Does ‘radical self care’ mean upside down yoga poses, spirulina-spiked smoothies and meditating for an hour before the sun comes up?
Radical self care simply means knowing yourself and making a commitment to meeting your emotional, spiritual and physical needs – above all else.
It’s the ‘above all else’ part that most of us struggle with. We know we need to take care of ourselves (put your own oxygen mask on first) BUT there are children to pick up from school, dinners to make, articles to write . . .
Our over-stuffed lives might not be able to take on yet another task such as prioritising our wellbeing – in a radical way. Women, especially mothers, are ‘hardwired to nurture’ writes Carrie Doubts in the huffingtonpost.com. ‘All day long women make sure everyone else is fed, taken care of and paid attention to, and then fall into bed utterly exhausted with nothing left over to give themselves.’
Without a deep sense of compassion for ourselves, and a genuine commitment to meeting our needs, many of us feel tired, resentful and too drained to enjoy life.
3 Signs You Need Radical Self Care
- You’re exhausted - even when you wake up.
- You feel undervalued and unappreciated. You feel like everyone is taking more from you than they give back.
- You lack compassion for yourself. You feel ‘selfish’ for needing alone time. You engage negative self-talk when things go wrong – it’s all your fault.
Radical self care means filling your cup up first. Whatever goodness then spills over from the cup is for everyone else. When you practice radical self care, plenty does spill over. But how to fill that cup and where to start? You don’t need to go on retreat or buy active wear or start following Insta health gurus.
It’s as simple as asking yourself ‘What do I need? What feels good? How do I show true compassion for myself?’
Then set about having your needs met in small ways, every day. It might be ‘Start eating nourishing food’ or ‘Spend time in nature’ or just ‘STOP’ all together – imagine that! Put together your ideas and turn them into everyday practice.
10 ideas for creating your own radical self care program
- Sleep 7-9 hours a night – no excuses. Leave your mobile phone out of your bedroom. Turn your inner chatter off when you get into bed and give yourself permission to let the day go.
- Detox your relationships. If time spent with certain friends leaves you feeling drained or full of negativity – take a break from those friends.
- Keep a journal on what you did well that day. If you’re one of those people (and there are lots of us!) who go to sleep berating ourselves over what we didn’t do so well that day, it’s time to acknowledge – and celebrate – what we did do well.
- Move your body five times a week. Head out for a walk, take a yoga class or go for a swim in the ocean. Whichever way you like to move your body – do it.
- If you find your silent meditations are just listening to your own thoughts battle it out, buy a guided meditation app. Even a 5-minute one. Commit to at least five minutes a day of meditation.
- When you take a bath, use body scrubs with your favourite scents. Don’t rush a bath. Soak.
- Consider having plants in your bedroom. The most beneficial plants for sleep are lavender, aloe vera and spider plants.
- Get some sunshine. Sunlight triggers the body’s natural production of Vitamin D which is crucial for protecting against inflammation, lowering blood pressure and improving brain function. A little blast of sunshine feels good too.
- Eat more plants. Base your diet around quality vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and oils including olive oil and coconut oil.
- Schedule in some nothingness. Absolutely nothing! Allow yourself to not only slow down here and there but to STOP altogether. No guilt, no explaining, no justifying – simply spend half an hour on nothing. What does nothing look like? A nap. According to sleep.org, regular short naps for 20 to 30 minutes a day lower tension and decreases your risk of heart disease. The most optimal time of the day to nap is reportedly between 1pm and 3pm.
Radical self care is not about adding must-do tasks to your already busy day, it’s about asking yourself what you need to truly feel valued, nurtured, restored and loved (by You!).
Your mojo will thank you.
Words and images by Genevieve Morton