“The darkness of my own heart has brought me to my knees, Yet here I am resting on the light of my soul.”© E Wayde
Self-care for me, is the daily practice of behaviours and actions, that an individual repeats and takes ownership of to ensure they feel safe, cared for, special and loved. Each of us will have preferred ways we like to take care of ourselves, wether it be taking time out to read that new book, journalling your inner thoughts, or maybe it’s practicing being in your body through slow gentle movements, yoga stretches, breath work or maybe it could be as simple as allowing yourself to sleep in and waking up slowly on your day off.
Whatever it may be self-care of any and all kinds is as important to your daily routine as it is to breathing, and even more so if you are experiencing or have experienced any form of anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, addiction, suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts.
For this reason it is imperative that we take the time to get to know and understand what things we do and what things we can do for ourselves daily that will make us feel most cared for, special and loved. Without knowing these things we are unable to manage a safe environment for ourselves or help ourselves when we need to feel safe and be cared for the most.
Actions We Can Take:
If you have a moment right now, I would ask you to open up a notes app on your phone or take out a pen and paper and see if you can write out five things you know will make you feel, relaxed, energised, rested, cheery, special, or loved. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas I want you to think about some of the things you have done for the special people in your life and see if you would like to try doing one or more of these things for yourself.
‘When we diarise time for ourselves we are prioritising our mental emotional and physical health.’
Once you have your list of hopefully five things I want you to think about where in your day or week could you fit at least one of these five things into your day or your week and I want you to schedule these things in by diarising them into your calendar on your phone or device or by writing it up in your calendar or in a diary and mentally committing to completing a minimum of at least one of these tasks this week.
When we diarise time for ourselves we are prioritising our mental emotional and physical health. I understand you might be busy, with your other commitments with work, friends, family or study, but until we learn to prioritise our own self-care and healing we will always be leaving ourselves open to falling back into unhealthy patterns.
‘Everytime you notice yourself looking for relief through old patterns, addictions or self-harming behaviours, physically write them down.’
Every time you notice yourself looking for relief through old patterns, addictions or self-harming behaviours, physically write them down. When we write them down we are bringing these patterns into our conscious awareness. When these patterns come into our conscious awareness we are lessening their hold on us and we are able to work on them, through them and release them.
When we slip or are triggered into moments, days, weeks and even months of anxiety or depression, this is where things can get super scary for us and we run the risk of falling back into some really overwhelming states of mind and put ourselves at risk of disconnecting from our bodies altogether.
This is why it is so important to ‘recognise the signs’ and to start to counteract them with acts of kindness. When feelings begin to wash over us especially when or if we are not used to processing emotions on our own, we can very quickly be at a high risk of exposing ourselves to what I refer to as a state of saturated overwhelm.
When we are in these states of saturated overwhelm we are most often met with extreme emotions and it is in these states we are most vulnerable to returning to old patterns of survival, and ways of coping that have either kept us alive or have helped us to alleviate deep emotional pain.
‘If or when we are in these dark states of saturated emotion and overwhelm it is important to remember it is still possible to turn things around through self-soothing.’
If or when we are in these dark states of saturated emotion and overwhelm it is important to remember it is still possible to turn things around through self-soothing. However if we are not in a safe place within our minds, our environment or if we are not in the company of someone to guide us through these dark states, things can quickly feel completely helpless.
These feelings of complete helplessness place ourselves in danger and put ourselves at a high risk of falling back into self-harming patterns of self-abuse such as addictive behaviours through substance abuse or misuse, controlled eating or starvation, over eating, addictive relationships with unsafe toxic people and or narcissists, and we open the door to all kinds of unsafe or high risk behaviours that can only provide temporary relief from our inner turmoil and emotional pain.
Deep down we know these old patterns of self-abuse will only temporarily distract us from what is really going on inside of us, and these self abusive behaviours will keep returning unless we start doing the inner work that is required to overcome and rewire these outgrown redundant and self-annihilating acts of self-hate.
So how do we start to unpack years or decades of self-abuse and old patterns that are no longer serving us?
We begin by treating ourselves like we would a close friend, by showing ourselves compassion for all that we have suffered and endured in this life. We begin to show ourselves appreciation through simple acts of self-kindness. Through our daily acts of self-kindness we begin to make self-care our ‘highest priority’.
‘Through our daily acts of self-kindness we begin to make self-care our ‘highest priority’.’
By taking the time to practice daily acts of self-care we are showing ourselves we actually care and that we matter. When we begin to show ourselves we matter through our continued acts of self-care we begin to change old subconscious patterning and self-beliefs of we don’t matter.
Every time we have a negative thought about ourselves or our situation, when we practice replacing them with words of encouragement and we remain open to new possibilities for the future we are allowing ourselves to slowly break free from a past that has held us captive.
This is not magic and this will not happen overnight, in fact this is going to take a lot of hard work, commitment and strength on your behalf, but I promise by taking baby steps in your commitment and dedication towards more and more self-care you will change your life, as it has and continues to change mine. As I evolve and grow, my self-care continues to change and evolve with me.
If you are going to chose to do anything today ‘chose you’ chose self-care first. 💛E Wayde