How often do we begin a sentence with "I should have..." For instance, as I started writing this post, I wanted to say, "I should have written this post weeks ago..." And ideally that's what I meant to do.... but life is so rarely "ideal." Part of self-care is accepting and welcoming life when it isn't ideal.
Cheryl Harris (my nutritionista of awesomeness!) started the July Self-Care blogging event several years ago as a way to remember how important self-care is in our daily lives. We live such busy lives that we often forget how important it is to take care of ourselves, our-whole-selves. Generally, unless we take very good care of our whole self, it's very hard to take care of anyone or anything else! And that means finding a way to put yourself first. I realize this sounds selfish. It kind of goes against a lot of what I learned growing up. But I've slowly learned that in order to take good care of my husband, my family, my friends, my furr-kids, my home, and my extended family... I HAVE to put myself first. I have to make sure that I am well cared for, so I can care well for everyone else in my life.
Self-care means taking care of your whole self. Your body, your mind, and your spirit. Since we are all completely unique individuals this may mean something different for each person. You may need to focus more on your physical health, while other's may need to focus on their spiritual health or their emotional health. Finding the right balance of all three is a big part of self-care.
Over the past two years I've been really working on my journey to emotional health and spiritual health. I've done this in many different ways from coloring mandalas, to praying more, to journaling, to beginning the art of meditation... I also feel like in many ways I've been redefining my spiritual health and well-being. I've realized this plays so closely with my emotional health.
My personal religious & spiritual beliefs with God have morphed and changed a lot over the past few years. There were issues that for years and years never made sense to me as a Christian and I truly struggled with certain ideals. Over the past two-three years I've widened my beliefs and studied a lot about Buddhist practices and principles, along with traditional Catholicism, Native American spiritual beliefs, and even Judaism. I've realized that my own spiritual beliefs do not have to be boxed into any one specific category... and they never really have been. This has been a huge awakening for me.
Suddenly, I don't have to feel like I can't "believe" in a specific principle just because it doesn't fit within a certain religious guideline. In reality, I think I've always done this to a degree. There's a certain rebelliousness in believing what you want no matter what your specific religious background is... but to finally give yourself permission to change and grow and allow your beliefs to do the same is extraordinarily freeing.
It's also particularly fun and liberating to realize that you may NEVER stop growing and changing and redefining who you truly are as a person. I love having this new understanding of myself!
At the beginning of August I will share more about a few techniques I've been using to help myself grow, along with finding peace and joy in the "every day-ness" of life. It's been a life-changing few months for me, and I look forward to seeing the ways you have grown & changed too in the past few years of your life.
Many bloggers have participated in this year's July Self-Care Retreat. Please visit their websites and posts on the many different ways you can incorporate self-care into your life.
- June 28th: Me! Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness
- July 6th: Valerie of City Life Eats
- July 13th: Shirley of Gluten Free Easily (GFE)
- July 20st: Iris of My Fairy Angel (you probably also know her from The Daily Dietribe)
- July 27th Kate of Eat, Recycle Repeat
- Aug 3rd Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl
Why join us? Because self-care takes a village, too.
These posts are to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves. We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through making different choices around food, adding in movement, personal reflection, journaling or other self-care. If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too! That way, we can make sure we see your post and that you’re entered into the drawing.
2013 Posts thus Far:
Cheryl's Self-Care Goals 2013 GF Goodness
Guest Post from Linda on Self-Care
July Self-Care Goals on City|Life|Eats
Wrap up and July Challenge on Eat, Recycle, Repeat
13 Self-Care Lessons from the Masters GF Goodness
Curious about past retreats? Recaps for July Retreats 2011 & 2012 are here: