I know, I know I’m a bit sick of hearing the word “self care” too. Any time a word gets overused, I get so sick of it. It’s such a buzz word that I don’t think a lot of people can really define. Like you can spell it, use it in a sentence, but can’t give an actual definition to it. So today I’ll give a good definition of it, preview the main elements of self care, and give you an assignment! Hey, I am a professor after all!
Defining Self Care
The best definition I’ve ever heard of self care is to build a life you don’t feel the need to escape from (if you know this reference, let me know, I’d love to give credit). That’s a good goal, but it doesn’t give much of a roadmap to get there. Here are the 2 main lanes on the road to building that kind of life:
No, I don’t mean the colon cleansing type (yikes!). I mean evaluating your life to see what is just absolutely toxic in your life? What not only drains you, but is like acid that eats away at the bottom of your bucket so even the good stuff can’t stick around? Could it be your health, fitness, and eating? Is it your parenting or marriage? Is it your job or friends? Is it the amount of screen time and social media you consume? Often times toxic things are good things that we’ve let reign in our lives with no boundaries.
Identifying the toxic elements of your life is the first step to detoxing from them. It may not mean eliminating it entirely. It could mean a hard conversation or making a call to a therapist. Whatever it is for you, fix the sewage that is leaking into your life.
#2: Filling your bucket
Once you minimize or free yourself from the toxic things, you can actually have a whole bucket that can hold the good things you need to put into it. THIS WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH AND EVERY PERSON. And this is where the assignment comes into play!
I asked a few coworkers yesterday about self care, and one of them told me that she’d learned a lot about what self care looks like for her through the Enneagram. Now, I’m moderately familiar with the Enneagram and have used it as a personal development tool for myself and some clients. But when my coworker said this, it immediately sent off a cascade of thoughts in my head about how the Enneagram has helped me both identify toxic thought and behavior patterns, and figure out what is truly restful and energizing to me.
If you are thinking WHAT THE HECK IS AN ENNEAGRAM?!? I would suggest you go to itunes and search Christ Huertz. Here’s my favorite one with him and is a good overview for beginners. It’s the podcast that convinced me to finally see the Enneagram as more than just another personality test. If you want to go deeper, his book Sacred Enneagram is a great way to go deeper into self-development. But there’s enough info on the internet to get you started. Here’s a good site with solid info.
Find out your dominant type and look into the passion of that number as well as the need. This is how I discovered some hidden toxicity in my thinking and approach to some relationships.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line of self care is believing yourself to be worthy of the time and attention it takes to stay healthy mind, body, and spirit. I believe this starts with believing that God make all humans in His image. Therefore, we are all born with inherent dignity and worth. This means you too. Treat yourself with the same dignity and show that you believe that you are an invaluable masterpiece created by God.