Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why and what actually is it?
The words, ‘self care’ have been bandied about in newspapers and on social media. They are the new buzz words. Take care of yourself, put yourself first, be more gentle with yourself, eat more healthily, exercise more, do more meditation.
I’m not undermining the importance of these actions. Any form of self care is beneficial. However it needs to be more than the occasional outing for a massage or reflexology treatment. It needs to be more than the ‘walk around the block’ or the odd smoothie.
Self care needs to be a concerted effort to put yourself first. All the time. This is where extreme self care comes in. It means loving yourself enough so that the actions you take and the decisions you make on a daily basis reflect this self love.
It means having strong boundaries and only saying ‘Yes’ to what you really want and need. It means listening to your body and what he/she is telling you. It means not trying to push through when all your body wants is rest.
You may think it is selfish to put yourself first all the time. This is what we were taught as children. We need to give to others first, put other’s needs before our own. We need to give, give and give until you have no more to give, then give some more. We give out of obligation and we give out of guilt. We give because we feel it is expected of us.
How many of us end up burnt out, exhausted, defeated and resentful? We are perpetuating a myth. Trying to live up to an impossible image of perfection. This was my story too. So much of my self worth was based on my achievements, helping others, being the ‘good girl’, aiming for perfectionism. As author, Cheryl Richardson says, “So many of us, especially women, have taken on this ‘noble’ role. What we don’t realise, until it’s too late, is the high price for being ‘generous.”
Ending up exhausted and always fatigued, made me realise that my life had to change. Extreme self care was warranted.
Do you practise Extreme Self Care or is this your story too? If so, how can you start implementing more extreme measures? How can you start putting yourself first? By learning to love and accept yourself. All of you. Your perfections and imperfections. We all have them and it’s time to accept ourselves as we are. No more comparing ourselves with others. We are all different. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us. Embrace them.
Accept where you are at. We all start this journey at different points. Sometimes it is easy to make changes and sometimes it is really hard, but make a start. It may feel uncomfortable putting yourself first. You may fear the judgement and criticism of others. You may feel guilty. But do it anyway. It will get easier.
Know too, that the more you do for yourself, the more energy you will have to give to others. The more you start to care for yourself, the greater your ability to make choices from a place of love and compassion. The more you demonstrate extreme self care, the more you will inspire others to do the same.
So start small so that it feels doable. Start with some simple self care. Drink more water, every day. Go to bed earlier. Start adding more vegetables to your meals. Look after your health, so go for those overdue dental check ups or eye checks. See your GP when needed. Don’t put your health in the “do later” basket.
Start asking for help. It may not be done the way you would do it, but that’s okay. You don’t have to do it all! If you are invited out socially or asked to help out, don’t say ‘Yes’ straight away. Say you will get back to them. Then think about it and decide whether it is something you really want to do or have the energy for.
Begin saying Yes to more fun, more creativity, more ‘me’ time, on a daily basis. Book in your regular reflexology or self care practices. Set limits on your availability. The more you respect your time, the more you allow others to do the same. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just sitting in the sun every day or going for a walk.
Do more of what lights you up. Give more to yourself. Do things that fill your soul. As you start to finally listen to your own needs you will begin to feel more fulfilled and happier in your life. You will then be able to give to others from a space of true giving. No guilt. No obligation. Just a place of appreciation and connection with those around you.
Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, perhaps it’s time to start. It’s never too late.
With warmest wishes,
References: The Art of Extreme Self-Care By Cheryl Richardson, Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.