreat. What are your thoughts?
The Facebook post in question...
True self care isn't pedicures, facials or retail "therapy"...
AND TRUE SELF CARE ISN'T INDULGENT
I'm writing this post on the heels of having attended a three day silent retreat at Cedars of Peace. I know that silence in the middle of the woods may not be everyone's cup of tea, but parenting four small children and running a business requires me to interact in a much more extraverted capacity than I'm truly comfortable. The silence at Cedar's of Peace fully nourished my introverted nature. I read, slept, walked and ate very simple meals. And it was glorious and I came back a little more refreshed, a little more calm, a little more connected. That felt like true self care. Life can be fast-paced with so many competing priorities. How do you take time to nourish yourself, so that you can show up for yourself and others? Can you carve out some time soon exclusively for self care?
As a person who has struggled immensely with self-care and self-love throughout my entire life, I wrote this post to encourage folks to look beyond the things that may provide temporary comfort to what is truly restorative to their soul. So what's the problem, then? Well, one person argued that self care is self care and each thing I named as not being therapeutic may very well be for many people. He went on to say true self care is individualized and so long as things like shopping or pedicures don’t ruin someone financially, who’s to say they’re not as good? My point was missed, so let me explain a little more.
I'm inviting you to start a conversation, think about or journal on what truly feels restorative to your soul, what enhances your sense of well-being. How can you give yourself time and space for introspection and rejuvenation, so you can bring your best self forward for those that matter most in your life? My concern here is not really whether part of that involves someone trimming your cuticles or you buying yourself something nice. This is an invitation for you to look deeper. Then deeper still. And figure out the ways in which you can love yourself more completely, and as a natural extension of that, love others more.
After nearly 38 years of struggling, these concepts are just sinking in for me. I won't say I'm on the other side of trauma and self-sabotage, but I will confidently say that I am working for it and making so much progress. And I'm not mad at myself for not being on the other side of it yet! There is now a quiet part of myself that I listen to, that reminds me I don't have to prove my worth and beating myself up will never get me any closer to my goals. I'm learning to show myself the compassion I deserve just because I am a human being. And that, folks, feels profound. How have I done it? Slowly. One thing at a time.
- Meditation made me aware of my thought patterns (and the terrible ways I used to speak to myself.) Awareness brought the opportunity to try something different.
- Journaling is another way I became more connected to my own interior. Writing can be therapeutic if you set the intention for it to be.
- I've learned that willpower doesn't work for anyone. And I learned ways to really make progress without white-knuckling it all the time. I'm working with the way I'm wired rather than against it, and that feels really loving toward myself.
- I give myself permission to fail and mess up! If I'm not failing (figuring out the things that don't work), then I'm definitely not any closer to figuring out the thing that do work.
- When nothing else works and I can't seem to muster an ounce of compassion or love for myself, I remember myself as a child, and I remember how much I really do deserve love and kindness.
These are just a few things in my "toolbox" for coping with life, change, and stress. They help me to feel more balanced even in the midst of hard times, to see myself as just a human being like anyone else, and drop the need to hold myself to impossible standards then berate myself when I'm not living up to them.
I've never gained insight like that while getting a pedicure or going on a shopping spree, so I'll stand by the idea that true self care isn't pedicures, facials or retail "therapy" and true self-care isn't indulgent. Always look deeper, that's where the answers are.
All the best,
|Jessica Hill Powell, NBC-HWC, RYT-200|
Founder + Health Coach at Meridian Integrative Wellness