Self Care 101
Updated: Aug 22
I resisted Self Care when I began my journey with The Six Intimacy Skills. Self Care is the first skill and foundation for this proven practice but… I knew better. If I just checked all the boxes on my list for the day, then I would have time for myself. I was literally on the bottom of my To Do list. I was my very last priority.
I’ve heard time and time again that Self Care means putting my oxygen mask on first. This felt counterintuitive. Instinctively I will help whoever is sitting next to me on the plane first. This is where I needed an intervention of sorts. My coach gave me a new pair of “perspecticles.” What if I put on my mask first, stabilized myself and then maybe I could do more. If I were my first priority, I could be capable of showing up calm, present and more confident.
Before I received coaching, I lived in a state of overwhelm and panic. All the lights had to be green to accomplish my daily tasks. In the bad old days my husband would come home from work to a depleted, grumpy, nagging wife. No wonder he would idle in the driveway for ten minutes or linger in his workshop drinking Modelos before taking the plunge into our house. I was miserable! BUT, the house was clean, the kids were bathed and in their PJs, and dinner was made. I did my job. Gold star for me, right?
Another time I was procrastinating the tiresome task of moving our twins' infant car seats from one truck to another. Within minutes of attempting to unlatch the seats I hit a snag. I couldn’t reach that one crazy over the top of both the car seat and the truck seat anchor. I totally lost it! I exploded! Of course my neighbor was walking his goldendoodle right when I kicked the truck’s tire and screamed a string of four letter expletives. Busted! Ughhhh! My lack of Self Care was affecting how I showed up EVERYWHERE!
What I found through coaching is that I am responsible for my happiness. When I put myself first on the list I show up calm, relaxed and I have a higher tolerance level for whatever life throws at me. I have patience and understanding. I am more logical. It was scary to dive into Self Care because I lost myself for a few years. I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what made me happy anymore. With nothing to lose I made a list of 20 ideas for Self Care. I experimented with the list asking myself in the moment “How do I feel? What do I want?”
When grocery shopping on our family's Spring Break I bought yummy “vacation creamer” for my coffee. I tested flavors like coconut, pumpkin spice, and vanilla almond. I found myself looking forward to my coffee the minute I woke up and I wanted this to be part of my daily routine not just a special treat while visiting the Gulf Coast. Forget the whole denying myself of something so simple.
I was walking outside in shorts one breezy afternoon when I felt the terrible, patchy job I did shaving my legs. I did the rushed above the ankle and below the knee shaving technique. The wind was blowing through my half shaved legs. Yuck! I feel sexy and feminine when my legs are shaved thoughtfully. I was using my husband's rusty razor and my dove soap for shave cream. I took action buying my own razor, shave cream and body lotion. It’s so satisfying to take an extra ten minutes in the bathroom to truly take care of myself.
I booked a mani/pedi with a girlfriend. Something felt off on this occasion. I enjoyed my friend’s company but I was not loving the mani/pedi. When I asked myself, “How do I feel? What do I want?” It was obvious I was more excited about the massage chair than the mani/pedi. I followed my desire and indulged in a sixty minute deep tissue massage. Now that is Self Care I can get behind. WOW!
When I resisted Self Care I was incapable of showing up as the lighthearted playful mom and wife I know I can be. I also hit speedbumps attempting the five other intimacy skills becasue my oxygen mask was not firmly in place. It felt like such a stretch to put myself first, but as a result of practicing at least 3 Self Care items per day I have become accountable for my own happiness. How empowering! My husband now chooses to work from home and seeks me out constantly. No more lingering in the driveway. My kids feel secure and excited adventuring with me. My prickly porcupine exterior has deteriorated and I am now softer and more gentle with my relationships including with myself. I am capable of sharing my light rather than conserving it for fear I will totally burn out.
BENEFITS OF SELF CARE
-Gives you reserves to be calm and pleasant
-Erases desperation, making you more attractive and magnetic
-Makes life more enjoyable!
-Achieves happiness! Essential for every fun, playful, successful relationship
-Teaches others how you want to be treated
So, what fills your Self Care tank?