Do you believe in self-care (yet)?
Self-care is often the first thing to be tossed out the window when the going gets tough. It ought to be the last.
One of the greatest challenges I face when coaching sensitives is helping them to make a philosophical shift about self-care. Most of us have been raised to believe that prioritizing self-care is selfish, self-centered, greedy, or just plain wrong. We've been trained to put other people's wellbeing before our own.
We can get so involved with projects, ideas, to-do lists, and culture-reinforced busyness that we put off our self-care.
Will it never end?
Here's one concern that many sensitives share: If we start giving ourselves what we need, it will never end. It can seem like we're asking ourselves for an unending stream of constant self-care, and that if we give into it, we'll never get anything else done.
I know, because I've been there myself.
After I left my previous career as an urban designer, I was completely, totally, 100 percent exhausted, burned out, and lost. It seemed like my need for rest and self-nurturing would never end. But I found that as I (sometimes grudgingly) gave myself what I needed, I began to SLOWLY come back into balance.
I find this to be the case with many sensitive souls. We are so accustomed to pushing ourselves to live up to mainstream expectations about what we should be doing with our lives and our time that we utterly exhaust ourselves. Once we've reached a stage of chronic over-stimulation and burn out, we feel despondent. This requires concentrated renewal and recovery to get back to a baseline state.
The good news
Once we do regain our equilibrium, though, and put a good self-care plan in place, being a happy, healthy, and highly sensitive person gets a whole lot easier.
Here's what will happen when you take great care of yourself:
- You'll be able to make the contributions to the world that you are here to make.
- You'll be able to support others from a whole, balanced place within yourself, without feeling resentful -- as long as you don't overdo it.
- You'll feel more resilient. You'll bounce back more quickly from the unexpected upsets of life.
- You'll be less susceptible to stimulation and will recover faster when you do get over-stimulated.
- You'll be more present and responsive instead of being distracted and reactive.
- You'll feel better, happier, and more in love with life.
What does self-care look like?
Self-care for sensitive souls involves some basics that are fairly applicable across the board, like getting plenty of rest, eating well, and drinking plenty of water. We can take it to the next level by refining our diets, schedules, and lifestyles to truly honor our inner guidance.
Here are some things I recommend:
- Eat whole, fresh, natural foods -- preferably organic. Get plenty of protein and avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar.
- Drink plenty of water each day. It keeps our intuitive antenna working optimally as well as taking care of our bodies.
- Get a full 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
- Choose carefully whom you socialize with.
- Choose your sensory input wisely, including news, TV, books, conversations, etc.
- Exercise regularly, preferably doing something you love.
- Play, daydream, rest, and create regularly.
- Have a spiritual outlet, practice, or connection that you engage with regularly. This could mean being in nature, going to church, practicing meditation, etc.
- Take plenty of time alone.
- Have a sane schedule for work, play, family, and rest.
- Practice energy skills and learn to care for your energetic body as well as your physical body. As part of this care, set strong boundaries for yourself.
- Develop a strategy for coping with your inner critic. We sensitives have vicious ones!
- Live and work in high-vibration physical spaces.
- Trust the wisdom and guidance your sensitivity brings you.
- Learn more about how to take care of your sensitive nervous system.
Please give yourself the gift of valuing yourself and your sensitivity enough that you are willing to take great care of yourself. If you have trouble with this notion, consider this: Each one of us has something special and powerful to contribute to the world. If you aren't well, you won't be able to do it. Not one single being on this planet can create or contribute in exactly the way you can. Don't let your gifts languish. The world needs you!
Copyright 2007, Jennifer K. Avery
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This article may be published on your website or in your e-zine as long as the copyright notice and this complete note are included:
Jenna Avery, the Life Coach for Sensitive Souls, offers an original coaching program designed to guide highly sensitive souls to a deep sense of inner rightness, so they are inspired to step forward and shine. You're invited to visit her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com to take her free online assessment, "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?"