I was emailing with my friend and colleague, Holly Repenn, about self-care and self-love, and what she sometimes refers to as “self-possession,” or belonging to yourself. I find that one of the major problems that crops up in the lives of highly sensitive people – and women, in particular – is a tendency to give to and love others at the expense of their own self-care needs. In her horoscope article on July 22nd, Holly writes:
On Friday, Venus, newly in the sign of Virgo, begins a six week retrograde phase. There is indication that we have missed something related to what we love, how we love, our capacity to receive love, and our ability to ground and stabilize all relationships in an abundance of self-love. It’s time for a more self centered focus particularly if your life is defined by a preoccupation with the welfare of others at the expense of your own.
When I read this, I just about jumped out at my chair and called every highly sensitive person I know. We’re so good at giving to others and we often feel so guilty about giving to ourselves, but the truth is that in order to love someone fully, we must be in love with ourselves first, so much so that the cup of love runneth over. In this way of really belonging to ourselves, we give to ourselves first, broadening our own capacity for connection, and then have the reserves to give to others. This is how we avoid overwhelm. This is how we stay out of fight-or-flight.
We need to prepare ourselves for the day so we can work with others at our best, at full capacity. When we don’t do this we give away what we don’t have and there is nothing left for us. This is why we burn out, get sick, have dis-ease. This concept always reminds me of the airline safety talks, “Put a mask on yourself first before helping someone else.” That rule applies here, too.
I created a guided meditation to help you flood yourself with love before giving to others. This meditation is great for generating the energy blueprint for what Holly is talking about – it teaches us to ground and stabilize our relationships, our outward flow of energy toward others, in an abundance of self love. You can try it now, just click play on the video below.
People ask me all the time what I do to keep myself healthy and loved. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to create a life that allows for heaps and heaps of self care. The more I take on in my life and especially my business as a healer for others, the more self care I need. It’s that simple.
Now, here’s the thing – I don’t think self-care is the answer to all of our problems. I don’t think that self-care is what will change the world. There are cultural systems and thought patterns in place that need to be challenged in order for sensitivity to thrive and for us to feel like a normal part of the system. We are working on this revolution now. In the meantime, self-care is what allows us to get up everyday and be a part of the world we’ve got.
So, in a nutshell, here’s what I do for myself:
Daily Self Care:
Upon waking, I drink a huge glass of water (sometimes warm, with lemon). I usually take a few vitamins with it, too. Then I do some deep breathing and hopefully eliminate my bowels (elimination is super important, which is why I’m not embarrassed to include it here).
I take a 15 minute walk – the same course everyday – with a special stone of mine that helps me feel grounded.
I drink one cup of coffee slowly, either journalling, reading, drawing or knitting.
I eat breakfast undistracted.
I adorn myself somehow everyday as an act of self-love, either with makeup, fun clothing or jewelry.
I rub oils or lotions into my body before or after I shower as a practice of self love.
I eat foods according to what I can digest. In the summer, I eat more raw foods. In the the winter, I eat only cooked foods (I tend to eat more cooked foods year round, since my digestion has been sub-par).
In the summer, I make limeade with a water, a touch of lime juice, a dab of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt so that I stay hydrated. It’s like a natural sports drink. In the winter, I drink lots of warming teas.
I meditate before and after clients to get centered and then get clear.
I get my most important work done. If I’m feeling ill, I take the day or a few hours off. I honor my body.
I spend at least 2 minutes of undistracted time with my partner everyday. That sounds like very little, but this is even without eating. We also spend time praising each other and telling each other what we’re thankful/grateful for about them each day.
At night, I give myself a few hours to chill out, whether by watching TV, knitting, drawing or crafting. I spritz my pillow with an aromatherapy spray to help my body recognize that it’s time for sleep, read a few pages, and lights out by 11pm.
I eat chocolate. I keep the cupboard stocked and don’t feel bad about enjoying a bit every day.
Weekly Self Care:
I get 30-60 minutes of FUN exercise in 4-6 times a week. This often includes kickboxing, circuit training, walking, swimming or hiking. In the summer, I do circuit workouts at the park 1-2 times a week, slackline as often as possible (at least 1x week), and practice yoga asana occasionally. I also love to hike and walk. In the winter, I still walk and hike, swim, ski, and find something to do inside, whether a circuit workout or yoga. I have to exercise to stay balanced. Even when I’ve been injured, just a 10 minute walk is still important and helps me clear energy.
I have weekly (and sometimes 2-3 times weekly) meetings with clairvoyant friends for energy checks and healings.
I generally finish up with my work on Thursday and take Friday all to myself to reset. Sometimes it’s just Friday afternoon, but I’ve found that I need this alone time (weekends are mostly spent with my husband).
I do my grocery shopping and cook a large batch of food to prepare for the week and keep me stocked with healthy treats.
I do some longer meditations with more clearing and goal setting.
I journal often.
I schedule at least one meal/activity with a friend.
I wash and fold my clothing in a way that is pleasing and keeps my space clean.
I usually talk to my family. Sometimes, I don’t. Whatever feels the most nourishing.
Monthly Self Care:
I receive massages 2x month.
I receive visceral manipulation (something I’m starting to call “body whispering) once a month.
I often take the first day of my menstrual cycle off, or take a very light activity day to respect my natural feeling of fatigue that day.
That’s all I can think of right now. Feel free to rip off and duplicate for yourself! Here’s to lots of self-care and self-love!