Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” Actor Ryan Gosling commented on hydration and exercise on The Ellen Show, saying “Once you’re thirsty- it’s too late. You’re already dehydrated.” Self-care is the way we nourish our spirit and our soul, keeping ourselves alive and thriving. Without self-care, we become lacking. Over time we become irritable, restless, and discontent. Clearly, we can see the difference between how we feel and how we act when we practice self-care and when we do not.
Self-care is a combination of two things: actions and practices. Each day we can take different actions for self-care while also engaging in our regular practices of self-care. Distinguishing the two is important. If we make our practices of self-care our actions of self-care, we might not be inclined to regularly take them on a daily basis. Similarly, if we make practices out of our actions of self-care we might lose our appreciation for them and stop doing them.
An action of self-care is usually a hobby, a passion, or a prized activity. Actions of self-care are the ones we take to feed our souls and feel more alive because they are special and unique to who we are. These actions of self-care are what give us the zest of life, and connect us to who we truly are on the inside. However, these actions are not maintenance of self-care we can take every day. For example, we cannot spend our everyday camping and hiking, unless we’ve found a way to make that a paying job. We have responsibilities and expectations in life to which we need to oblige. Actions of self-care are what help us get through those responsibilities- many of which are practices of self-care.
We have daily practices we have to participate in in order to take care of ourselves in our mind and our body, which contribute to our spiritual health. Hygienic practices like brushing teeth and taking a shower are included. Stress management through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, help us regulate our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. We get jobs and show up to jobs. We get into schools and we show up to class. We do the tasks expected of us, complete our assignments, and have accountability in our life. We socialize, we volunteer, we go to recovery support meetings, we exercise, we eat healthy, we drink water, we journal, we go to therapy- all of these things are our practices of self-care.
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