Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, Sarah Cadwell and I launched our new website, www.selfcareissexy.com. To celebrate, we invited some of our closest friends over for brunch to talk about self-care: what it is, how we do it, and why it’s important. We also shared some of our struggles and the reality of how hard it is to put yourself first. It was a true heartfelt self-love fest. Everyone had a great time. Our talented friend Renee prepared all the delicious vegetarian/vegan/gluten free brunch options—we even had a make-your-own mimosa bar! We gave away little love mugs with Self Care is Sexy swag and debuted Episode 1 of the podcast. I also had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with some of our community members in the studio, which produced some incredible content.
Sarah and her partner, The Craw, were so extremely generous to host the amazing party at their lovely and welcoming home. It was an intimate gathering, with a very genuine exchange. Participants expressed their support and that they were interested in having monthly brunch to check in and talk about self-care. And because it’s Portland, that will be easy to do—we all live for brunch in this town!
The tone of the soft launch was so supportive, and I know we have a lot of people interested in how they can really put self-care into action and get involved. And because there are different levels of self-care, people shared their own definitions of self-care, their practices, and how they put themselves first.
Turns out, people have a lot to say when it comes to self-care. While in the studio, I asked our guests just four simple questions and was blown away, inspired, and encouraged by the answers and willingness to share. Give your friend drinks mid-day and they will tell you anything—they will open up and let you record them. It was a great time, and I am so very honored to be a part of this self-care movement. I believe there must be more resources for people to remember to put themselves first. People need permission to take time alone.
When our friends stepped in the studio with me, they really opened up and discussed what they think self care is to them, how it’s going for them and where they felt they could improve. A lot of the same themes kept coming up for everyone, which made it clear for me that self-care is very important, and tips on making it a priority are in high demand. If you are thinking about your own self-care and how you can assess and address, take a moment to answer the questions I asked some of our listeners:
- What is self-care to you?
- What are you currently doing for self-care?
- What are the side effects when you don’t take care of yourself?
- Reflect on a time when your self-care was going well. What was your daily routine like?
By asking these questions, I found out that self-care is any method you can employ to give back to yourself what you need. It’s about receiving feedback from your emotional self and following its requests, instead of pushing your needs to the back of your “to-do” list. There was a consensus that self-care is important, and we should remember to do it, but the big question of the day was “how?” Our friends had some very good ideas and I am excited to share them with you. If you would like to hear what they had to say, check out podcast Episode #3 “Soft-Launch” to hear what I’m talking about.
For me, self-care means having appreciation of myself, what I have become and what I have created. It’s about inquiry. About constantly asking myself, “Self, what do you need right now?” It’s a daily habit of quietly turning inward and trying to address what comes up. I also have to remember to celebrate the things that went well and the times I did give back to myself. Self-care, for me, is about trusting myself and celebrating me. It is so easy to bypass the moments of celebration and focus on avoiding the next crisis.
In my opinion, self-care requires going inward and looking at the oldest and longest relationship—the one that we have with ourselves. It can be the most fulfilling reflection, because looking inward and asking what we want teaches us who we are, what we want, and if we look close enough, what our internal cues are. We have to listen to the internal cues to what it is we need, and then allow ourselves to receive. But when life around us is so loud and screaming for our attention elsewhere, it becomes a lot of work to focus back inward and make self-care a priority.
And while that is true, it’s not an excuse. It’s you, it’s your life, you only get one: you have to do what makes you happy. You have to give back to yourself. This is your life, you get to create it any way that you want to. In order to know what it is you want to create, you have to find out what it is you like. You have to explore and listen for feedback.
Self-care requires something more than just getting what you want, when you want it. Sometimes it requires you to give up something you want to do or to give yourself what you need. It may be as drastic as ending a toxic relationship where someone is taking advantage of you, or it may be as simple as taking a nap instead of finishing your “to-do” list. Finding a habitual way to look inward and ask what you need takes practice.
Take the time today to answer the questions I asked our friends at the launch party and reflect on what it is you truly need right now. Then, be brave, and give it to yourself. You have to allow yourself to come first. If you cannot allow yourself or if no one is giving you permission, I am. I am telling you, it’s okay: take a nap, a long bath, a yoga class, eat something fulfilling, take a walk in nature. Do something just for yourself this week. Listen to what you need.