Staying away from toxic people and situations is an extremely important element of self-care. Coming into contact with people who treat others negatively and even cruelly, often the best response is simply to get out of harm’s way.
Among the key delivery systems for toxicity are projections which are usually given in the form of “You are . . .”
How aware are you of projections – either giving them or receiving them? We learn projecting at an early age; and the effects can be debilitating. Taking care of yourself means watching for and refusing to accept projections.
Think. Is there anyone in your life who projects toxic thoughts onto you? Projecting is not the same as expressing feelings, although the two seem almost identical. When projecting, one is asserting what is true for another; and, if done in a damaging way, the results can be very difficult to deal with.
Self-care is ultimately about loving yourself. It’s thinking enough of your own body – your being – to be attentive to ways that you can nurture and healthily soothe yourself.
Our culture gives us very mixed messages about our lovability. Much of marketing is designed to convince us that we’ll only be lovable – only be enough – to the degree that we consume the things that advertisers want us to consume. We’re graded and judged and categorized almost constantly.
Without the self-care of actively loving ourselves, sometimes it’s been easy for us to forget to do things that are good for us and that we enjoy.
Play, for example, is a profound form of self-love. How playful are you? How able are you to be relaxed and fun with friends, family, colleagues? What are the primary influences on your attitudes toward play? Can you see how being playful is loving yourself by setting down your burdens while you’re playing?
How can you actively cultivate the habit of loving yourself? Who can support you in this self-care? Are you willing to experiment and see what kind of positive difference loving yourself as a form of self-care can make?
How is your self-care reflected in your environment? Is it cluttered and filled with stacks of things that you can’t discard? Or is your space clear and free of distraction? Many believe that our outer worlds reflect our inner worlds. One of my best friends refers to unmanaged stacks of papers and things as “piles of unconsciousness,” and I think he’s right.
Do you find that you can’t find things or that your forward progress has been hindered by too much stuff? Excellent self-care would indicate taking care of this, perhaps by hiring an experienced professional organizer.
Take a moment to assess your level of organization and how it correlates to self-care. Taking care of yourself is not limited to yoga, massage, flossing and the like. How you manage your time and the materials in your life are equally important self-care components.
Feeding your soul is perhaps the most profound form of self-care. The ways are almost infinite: the challenge is in making the time to do it.
Ask yourself daily – and perhaps several times daily – “Where is the joy now? How do I access it? What brings me joy?” Often, being playful and open with others brings out the kid in us and we’re able to find joy more easily – and joy feeds our souls.
What feeds your soul? Music, family, nature, service, intimacy, art, laughter, growth, prayer, cuddling, friendship, animals, the ocean, poetry, the expansive night sky?
Care for yourself enough to remember to make time to feed your soul in the variety of ways that work for you. If you’re so inclined, please log on and let us know your favorites.
Self-care: your practices and habits relating to how well or how poorly you attend to your own health and well-being.
How would you rate yourself on self-care on a scale of 100? Where have you had the most difficulty in the past in self-care?
Consider, for example, the topic of sleep: how attentive are you to getting a solid, high-quality night’s sleep? Do you monitor the foods that you eat in the evening to make sure that nothing you eat will interfere with great sleep? Do you cultivate a habit of going to bed approximately the same time each night to maintain consistent sleep cycles?
In the category of flexibility, do you have any sort of regular program or practice that keeps you limber? Yoga, stretching, bodywork, physical therapy? How often do you interrupt working at your computer to stretch your limbs?
As we consider self-care this week, please be mindful about what areas of self-care would produce the greatest amount of improvement for you. Develop a higher awareness about opportunities for self-care and please consider discussing them with our group on the Study Hall Blog for feedback and community.