There is something about the changing of seasons that carries momentum. It almost feels like riding the current of a universal wave; it’s the push most us need to get up and get going and make the changes we need to make in our lives in order to feel how we want to feel; existing daily within that person you see yourself as authentically. In reality, every moment can be seen as a new beginning, allowing us to shift into a renewed sense of self and move toward our optimal wellbeing. Spring in particular is a chance to make new rules and routines. It’s an opportunity to redefine, rebuild, and renew.
But how do you continue that momentum once the current passes? Generally building a self-care routine is a vital component of our overall wellness, but as the term gets more widely ingrained in our culture’s vocabulary, the meaning becomes more masked. Self-care becomes ‘treating’ yourself or ‘pampering’ yourself, an activity incorporated into your routine and making up for all of the stress of day-to-day life. Even when referred to preventatively, self-care usually speaks to an activity that one adds to their day: a long bath, a trip to the spa, a massage, a hike, or a yoga class. While these activities contribute to both mental and physical health and well-being, self-care, I think, is far less tangible than that.
Self care, of course, should serve the self. Naturally in order to serve the self you have to know yourself. Each individual’s self care practice should be personal and customized to their particular set of peculiarities. Take the time to consider yourself. What are your natural physical characteristics, personality traits, and energetic tendencies?
I turn to ayurveda to identify these qualities. You can find hundreds of Dosha quizzes online to help identify your natural tendencies, traits, and all of your individual physiological activities. Understanding energies that move through you and how they interact with your particular set of traits will come in handy when identifying imbalance and working toward well being.
Each day try to become increasingly curious about yourself and the characteristics of your surroundings, your friends, family, coworkers, environment and how they each intertwine and affect each other, as these become a reflection of the self. Turn your gaze to that reflection and decide if it is an authentic impression of you at your best.
If not, it’s time to get to work.
What do you see in that reflection that presents itself as outside of your alignment? Whether you are struggling with unresolved issues in your past causing angst and anxiousness, or you are in an unsatisfying relationship (work, romantic, or otherwise), locating areas in your life that are out of alignment with who you know yourself to be is the first step on the path of well being.
I recently had a chance to slow my pace and examine my own reflection. What I saw was a person in flux, someone stuck in a relentless and repetitive cycle of misunderstanding.
I had recently been fired from a job that I loved, for reasons that, I felt, attacked the areas of my personality that I had not only grown to love but that I had also learned to use as an asset in the workplace. This abrupt and devastating action rocked me to the core, throwing my life out of balance.
Because of this blow, my self care practice had to shift to help me cope. During my meditations I came to terms with the fact that my previous job was an area of imbalance and holding on to any part of it would only perpetuate the consequences of this imbalance, illness, depression, resentment or anger in my current life.
When you choose to express yourself from a place of authenticity, you honor yourself and those around you.
Expand your practice and rebuild your wellbeing
The first thing I think of when defining self-care is mindfulness. Mindfully choosing the foods you put into your body, taking time to exercise, or practice relaxation techniques. Engaging in a spiritual practice to ease emotional burdens and connect to elements outside yourself.
Become more mindful and honest about your intentions. I find it helpful to focus in on the root of my wellness goals and to set an intention that holistically captures the elements that, if brought together, would renew my overall wellness, shifting energies into balance.
In order to bring my energies into balance, I had to not only let go of the hurt feelings I had from losing my job, but also to compose and curate a work space and pace that reflected the person I see myself to be.
For me, in order to bring my energies into balance I had to not only let it go of the hurt feelings I had from losing my job, but also to compose and curate a work space and pace that reflected the person I see myself to be. I had to decide how I could work with the community I care about and use my expertise for a greater purpose, in a sustainable and enjoyable way. In order to accomplish this I would have to rebuild a working model that specifically suits and reflects me at my best. Talk about some serious self-reflection.
Working outside of the standard path to a successful career can be scary. But sometimes, in order to break unrelenting negative cycles you have to take a leap of faith, and hope that destiny catches you.
Identify your core motivators for wellness within your household, your family, as a parent, or as a member of the community. Understand that every action will cause a reaction among the circles of people and the community you travel within.
Let’s face it, living authentically is really hard. Navigating expectations, social courtesies, and responsibilities at home and work can seem like mountains set between you and your wellness. Being authentic can also be risky. Your true thoughts, feelings and intentions may not align with the expectations or agendas of those around you. But to attain any sort of lasting peace and enjoyment you know that you have to forgo your fear and simply sink into your authenticity.
So allow the current of this season to carry you closer to your goals. Discover exactly what you need to find that space of long lasting satisfaction within your self care. Allow your practice to mirror your best intentions, and with practice and time the family, home, relationship and job reflecting back at you will be a true representation of your unique self.