The discourse around self-care truly has become somewhat of a phenomenon in our culture! So many have so much to share about the importance, relevance and essential nature of true self-care, and as well they should. Dismantling the cultural norms, misconceptions and limiting beliefs that keep us, especially women, from prioritizing our self-care is important not just for ourselves, but for who we are and how we show up in the world for ourselves, our loved ones and the issues and ideals we care so deeply about. As a committed advocate for women’s self-care, I am proud to be part of the global self-care conversation to help redefine, reclaim and re-order ourselves and our lives in ways that honor, promote and enliven self-care and self-care practice as an essential part of how we live; the life goals, expectations and standards we set for ourselves; how we engage with one another; and how we impact our world.
My recent interview with the United Kingdom’s Leanne Lindsey, of LL Coaching by Leanne Lindsey – Career and Life Coaching for Women, was featured yesterday as the Self-Care Sunday Interview. In this interview, I share with Leanne my thoughts about why I believe self-care is not only important but essential, especially for women; what a self-care practice can look like; how to make self-care a part of your daily routine; overcoming challenges to self-care; self-care misconceptions and the need to redefine/reclaim for ourselves what true self-care really is; and a little self-care poetic inspiration!
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SELF-CARE AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU:
“I define self-care in the following manner: “Self-care IS Self-love IS Essential.” And what I mean by that is that taking care of ourselves, prioritizing our own needs, ensuring that we are not only beneficiaries of the talents and gifts we readily share with others but that we are at the center of receiving those very talents and gifts we readily offer to others, is a vital form of self-love that is essential to our lives. …“
WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT, PARTICULARLY FOR WOMEN?
“…Because women have been socialized for millenia to serve everyone but themselves. Women have been socialized to put everyone’s needs before their own. Women have been socialized to value self-sacrifice and martyrdom as noble virtues or personal values that we should always choose in favor of even if that means denying ourselves, at best; or allowing parts or all of us to die, at worst. I mean we’ve been so well socialized in that manner that the idea of sacrificing, even martyring, the very thing we offer in service to others (i.e., ourselves) doesn’t seem to register with most folks as the utterly ridiculous and nonsensical idea that it is — not until we take a moment to really think about it. …“
HOW DO YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
“My daily self-care practice includes: prayer and meditation in the morning before getting my day started; journaling – usually in the evening to close-out my day; spending time in nature – walking/hiking through parks and trails on a regular basis – not just for the exercise but for breathing, for air, for the calm and peace, and for all that being alone with/in nature has to teach me about myself and my life; a practice I call ‘solituding’ – spending time alone with myself, my thoughts, my ideas, etc.,in ways that allow me to deepen my knowledge of and trust in myself. …“
WHAT PART OF YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? AND IS THERE ONE VITAL TO YOU EVEN WHEN YOU ARE HAVING THE WORST DAY?
“…I have come to have a deep spiritual relationship and need for being in nature. On good days, it’s like I’m being called to commune and share with nature the joy I am feeling simply by being with Her in Her space. Being alone in nature inspires my writing, my coaching, my sense of wellness/well-being, healing as well as new ideas for who and how I want to be in the world and the experiences I want to have. The clarity I get from being alone in nature only deepens and expands the physical benefits of that tool for self-care. When I am having a particularly bad day, taking time to get into nature – away from everything – offers the time, space, healing and clarity I need to manage the challenge I may be facing in the healthiest way that best serves me. …“
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SELF-CARE?
“...I think people don’t realize that self-care is about internal work; it’s about paradigm shifts and releasing limiting beliefs that don’t serve you; it’s about allowing more time and space for you in your own life. And another misconception about self-care is that it only serves that person practicing the self-care, when in reality self-care is the cornerstone of effectively serving others – the family, communities and issues we love and care about. …“
WHAT TIPS, RESOURCES OR ADVICE CAN YOU SHARE FOR ANYONE STRUGGLING WITH SELF-CARE?
“To begin any self-care practice we have to develop a new understanding and relationship with the whole notion of self-care. We have to redefine what self-care means to us, embrace that definition and give ourselves the permission (which is the only permission we ever really need) to live that definition in and through our lives. … We must reclaim the value of ourselves, and our lives, to ourselves first and foremost. Once we value who we are to ourselves, then we are in a better position to recognize that what we do with our lives, matters. … Once we establish a sense of unconditional love and value of ourselves to ourselves in and of ourselves, we set the stage not only for redefining what self-care means to us but recreating a new, healthy and loving relationship with self-care and self-care practice in our lives.“
MULE NO MORE (Black Woman Free)
© Judy M. Ford
This Black woman
is no longer
“de mule of de world.”
My care is finally free
who I choose
to be a unicorn;
made of solid black gold.
No one rides my back.
I travel light across the rainbow;
leaving a trail of glitter behind.
See my magic?
Watch me fly!
Who will I be tomorrow?
Maybe I’ll let you know.
Ultimately, I’ll make the choice.
Because, ultimately, I choose me.
This Black woman
is no longer
“de mule of de world.”
My care is forever free
who I choose
And I choose to be
I choose me today.
I choose me tomorrow.
I choose me first.
I choose me always.
Mule no more,
made of solid black gold,
will always be