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Self-care and Self-love: What are they? Why have they become so popular?

You’re busy and need more time to squeeze some extra work in. What can you take out of your schedule so you can get that extra hour of work in? You eat lunch at your desk. You skip your workout. Next thing you know, you’re grabbing for any sugary or not-so-healthy on-the-go food because you’re too pressed for time to make or grab something more nourishing. You’re going to bed late and waking up early — and moving or working every waking hour in between. You’re mad at yourself for not working harder, not getting more done, not being able to show up in every area of your life 100%.

You get the picture.

You HAVE to do these things to fit it all in, right? You HAVE to be able to do it all, right?

Well, I’m going to make a giant assumption here and say “wrong.”

And hey, sometimes we’re under deadline and this is a temporary lifestyle. And that’s okay… sometimes.

If you’re working like this all the time, day in and day out, and beating yourself up for the things you can’t get to (and forgetting about all of the amazing things you are doing already!) I can bet you you’re not functioning at your best. And then… burnout.

Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve been there more than a few times. Burnout is real. Adrenal Fatigue is real. Beating yourself up for not taking care of yourself is real, and adds more stress to the situation. I know this feeling too well.

Being an entrepreneur for the last 6+ years, initially as a Freelance Graphic Designer and now as a Health Coach and Yoga and Fitness instructor, I know the feeling of stretching yourself thin or feeling like you have to fit it all in. After all, who else is going to get the work done? No one else can, so I have to fit it all in and say yes to everything that comes my way.

I’ve burnt myself out from not only working hard, but feeling like when I have a free minute from work to be using it to be social, or travel, or workout even when my body is craving rest, or party a little bit too hard as to not miss a moment, because sleep can wait. Sometimes in those free moments all I really needed to do was rest but instead I pushed myself to the brink.

I also know the cyclical thought process of “not being good enough” a little bit too well. Those self-deprecating thoughts don’t only come in the entrepreneurial realm, but in most areas of my life, especially if I’m not taking care of myself.

That’s just it — while self-care and self-love are two different concepts, I believe they’re close cousins. For me, if I’m not taking care of myself, it’s easy to lack love for myself, and if I’m not in love with who I am or where I’m at in life, I slack on the self-care. And if I’m not loving who I am, it makes it hard to love others. If I’m not caring for myself, it’s hard to care for others.

And on the opposite spectrum — I’ve been in the position where I’m caring for others and giving so much of my love away, that I don’t save any for myself, and don’t take care of my own thoughts and feelings, loosing myself along the way.

So, what is self-care? And what is self-love? They seem pretty self explanatory, but sometimes when you hear or see it written out, you’re more apt to take on the practice.

Self-care is caring for oneself. How do we do this? Here’s a list of suggestions. Everyone is different, so self-care for me may look a little different for more than it may for you:

  1. Scheduling uninterrupted “me” time in your calendar

  2. Taking a night off from checking your emails, working that extra hour, or doing housework

  3. Getting a good workout in you’ve been craving

  4. Eating nourishing foods like leafy greens

  5. Reading a book

  6. Taking a bath

  7. Treating yourself to a massage or a haircut or a pedicure

  8. Lighting a candle or burning sage

  9. Putting on your favorite song and dancing your heart out in between meetings

Self-love is accepting and loving yourself for who you are, despite any flaws you believe you may have. We tend to be the hardest on ourselves, focusing on every imperfection. Practicing self-love includes:

  1. Accepting yourself for who you are

  2. Telling yourself something positive. Maybe it’s something you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s something about your body you love.

  3. Tell yourself you are beautiful. It’s easy to focus on things we don’t like about ourselves and make it bigger than

  4. Celebrating your wins, no matter how big or small they are

  5. Accepting where you are in your career, relationships, and other areas of your life.

  6. Forgiving yourself for what you’re not, what you said in the past, how you handled something.

  7. Being confident in who you are and what you believe in. Letting go of the need for approval from others.

  8. Find your happy place and go there often.

  9. Trust your intuition. Listen to your gut — it knows best.

The next question is — why have self-care and self-love become so popular? We’re living in a society that prides itself for being busy. That prides itself for taking on and accomplishing too many tasks. That prides itself for living fast and dying young. That prides itself for being sexy. That prides itself on perfection.

The reality is — it’s hard to live up to these expectations, because they aren’t real. You’ll get more accomplished and better if you take a break and care for yourself. You’ll love better and be able to receive more love if you let go of imperfection and love yourself where you are. If the cup is empty, how can you pour from it? It all comes back to you.

What about you? What’s your experience with self-care and self-love? What are your tips for including more of each?

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