8 Self-Care Questions to Keep Your Body Happy
I’m a huge believer that my body talks to me to tell me what it needs. I also know that my mind (and the busyness of my life) often overrides the wants and needs of my body and pushes it faster, harder and more relentlessly than my body wants.
Without fail, I always end up paying for it.
One of the best notes I received in high school was from a dear friend named Laura. It said simply “Help, I’m having a small eye day”.
I had heard of a bad hair day, a bad outfit day, even a bad face or skin day but a small eye day was new to me. It wasn’t until I saw Laura the next time that I took note of her face with a new perspective: she looked exhausted and indeed her eyes looked like they refused to want to open. I’ve had quite a few small-eye days lately.
Self-care has never been a strong suit for me.
When I was younger and my body tolerated alcohol better I was almost always the one that had “one to many”. If I knew that "food X" would make my stomach upset, I craved it all the more. I'd sacrifice sleep for just about anything, until I'd crash and then all I would do is sleep.
When I was in college, I worked my way through school so I was always juggling either a full or partial course load and a regular job. No rest for the weary.
When I received my degree I couldn’t wait to get into the job market. I barely celebrated my graduation before going to work finding work. Job after job I was searching for a career that utilized my education and skill set to the fullest potential.
And so it goes that I built a life where long hours and little down time was status quo.
I was determined as I entered into my own business to not run my life the same way anymore. I wanted to build in a healthier set of circumstances, more balance, less excess.
I asked myself what felt best for me.
I experimented with different sleeping and wake patterns, new food recipes and moving the commitments in my life to different executing timelines. I moved these emails for example from a Sunday night project to a Monday morning/mid-day project. You get them later in the day; I get more balance.
Lately, however, with my parents in town I’ve found that all of my planning and balance, which by the way took me almost 6 months to sort out, has gone out the window. I’ve stayed up extra late to watch TV with my Dad and Mom, snuggled side by side on the couch, just to squeeze in some more “together” time.
I’ve been up early getting the girls to school and trying to find motivation to prioritize work when all I want to do is chill with my folks. Simultaneously my Mom has taken over dog-walking duties and Dad has become our personal chef and handyman, all of which I am truly blessed and grateful for. In addition, all of my dishes are typically done before they even have a second in the sink.
My responsibilities have been significantly less due to the love and caring help of my Mom and Dad and yet somehow I don’t feel like I’ve “done” anything with the extra time that’s been gifted to me.
The truth is I’ve done whatever I wanted to, which is very self-indulgent but doesn’t feel very loving and caring in my body. The extra sugar (dessert is big in my family) and restaurant food intake has certainly gone up, while the sleep has gone down, trying to maximize what ever time we can get.
I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I also know there is a more loving way to get it all in so I’ll spend some time in reflection over the next week. To kick-off this reflection, I'll ask myself the following questions, which is my "go to" list to sort out any imbalance in my life that shows up in my body (as they often do).
- Am I treating myself like I would treat someone I love?
- What am I feeling that I don’t like or enjoy? (Here I make a list: exhaustion, discomfort, general ickyness)
- Where and how is it showing up in my body? (aches, pains, skin problems, etc.)
- How do I solve for each of these?
- Do the solutions to my discomfort feel loving?
- Do the solutions feel possible? (This requires honesty - sometimes the answer is no, hence the next question)
- What would make the solution(s) feel more possible or easier?
- What help do I need? This could be universal help (spirit guides, angels, God, etc.) or human help.
I truly believe you can't take care of anyone else fully until your needs are fully met.
Asking yourself these important questions is a great place to start. Of course, if the answer to question number one is Yes, then give yourself a pat on the back or a high five and rock on!
My guess is, if you need to ask yourself in the first place, the answer is usually No.
As my parents are thankfully here for a few more days, I'm actively choosing to stay in self-indulging mode with an overhaul waiting on the other side. If you can add to my list above, please do in the comments below; I'll take all the help I can get.