Sometimes I feel like a broken record, constantly advocating the benefits of self-care and how this practice has transformed my life over the last 15 years.
But this past week confirmed for me that this message is one we all need to hear, again and again.
I recently led a workshop for entrepreneurs at all life stages on how to work less and experience more. Toward the end of the seminar, after covering a lot of essential ground related to running a small business, I touched on the importance of self-care. And this was where the most lively, passionate, emotional dialogue erupted.
Everyone seemed to grasp that self-care—cultivating an awareness for and responding to their physical/emotional/spiritual/mental needs—was fundamental to their well-being. And they understood intellectually that they couldn’t build a business—much less function—when they were exhausted, harried, out of synch with themselves, and running on empty.
But, were they ready to change their behavior and mindset to be more compassionate, nurturing, and responsive to their deepest needs and desires?
My aha moment and initial motivation to learn more about self-care came after having my son and realizing how vital it was for me to teach him to honor and nurture himself—something my sweet mother, who battled depression most of her life, was never able to teach me.
What will it take for you to make this shift? Consider the following gifts that arise from self-care.
When we renew ourselves by attuning and responding to our needs,
- We feel more generous and can avoid building resentment toward others who demand our energy and time
- We naturally feel more loving, which makes us better friends, partners, and parents, and more enjoyable to be around
- We validate and honor our own worth, which naturally enhances confidence and self-esteem, and lowers susceptibility to depression and anxiety
- We feel more alive and whole; we’re able to function at our best and do more of the things we want to do
- We renew and restore our energy supply and create energy reserves so we’re able to weather unforeseen challenges more easily
- We’re more present and calm; we can respond wisely, intuitively, and effectively to a variety of circumstances
- We begin to step into our personal power (and more fully express our potential), which is our birthright
- We feel good on the inside, which leads to looking good on the outside. Nurturing your essence—inside and out—promotes well-being and vitality.
A 30-Day Self-Care Challenge
I invite you, for the next 30 days, to begin to become aware of how you’re feeling and what you need. Try a quick body scan before you even step out of bed in the morning. Just lie there for a moment and check in with your physical and emotional health. Are you overscheduled; do you need to lighten your load? Do you need to move your body or spend more time in nature? Are you dehydrated or eating something that’s not enhancing your energy level? Do you need to say “no” to something or ask for help? Do you need to build in a day or evening to just rest? (A radical concept, I know!)
I’ve been focusing on self-nurturance for a long time and teach it daily, yet I still have a long way to go. But, hands down, this has been the most life-changing spiritual practice I have ever embraced. The gifts that come from cultivating more compassion and love for myself continue to greet me daily. The more accepting I am with myself, the more accepting I am of everyone and everything around me.
Renée Peterson Trudeau has been creating and facilitating transformational retreats for women for more than 20 years. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.