These are only a few descriptors we use to describe self-care. Our societal idolization of busyness ensures we continue in a cycle of serving others and putting everyone’s needs before our own. In truth, practicing radical self-care is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones.
Some definitions of self-care include:
- Fostering an intimate relationship with yourself
- A way in which you give yourself what you need
- Any activity you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental, or emotional health
- An activity that helps you feel healthy, relaxed, and ready to take on your work and responsibilities
What does radical self-care mean to you? How do you feel about the idea of being caring towards yourself?
In researching self-care, the inability to say “no” quickly became a recurring theme. This complements our idolization with busyness seamlessly; a perfect combination of saying “yes” to everything and everyone, with a pinch of guilt at the thought of taking care of ourselves. Friends, I’m here to tell you that saying ‘no’ can be an act of love.
A friend recently provided this insight to me regarding saying “no”, Whenever we choose to say ‘yes’ to one thing, we are also choosing to say ‘no’ to something else. I LOVE this as a way to think about radical self-care! When I say “yes” to chairing another committee, I am also saying “no” to grabbing dinner with a friend whose connection I have been missing and needing in my life. When I say “yes” to assisting a colleague on a project that is beyond the scope of my job responsibilities, I am saying “no” to spending time cooking a nutritious meal for myself- a meal that will keep me feeling connected and happy with my body.
This quote by Parker Palmer sums it up nicely, “Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on Earth to offer to others.” Can I get an amen?!
When we put others’ needs before our own, we deplete ourselves and the world of our own unique gifts. Gifts that we possess and are being concealed because of our inability to say “no”.
Give yourself permission to accept the idea that you are the most important person in your life, meaning if you don’t care for yourself, you can’t accomplish your goals or care for those in your life to the best of your abilities. If we are able to take time for ourselves on a regular basis, we also gain the ability to be more present with our friends, children, family, work colleagues and so on.
Your relationship with yourself also sets the standard for all of the relationships in your life. How you treat yourself shows others how you expect to be treated, good or bad.
There is no perfect formula or cookie-cutter answer for what radical self-care looks like. For me, self-care often involves connecting with a friend who is able to speak loving truth to me. For another, this may involve spending time reconnecting with oneself or going to a yoga class.
The first step in beginning a radical self-care journey is reflecting on areas in which we can say “no” more often, beginning to set healthy boundaries, and continuing to foster a loving relationship with ourselves. Writing down these reflections will also allow them to become more permanent, and will provide us with guidance on how to move forward on our own radical self-care journey. Writing down our plans and goals make them more realistic, and we are therefore more likely to continue to follow them when they’re noted and referred back to regularly.
Feel free to download my free Radical Self-Care Plan below to get started with your own self-care practice! The first part of the Radical Self-Care Plan prompts you to consider what boundaries can be established in your life, and the second half of the plan asks what can be brought into your life in order to practice your own radical self-care. Enjoy!
The light in me honors the light in you.