What is Self-care and Well-being?
We have a tendency to put self-care aside as the challenges of modern life make us over-stimulated, exhausted, stressed, tired, frustrated, and desperate. If it sounds like this is you, you’re not alone. We live in a society that’s asking us to work harder, faster, and longer to accomplish more in less time. You may start feeling as if there is no off switch. To make it worse you may think, feeling this way is normal.
The irony is that you’ve been fooling yourself. The culture of ambition and nonstop working is taking a toll on your health, happiness, and overall well-being. While you have some capacity to adapt and be resilient, you are not meant to function at this nonstop pace. It’s like you plugged Christmas lights into a nuclear power plant without a way to manage and regulate the energy coming into the system, you’ll end up being fried.
Self-care is defined as consciously taking responsibility for meeting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. It’s a practice of choosing to spend time engaging in self-care activities and things that nourish you at all levels of being, also avoiding experiences and situations that deplete your happiness and energy. The cultural norm of self-sacrifice runs opposite to self-care. Self-care is not the same as being selfish or narcissist; rather, it’s a practice of tending to your mind and body needs instead of ignoring and minimizing them.
Qualities of Self-care:
You must realize that the modern view of “work longer, harder, and faster” will make you sick and miserable. You must understand that ignoring your needs for health and balance is not sustainable in the long run and will ultimately cause you to suffer. Take a honest look within, are you feeling great while working harder, faster, longer; if not, you need to make a paradigm shift. As the philosopher and spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti says, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Only when you make self-care a priority, you will be balanced and happy.
Prevention and Recuperation:
Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine modalities have a common theme of self-care as a proactive approach to health and happiness. Most people only take action when something has gone wrong. With self-care, you take responsibility for your wellness and looking after yourself before exhaustion or illness hits you. Self-care is also a good concept when you need to recover from an illness, injury, overwork, or burnout. In order to return to a life of balance and vitality, you need to recognize that you need to make the effort to give yourself what you need to heal. Yoga is an excellent healing modality both as physical movement and keeping your mind calm.
It’s a Discipline and a Skill:
In a world of striving and straining, self-care is not normal; it may feel unnatural to take time for your well-being. It takes commitment and practice to make self-care as a frequent habit. It requires you to recognize traditional wisdom of yoga that work on all levels —physical and mental health, happiness, and fulfillment at all levels.
To some self-care may appear as self-indulgent concept, or lazy and fluffy. It is actually an important act of giving yourself the gift of unconditional love, acceptance, and nourishment. Self-care is putting your oxygen mask on first before attempting to help another. It’s recognizing that you are not in a position to help others at the expense of your happiness and well-being. In order to help others, your glass needs to be full; giving from a half glass will only drain you further. In the end, if you don’t take care of yourself, it’s highly unlikely that someone else will do it for you.
It means every aspect of your life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual require equal attention to return to a holistic state of balance and vitality.
You have the power to affect every aspect of your life—happiness, health, work, relationships, fulfillment, and spiritual growth. When you care for self, you care for your soul. When you listen to your soul for balance and integration, self-care becomes a catalyst for your ongoing conscious evolution.
In the New Year, give your mind, body, and spirit a fresh start by committing to healthier habits. At Mind to Body we offer many holistic programs to choose from. You can join yoga practice, get nutrition guidance, or take some workshops for self-care and more. Check out our yoga schedule, wellness, and workshop offerings.