Almost ten years ago, during my associate degree nursing program, I am sure wellness was discussed, but most of my memory is learning about illness. My nursing school memories are of reading, taking notes, and studying from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed; if I went to bed. The off days were spent deep in the process doing clinical rotations or lab practice/simulations. It was all about memorizing medications, adverse reactions, procedures, medications, disease processes, did I say medications?, and recognizing signs/symptoms of just about everything. I do not remember much in regards to learning about or practicing wellness.
It was not until five years later in which I found my eyes opened to the world of wellness. During my bachelor degree bridge program, we dove much deeper into the world of medicine to find that wellness is its own medicine and often times can prevent or significantly decrease the need for high risk medications, procedures, and surgeries. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, breathing, stretching, moving, music, therapeutic touch, etc can physiologically heal and maintain a healthy body, mind, and, subsequently, soul. This is self-care. From that moment on, I changed the way I looked at my nursing career and the way I lived my own life.
Self-care is nourishment for the mind and body. When the body is nourished, the mind can heal. When the mind is nourished, the body can heal. They go hand in hand. Self-care is taking care of the self in a holistic way that works for that “self.” It is balance, it is coziness, it is feeding our body with goodness and love. Self-care is a warm bath, a snuggle with a pet, a new book, a fun date, a delicious meal, a walk through a garden, a hike up a mountain, a nap on the beach, a new hairdo, a fruit smoothie, a dance in the rain, a coffee as the sun rises, a full night of sleep, sleeping in on weekends, watching a favorite show, planting a seed, watering the seed, a yoga class, a workout, ten minutes of breath work, a morning meditation, a massage, a vacation, a stay-cation, and everything in between.
The first and probably most important part of self-care is granting ourselves permission to care for ourselves. A common theme in my blog posts, is the human tendency to go, do, work, and never settle down. It is important to find a moment, or series of moments, to tell ourselves that it is OK to stop and take time to care for us. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we are going to be limited in our ability to care for others or our world. It is the idea that you cannot drink from an empty cup. Self-care is filling our “cup” with the goodness it needs to then be able to offer others. This is the principle of self-care
Heart-centered meditation is a meditation practice that allows us to practice this principle. Heart-centered practice is about awareness and acceptance of ourselves, loving kindness to all of ourselves, and sharing that awareness, acceptance, and kindness with others. You can read more about this practice in my post about loving kindness: https://omiswherethecalmis.com/loving-kindness/
When we find that permission for ourselves to take time for us, we can begin to put self-care into practice. Self-care is not a one size fits all practice, it is what works for you. It might mean more time for you, it might mean taking more deep breaths, it might mean treating yourself to what brings you joy, it might mean a diet change, it might mean an exercise plan, etc. It is what brings your body and mind health, happiness, joy, comfort, nourishment, and love, all for you. It is different for each person, but healing for everyone.
The next series of blog posts will be highlighting different ways to bring self-care and loving kindness into your own world. I will discuss ways I have implemented self-care into my world including meditation, breath work, nutrition, exercise, yoga, and me time. Until then, may you take a deep breath. Exhale what doesn’t nourish your mind. Now take another breath in. Exhale what doesn’t nourish your body. Now one more deep breath in. Exhale what does not nourish your soul. And now say to yourself “it is OK for me to take care of me.” It is OK to take care of YOU! You deserve every minute of it.
***As always, if you are starting a new self-care routine including but not limited to nutrition/diet, exercise, meditation, etc make sure you check with your physical and mental health providers! ***