In 2001, I went on my first yoga retreat. It was only a weekend in Connecticut, not a week in an exotic destination, but it changed me forever. It showed me that I could really relax, learn new things, deepen my yoga practice, but most of all experience a unique experience with like-people who were also there to find respite from the usual busyness and possibly some clarity on life.
Self-care is a practice of paying attention to what you are doing and how you are being in life. It is taking care of yourself by attending to the wellness of your body, mind, and spirit. At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self. It is understanding what you need to be your most constructive, effective, and authentic self. I believe it is essential to living healthy, wholeheartedly, and happy.
Immediately when I moved to the Berkshire Mountains in Western Mass. last Spring I felt a change in my being. At first I couldn’t tell what it was. I wondered if it was just the stress subsiding from a challenging move, feeling more secure as I got my feet on the ground in a new job, or just the excitement of meeting new people and being in a new place. After a few months in this inquiry, I realized what it was. My physical, mental, and spiritual Self was being renewed, rejuvenated, and healed by the beautiful nature right out side my window!
Are you someone who says “I’m not a morning person"“? Well, you could be a morning person if you choose to be. I’m the first person to admit that I love to sleep in but I have learned that there are so many benefits of waking up early (yes, I mean with the sunrise) and starting my day at this time never fails to be a little bit magical.
Do you feel guilty when you focus on self-care? When you actually put your needs in front of others? I used to for a long time and even when I heard the comparison of putting our oxogen mask on first while in a plane before others, I still didn’t put myself first. Until I had twins as a single mother.
An important part of self-care is setting boundaries. A self-care practice includes arranging your life to support your needs and to increase your happiness. One of my favorite exercises that I learned from Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self-Care is about creating your Absolute No List.