Self care may be a buzzword today, but it hasn’t always been. Even concepts of “the self” are relatively young to public understanding. So how do we capitalize on today’s understanding of the self and practice self care in a way that will have the greatest impact?
According to author Caroline Myss, “the self” that we talk about today is an idea that emerged in the nuclear age. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that psychology and psychoanalysis became commonplace ways of thinking about people and their behavior. In turn, the rich inner-life that we all experience became just as real as our outer-world.
This new way of thinking about “the self” ushered in the birth of self-care. Until the 1950’s people didn’t talk about self-care. They didn’t think about balancing their everyday life demands with things that foster their well-being. Fast forward to today, and self-care is a multi-billion dollar industry and an everyday conversation.
I think that the conversation about self-care leaves out one major thing: and that’s inspiration. Inspiration is more than just happening upon a clever idea. It expresses our creativity and forges a path to real change in ourselves and in our world. When you’re inspired, you feel alive!
So how do we move beyond the self care suggestions to eat healthier and exercise more (good suggestions!) and learn more inspired ways to feed our spirit and nurture our soul? Get creative, and get in touch with YOU.
Feeding your soul is self-care. Self-care is all about honoring and caring for yourself in ways that matter most. When you’re able to practice inspired self-care your life becomes less of one huge to-do list and more of a field of abundant meaning and joy.
So take a look at the ways that you feel most enriched, and then put some real time and creative energy into creating some inspired self care practices for yourself. To get you started, here are 4 easy, rich, and deep ways YOU can bring more inspired self-care into your life.
Write a poem about someone you care for.
Inspiration is within reach most of the time. So, cozy up to your inner-bard and write a poem about your partner, your child, or a good friend. See if you can capture what you love about them in this expressive form. If you brainstorm adjectives, qualities, or feelings you associate with this person, you’ll quickly create phrases that inspire you.
Notice the tiny, beautiful details and riff on them.
Say you’re sitting at home or taking a walk through your neighborhood. Look around you, and free associate with what you see. For example, if you see thin blades of long grass growing by a wall, maybe they remind you of a time when you saw a piece of beautiful graffiti on a wall with grass just like that. Perhaps the grass near the wall reminds you of the eerie beauty and loneliness of neglected things. Let yourself wander into your thoughts. You’ll be amazed where you wind up!
Create the most luxurious and perfect experience, FOR YOU.
If your version of self-care is to take a bath, a walk in the woods, or get a massage, then it’s time to take it up a notch. Make a decadent, fantastic, and — yes — inspired experience for YOURSELF. Try new things. Mix and match your experience. Take a bubble bath with candlelight, wine, chocolate, the smell of jasmine, and opera music. Or, walk in the woods bundled in soft fabrics singing a song to yourself and noticing how the light hits things.
Give an impromptu gift that will make someone’s day.
Tap into your inspiration and find something – or make something – that will let another person know how special they are to you. When you think about bringing pleasure to someone else’s life, you naturally think creatively and playfully about what’s in the world and how to use it. And even better, when you give a gift your heart opens up and you feel satisfied on a deeper level.
It’s too easy to let days slip by while we’re distracted from what matters most. So challenge yourself to spend an hour each week doing one of these activities. It won’t take long before you’ll feel more inspired and your spirit will feel more nourished. Help remind yourself by printing out this list of ideas!