We scramble to fulfill the expectations we place on ourselves–ours, and those of others–while taking care of ourselves last. Or not at all.
Until we become burned out and exhausted.
I am working on improving my self care, one habit at a time.
Recently, I spent an afternoon on self care….
Walking through town, enjoying a brisk Fall day, I discovered a flower shop, bright colors spilling over onto the sidewalk, reminiscent of the flower stalls of Paris.
I entered a quiet bistro, where I knew I would find savory-sweet heirloom tomatoes, served with ricotta and basil, savory balsamic vinegar, my Autumn obsession.
And a fresh-baked peach, lush, fragrant, still warm, floating on vanilla rice pudding.
Pure, organic produce, locally produced, beautifully prepared, and utterly delicious.
When I was young, I would never have taken myself out to eat alone. Maybe for a snack, but not something special.
Now that I am older, I’ve discovered I love dining out by myself.
For an hour, I set my distractions aside, and lose myself in pure enjoyment.
I eat quietly and slowly, savoring each morsel.
I am learning to savor good food again, as part of my ritual of self care.
I have discovered that savoring a good meal is practicing Mindfulness.
And practicing Mindfulness is woven into self care.
We are no good to anyone else, unless we take good care of ourselves.
Without solid habits and rituals of self care, our attempts to help others eventually lead us to burn-out and resentment.
When we don’t take good care of ourselves, we approach taking care of others from ego, rather than from an open, compassionate heart.
When our self care is poor, we stop listening. We fall into going one-up and giving others unwanted advice–to make ourselves more comfortable. We become judgmental and critical. We forget that true compassion doesn’t keep score.
When we practice self care, we find compassion is limitless. We begin with compassion for ourselves. We discover room in our hearts for everyone. We serve from love, rather than “should”.
I believe self compassion, self care, and mindfulness are interwoven, and are essential to genuinely serving others.
What are your rituals of self care?
Where do you fall down, and where do you shine?
Comment Zen: I would love to hear how you take care of yourself.
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