Since I started this blog back in January I have been doing Self-Care Saturday posts. I posted a lot about essential oils initially as they play a major role in my self-care. However, over the last 2 weeks I started prioritizing a different aspect of self-care. I definitely still use my essential oils in my different routines, but I started taking time with myself each day. My best friend and my boyfriend were starting to worry about me. I was grumpy most of the time. I was miserable in my job. And I felt a lot like I muscling through life. I definitely was not living a life I loved.
With the start of a new month I started gratitude journaling again. Each day I write down 5 things I am thankful for. I also started taking more time to journal again. Throughout college I would spend some time each morning with my coffee, my journal and some sort of book. When I started working night shift I told myself I couldn’t have a morning routine because my schedule felt all over the place. I fell into this belief that I couldn’t have routine or structure because some days my “morning” is 5pm. Well, after almost a year of working night shift I have realized that I need to make time to have a routine and structure to my life.
Each “morning” — whenever morning is for me that day — I make my coffee, and weather pending I sit outside on my patio with my book and journal. My book right now is the Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser. I read a chapter, and spend time journaling about what is striking me or what is standing out to me. At the end of my time I write down 5 things I’m grateful for and start my day on a positive note.
Let me tell you – getting back into this routine has made such a difference. I’m still really struggling with night shift, but my mindset going into work is so much better. I am able to really see my blessings and feel my soul being filled in my time outside of work. I see myself being filled up so I can pour myself out. Since establishing a “morning” routine again I’ve noticed my attitude is better, I’m less anxious, and I’m more social.
That being said, I want to talk a little bit more about this book – Self-Love Experiment. For me, it has lead to a lot of reflection. Through reading this book I’ve been able to reflect on all the growth that has occurred in the last year of my life. The author talks a lot about weight loss, as that was something that was a hard thing for her. But she talks about how once she started to love herself more and take care of her body instead of sabotaging herself for being overweight, she started to lose weight. When she started to love and care for herself more she naturally started to feel better. She was naturally inclined to make overall healthier food choices, but didn’t feel guilty when she ate ice cream because through her self-love journey she learned the art of balance.
In nursing school I lived in survival mode. After I got better from my 6 month long migraine I was on an antidepressant and gained 20lbs. In a year of working full time I’ve lost all of that weight. I have more energy and I can say I genuinely love the woman I have become over the last year.
The question I have gotten asked the most is “how did you do it?” How did I lose 20lbs working night shift (most people gain weight on night shift). The biggest thing for me is I started taking time to take care of myself. I started exercising on a regular basis again because it helped with my stress and anxiety. I started cooking more. I ate out less because when I wanted to order take out the restaurants were closed. The more I read of this book the more I see that the last year was my own self-love experiment.
All that being said, I wanted to share a few tidbits from this book on how Shannon defines self-care.
The most basic form of self-love is caring for yourself. We have to start with self care…Self care is not about drinking your green juice or taking your vitamins every day and always keeping your diet super clean. It’s not about incessantly working out or meditating. For some it may be, but that’s because that is in alignment with that person. The most important thing is that you do what is in alignment with you….The emotion around what we do is often more detrimental than what we actually do. What is important is how you feel about the things you do.
Self-care has nothing to do with what you do but why you do it. (pgs 38-39).
Self-care and self-compassion are about removing guilt and shame from being you; it’s about you honoring your true needs.
Self-compassion at it’s core is about learning how to be gentle and kind to yourself in a world that pushes the opposite. Self-compassion is the foundation of self-love.
I run because running brings me joy. I don’t regret running when I’m done. After a run I usually feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
I go to yoga because I walk out feeling like my head is clearer.
I drink my 2-3 bottles of water because I feel better, and am less prone to headaches when i drink that water.
I drink coffee and eat a banana every morning because a) I’ve done it for years b) it makes me happy.
I thoroughly enjoy cooking. I don’t usually get fancy, but I think it’s fun to try new recipes.
I write down things I’m grateful for every day because it helps me see the JOY and the goodness in my life.
I sit outside with my coffee because the sun feels good on my skin.
These things I listed are my self-care rituals and I do them because they bring me joy. Over the last year I started cutting out things that didn’t bring me joy. I started cutting out obligations that drained me rather than filled my cup. I realized I needed to be sure I was filling my cup up so I could pour out from it.
Self-care is saying I am important and I matter. Self-care is saying I recognize my worth and my value as a person and I am going to treat myself as such. Self-care is recognizing the wholeness of your person – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and caring for all aspects. Self-care is important because it was leads to a life of joy and to actually living your life instead of muscling your way through this life.
Here’s to self-care and self-love – take time this weekend to invest in yourself and love yourself a little extra. All it takes is one little baby step towards self-care and it will slowly unfold from there.