When I first heard the phrase self-care, I thought it referred to things that I do to look after myself: eat properly, get enough sleep, go to the dentist, relax….It wasn’t until recently that I realized that self-care, or self-love, means so much more (see image above). Like you probably are now, I went through the examples under each domain and questioned where I fell in my own self-care. There are many that I do, some fairly regularly and others when I put time aside for them. During the summer months, for example, I commit to “designated service acts.”
One of my annual summer projects is collecting towels and bedding for animal rescues and shelters. Some of the items go to our local humane society; I also collect for a friend who takes things to a farm sanctuary. This summer, another friend of mine was looking for a new home for her old bedding and towels, and I offered to collect them for the farm.
When I went to pick them up, she had not one, but five, garbage bags of linens. I was grateful but, at the same time, I was in a bit of a panic because I didn’t know what to do with them. I was already purging through my own home and had bags of items to go to different organizations; I had no idea where I could put these five. So I texted my farm sanctuary friend.
“I have a lot of donations for you but our house is already a disaster since I’m doing my summer purging. Do you think I can bring them over now? Dave will kill me if I bring more stuff inside.”
Thankfully, the response was “sure” so I headed over. As I pulled into the parking lot, I started giggling. I was moving 5 heavy garbage bags into her apartment building and, truth be told, I hadn’t even looked inside them yet. Maybe there was more than just the towels and bedding inside. What will her neighbours think? Will rumours start? Will little old ladies talk about “those girls” who quietly snuck in heavy bags with “heaven knows what” inside. My imagination went into overdrive.
Before carrying the bags inside, we cautiously opened one of them – just to make sure that it had sheets and towels. Then, we carried the bags inside, trying not to trying not to draw attention to ourselves as we moved them into her apartment. That’s when it hit me. “Carrying 5 garbage bags inside is nothing. Wait until you have to take them back outside,” I said. “That’s going to look even more suspicious. That’s when your neighbours are really going to talk.” And we quietly laughed again. Well, we may have actually snorted a bit because we really did not want anyone to notice us.
On my way home, I thought back to the examples of self love. “Cleaning out (purging) and acts of service (donation)” are easy (usually) to do and make me feel happy. Sharing that time with a friend makes it even better. Unintentionally, I was speaking self-love.
It doesn’t take much to look after yourself. Take a look at the list again and ask yourself “How do you speak self-love?”