Self-Care and Self-Love are concepts that many of you might have heard before. You may even believe that these are one in the same – they both reflect focusing on yourself and monitoring how you treat yourself in terms of caring for and loving unconditionally. But are these two concept really the same thing? Or are they similar concepts that go hand in hand to help you become fully aware of your needs and fulfill them as well.
So, what really is self-care and self-love? Self-care is doing things like taking a bath to relax after a long day – you are doing something to take care of yourself. Self-love, is different that than; self-love is loving yourself emotionally — not just in these concrete ways we tend to associate with self-care. Most of the time, we focus on “loving” ourselves through caring for ourselves in a physical manner such as a massage or meditation, not by truly loving who we are and everything about ourselves. Just imagine the way we criticize ourselves sometimes – whether it is over our body or our smartness etc. You must focus on yourself at some points in your life and put yourself first.
It is hard, and takes practice, to really have self-love, but it can be done. In her article “Self-Care & Self-Love Aren’t The Same. Here’s How To Have Both,” Margaret Paul goes over 5 ways to ensure that your are emotionally loving yourself. The 5 ways are as follows –
- Be present in your body: as an adult, staying in your mind rather than in your body is a form of self-abandonment. You need to be present in your body in order to know what your needs are — to know when you need to attend to your feelings with love and attention.
- Seek spiritual connection: We cannot manage the painful feelings of life (loneliness, heartbreak, grief and so on) alone. We need the help of some greater power to manage these big and very painful feelings with self-compassion. These feelings are often informing us that we are abandoning ourselves rather than loving ourselves, and we need the help of our higher power to do the learning and healing we need to do.
- Take responsibility for your feelings: We are loving ourselves when we move toward our feelings rather than trying to avoid them. Our inner child, the part of us that deeply needs to feel loved, will feel alone, rejected and abandoned when we avoid our feelings rather than compassionately embracing them and opening to learning about what they are telling us.
- Define your own worth:When you learn to see yourself — your essence, your soul self, your inner child — through the eyes of your spiritual guidance, then you can let go of trying to get love and attention to define your worth.
- Take action: Loving yourself means that you take loving action for yourself — physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, financially and organizationally. When you don’t know what loving action to take, you need to open to learning with your higher power simply by sincerely asking, “What is loving to me right now? What is in my highest good right now?” Try it! You might discover that you receive wonderful ideas about loving yourself.
Even though self-care is a more physical form of self-love, rather than emotional, it is still important to have self-care for oneself. Relieving oneself from a long day and taking care of yourself is essential for one to not have burnout or a breakdown. It can be hard to find time, but it is something that you must do in whatever time you have! It seems that when you feel as though you don’t have time for something, this is the time when you need it the most. Ashley Looker wrote an article outlining “20 Ideas To Squeeze In A Little Self-Care, No Matter How Busy You Are” and honestly, these 20 ways are quite simple, fast and easy! She breaks them up into categories based on the amount of time you have- the time ranges from 1 minute to all day, so really you have no excuse not to partake in this daily. See which of the following ways works best for you:
If you have one minute:
- Sit back in your chair and breathe mindfully. Notice how your breath feels and take this time to acknowledge all the great things your body does for you.
- Say a positive affirmation to yourself that really rings true for the exact moment. Allow it to take over your entire body.
- Stand up and stretch, dance or do a rejuvenating yoga posture like your trusty down dog or seated forward fold.
- Write down your favorite part of your day so far.
- Rub your temples.
- Brush your hair. It sounds simple but by brushing your hair you stimulate a ton of acupuncture points which can help calm your mind and encourage blood flow to your noggin.
If you have five minutes:
- Before you jump out to conquer your next to-do while running errands, sit in the front seat of your car and meditate or throw some shades on (to avoid awkward eye contact) and just zone out. Give your overworked brain a break.
- Blast your favorite feel-good song(s)
- Make a green smoothie, because feeding yourself well is always excellent self-care.
- Make that much-needed phone call to your mom (or any positive, inspirational person in your life).
- Find some of your favorite photos on your phone. Forward a few of them to the friends you experienced them with. You’ll smile and so will they!
- Do five minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing to spew all the useless crud that’s been on your mind, but no longer needs your mental attention.
- Write out a self-care plan for tomorrow – it’s always good to plan ahead.
If you have 30 minutes:
- Take a hot bath or shower with some lavender.
- Sprawl out on the couch and open up your favorite book or magazine that has been collecting dust on your coffee table.
- Take a nap.
- Dry brush your entire body, which increase circulation, remove skin impurities, and encourage relaxation.
If you have all day:
- Take a lengthy drive with beautiful scenery with your windows rolled down.
- Tackle that overwhelming task that’s been hanging over your head for months. Eliminating tasks is a great way to open up space for more positive energy in your life
- Plan the day of your dreams! Just indulge in all that 24 hours can offer you!
By trying out one or all of these ways of self-care, you can begin to build the habit of always setting aside much needed and deserved time for yourself. To read the full descriptions of each of the 20 ideas, visit Ashley’s article on MindBodyGreen or click on this link.
Our counselor, Cindy Fabico, is starting her own Self-Care Group/Workshop that will be running January – October of 2015. This class is currently full, however always keep an eye on our website and our workshops page for more information about possible Self-Care Workshops happening in the new year. Cindy is always welcomed to the idea of creating another one later on!
If you believe that you do not have the best self-care or self-love for yourself, speaking to someone may help you develop these. It is always important to be mindful of how you treat and value yourself. Please visit us at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando or call us at 407.355.7378 to schedule a free phone consultation. Our Orlando Licensed Mental Health Counselors for Individual Counseling in Orlando, our Orlando Life Coach or our Orlando Child Counselors, Orlando Adolescent Therapists, and Orlando Teen Counselors would be more than happy to help you figure out what is holding you back from giving yourself the love and care that you deserve.