“It's not your job to like me. It's mine.”
  —Byron Katie

self-care: why do it

Self-care is the practice of sufficiently prioritizing what helps you feel well.  You will best decide what your most helpful self-care activities are.  Nor are they written in stone.  If sustained devotion to one particular self-care activity is rewarding for you, stick with it.  If you develop an appetite for something else along the way, try it out.  If you like to rotate among multiple activities, go for it.  There are no rules when it comes to self-care other than try not to mislead  yourself this way:  if your chosen activity is causing you more harm than good, it may not be self-care.

There are many reasons to practice self-care.  One of them is that regular participation in activities that make you feel well has a cumulative effect.  Over time, repeatedly feeling well in small doses can make you feel well on a regular basis.  Through consistent self-care you therefore gain the benefit of sustained access to well-being.   You might discover you are more at ease more often than you used to be and that your resilience to stress is going up, up, up.  Regular self-care has the wonderful influence of boosting your overall perspective in life.

Regular self-care also spreads benefits into your outer world, such as your home, your job, your closest relationships, your community.  Imagine each time you do self-care as a glistening drop of nourishing water, falling like rain onto a tranquil pond.  That drop is not only refreshing in itself.  It likewise sends pleasing ripples in all directions so that the images on the surface of the pond gently dance.  They respond harmoniously to the arrival of that rain drop, as will the many important parts of your life once your self-care clearly feeds you.  When you do the things that make you a better person, you improve the world.

There is also great motivation in considering the opposite, especially given its painful familiarity for many people when they disregard self-care.  What typically happens at those times?  You lose much more than the personal benefits of taking better care of yourself.  Eventually, a sneaky sourness sets in.  Typically that feeling lapses into increasing negativity.  Maybe it deepens into resentment.  Then resentment becomes a hard shell of cynicism.  The slippery slope into bitterness about life is slippery from lack of self-care.  Remember that toxic connection and let a wise wish to overcome it support your commitment to yourself.

Also, let this website support your commitment.  The other links in this section offer a few ideas for practicing self-care.  They are a starting point, not a final destination.  They serve as a whetstone for sharpening your unique understanding of how self-care works best for you and how you can arrange it in your life.   If you see something you like among the links and you want to try it or already do it, perhaps a visit to that page will reinforce or expand your interest.  If you see something you never thought about before or never regarded formally as self-care, how powerful it could be if that new way of thinking visited other areas in your life.

Want some parting advice?  Whenever possible, rediscover an orientation that views taking care of yourself as an ongoing process, always further unfolding in step with your evolving wishes and whims. Give yourself that freedom.  You don’t have to know everything in advance.  You don’t have to know everything into perpetuity.  You don’t have to know everything, period.  All you have to do is build your trust in that precious part of you that speaks up for self-care by listening to it and practicing some when and how you most want to in each instance.  The more often you listen, the more clearly that part of you will come forward.  At its clearest, it even sweetly rewards you with bold new ideas and the plucky innocence to embody them.

The benefits of regular self-care include:

  • increased self-esteem
  • increased resilience for stress and depression
  • greater access to happiness
  • more stability of perspective in life
  • more life satisfaction as a whole
  • more power for effective change
  • greater interpersonal insight
  • more harmony with others and the environment
  • enhanced creativity, artistic and otherwise
  • pride of ownership toward own life