A is for Ask
Often when we think of self-care, immediate thoughts of ‘self-centered’, ‘selfish’, and ‘self-absorbed’ come to mind. Asking feels a little counter-intuitive to self-care – isn’t the point to listen to my own inner voice and what I need?
I’d like to suggest that we begin our holistic self-care journey with “ASK.”
Body: Ask your body what’s doable
When we begin a self-care routine, we usually think – let’s get active and eat right. We make plans, set goals, and jump in with our whole hearts and good intentions.
This month, I encourage you to ask your body questions:
In general: What makes you feel good? What do you need – from food, from activity, from rest?
In eating: Why are you craving this food? How is this food making you feel? Is this food energizing you? Which foods give you energy?
In action: What are you capable of? What will make you feel good? How far can you be pushed? Do you enjoy this exercise? Would you prefer another?
In rest: Do you get enough rest? Do you need something different – a new pillow, mattress, room? Do you need anything to help you get more rest – less tv, less computer, more exercise, different exercise, more or less alcohol or sugar?
Don’t judge – just ask.
Mind: Ask questions – stay curious
Self-care of the mind is two-fold.
Fold one: Stay curious.
Ask questions about the world. Why are things this way? Dig deeper. How did we get here? How does this work? About science, mechanics, nature, psychology. We have so much more to learn. Let’s become like the curious toddler who never stops asking “Why?” and “What’s that?”
Fold two: Challenge assumptions.
In a world when so many are stuck in their own opinions – with political and religious divisiveness increasing rather than decreasing, do you try to listen from the other side? Do you hear the ‘why’ behind others’ beliefs?
Asking ‘why’ might help us keep our hubris and hatred (maybe a strong word – perhaps ‘anger’ or ‘frustration’) in check. Intellectual understanding can perhaps lead to compassionate response.
I’m not suggesting you compromise your beliefs. You have the right – and the obligation – to live by your beliefs. By challenging our assumptions, we can better own our beliefs with confidence and not feel threatened by some else’s point of view.
Spirit: Ask for support
So often, in our attempts to be strong we hide our fears, feelings, and frustrations. We try to go it alone, not wanting to bother others or to appear weak.
But a big part of self-care – especially care of our spirit – is to seek the support we need from those we love.
Does this mean you need to ask your significant other to remind you of your efforts? To give you the time you need? To take on a task for you?
What is your deepest desire?
We cannot truly embrace self-care until we know what we desire from our lives – from our relationships – from our careers or retirement?