A2Z Holistic Self-care: A is for Ask

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

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?

For insight:

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?

Will you begin your self-care asking questions? Does this process feel strange? Which “ASK” feels most challenging to your self-care process?

36 comments

  1. Hi Janet! A great start to your AtoZ Challenge. I like the concept of ‘asking’ in all areas as you have mentioned. I’ve written about listening to our bodies but you have gone so much further. I particularly liked your point about asking your body what is doable and the questions we need to ask regarding eating. Sometimes we are eating from boredom or emotional eating and the questions you have suggested will certainly give pause before we actually put the food in our mouth. I love this concept. I also wouldn’t have thought about self-care and staying curious. You’ve covered it all so well and looking forward to ‘B’. xx

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  2. Excellent, Janet! I never used to ask what my body needed until recently. I don’t always remember to ask (old bad habits die hard) but when I do it has made a world of difference.
    Happy A-Zing!

    Deb

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  3. I really like your advice Janet. I think most of us don’t ask, I don’t ask my self it simply because I’m not aware of it, but now I am. Thank you, great post!

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    • I’m delighted that my thoughts on asking resonated with you. I hope as you start asking yourself, you find answers that support your self-care efforts. Thanks so much for joining the conversation.

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  4. I want to set aside some time tonight and journal through these questions. I LOVE this… take time to listen to your body (and your mind and your spirit) and discern what it truly needs.

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  5. Hi Janet! I think ASK is an excellent “A” word. But as busy as you are I can’t believe you’ve decided to do the A-Z challenge! I definitely admire anyone who does it because it takes focus and dedication–but have never been driven to do it myself. Good luck and I’ll be checking back with you to watch your progress. ~Kathy

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    • Kathy, thanks for stopping by. With the big project finished, I feel like this will help me reclaim some normalcy. I love to write and these daily posts help me feel like I’m taking care of that part of myself in little spurts. And if last year is an indication, I’m not super stressed about it. If I miss a day posting, I make it up the next day. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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    • Diane, thanks for stopping by. Thanks for finding me on Twitter. I’m delighted that you enjoyed my post. I looked at your Alpaca post. We have a connection IRL. Are you still at Mary of the Woods? I’ve been there a few times. I know someone well who used to clean up after the alpacas a few years back. I used to work at the SP’s school in Chicago. Also, I know someone who still works at the Woods in the kitchen. Anyway, small world. And the Alpaca’s are so cool! Thanks for joining the conversation.

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  6. What a powerful start! You didn’t pull any punches right out of the gate.

    *Ask* in general is a tough concept for me. Let’s just say my upbringing did not encourage asking questions and asking for help from others is particularly challenging. There is a lot of food for thought here and great advice.

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    • Joanne, isn’t ‘asking’ so counterintuitive for so many of us? That’s why I felt like I needed to lead with that. I’m glad that it offers food for thought. Take care of yourself during this busy time. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Terri – thanks for your enthusiasm about my post. I appreciate that it will help you (and hopefully others) get the ball rolling. Thanks for linking it to your post on Friday – and for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t thought about asking myself those type of questions Janet, but it makes a lot of sense. That last one “what is our deepest desire?” is really worth dwelling on – I have no idea, and yet I think it’s something that would give me some direction if I could figure out the answer. Time to ponder a little I think!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    • Leanne, thanks so much for stopping by – I’ve been away from #MLSTL for a bit now because of that pressing project I had, but I’m glad to be back and to be working through AtoZ. I’m happy that the questions gave you some pause to ponder. I hope that you can tap in to your deepest desire – and remember, you may find that you’ve already achieved it. 🙂

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  8. Very interesting questions to ask ourselves Janet! I have trouble asking for support but I’m always happy to give it to others 🙂 . I also don’t know how to answer the question about my deepest desire – I’ll have to think about that some! Visiting from #mlstl

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    • Debbie, thanks for visiting. Isn’t it so often that we are happy to help others but hesitate to ask for help when we need it? This can be so tough! The deepest desire question is tough too. For me, I think many times I’ll say things like “I’d love to…” or “I want to do…” but find that my energy goes elsewhere – which means that probably isn’t part of my deepest desire…Hope you can tap into your deepest desire. Thanks for joining the conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Lou, isn’t it crazy how we are all so eager to help others but find it so difficult to ask for help? I’m delighted that you found wisdom in my post – and do hope others might as well. Thanks for sharing and for joining the conversation.

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