Updated: Sep 4, 2019
It can seem awkward to say you need to take care of yourself when you so used to saying and doing it for others. Often when we have been carrying a heavy load of stress it can seem strange to suddenly have freedom from it. It is entirely possible to be unsure how to respond with that freedom even when we’ve demanded it and wanted it.
Our bodies go into the fight or flight mode so quickly when there is stress or potential harm. This in itself is positive because our instincts keep us safe from harmful situations but long term if we never find that “safe zone” our bodies never stop producing the cortisol that feeds that fight or flight feeling. When that happens we end up with things like:
Obesity from emotional eating, thinking we must stock food in our bodies for future needs
Adrenal fatigue that wears on our bodies ability to rest and recover so we feel sluggish, tired, overwhelmed and stressed
Sleepless nights due to overthinking, stress, running thoughts and nightmares
Chronic anxiety, depression, stress disorders
Physical illnesses like colds, flus or potential long term diseases
Sometimes we don’t even realize we are in a fight or flight mode because we are so used to feeling stressed that it feels normal to us.
This is where self-love comes in.
Intentionally Stepping Back from the Go-Gos
You have an endless to-do list, things that won’t get done unless you do them and demands for your time and attention all around you. I do too.
Somewhere in each of our days we must find that time to intentionally step out of the madness and focus on our needs. That could mean simply taking a few minutes to put something nutritional in your body versus processed sugar or foods.
For me, it means taking more breaks in my day where I get away from my desk and home responsibilities and do something for myself. Wow that sounds hard even just typing it so I get anyone else who’s reading this saying the same thing.
My point is it doesn’t have to be elaborate or time consuming. At any minute we can simply focus on what we need support our bodies, minds and hearts just on ourselves we are practicing self-love.
Here’s some ideas I’ve come up with to try myself:
Eating lunch away from my desk 2 times a week – I realize what I’m putting in my mouth when I eat and work is not working for my body
Taking a walk with my dog or tossing her toy in the backyard – she is my work buddy now that I get to work from home and I want to honor her love for me by going outside with her more
Reading a book – I love to read but often I get sucked into a tv show or playing on my electronics and before I know it I need to get to bed for work tomorrow
Taking a bath – I love reading in my tub. It’s like a pure luxury to soak in hot water filled with bubbles and salts and a saucy paperback. I don’t do this nearly enough for myself
Eating a vegetable – I love veggies! But how often in a rush to get something on the table for the family do I skip including a veggie no one but me will eat?
Building More Self-Love in Our Days
I believe (or am hoping) that once we start practicing even the slightest self-love to ourselves we will gain some momentum to keep adding to it. It will feel so good we will crave more.
I am the first to admit there will be days it will feel impossible to do anything more than brush our teeth but on those days we can give our teeth the best brushing they deserve! Acknowledge that care to yourself and know that whenever a moment strikes you will do something else nice, good and healthy for yourself.
In advance of writing these self-love posts this month I started experimenting with essential that support times when I’m focusing on myself. I wanted to try myself what would work so I could give you worthwhile recommendations to try in your day.
Geranium – is a hope flower. This showy bloom inspires hope that good things will come. Using the essential oil of this flower when applied to our heart and in our facial moisturizer helps us hold onto that hope that we can create hope and work towards those good things, in this case giving ourselves more time for self-love.
Lavender – I grow lavender in our backyard and anytime I go outside and smell it I want to smile. It is a great aroma that tells me everything can be ok for right now and I can start to see good things around me. The essential oil of this delicate flower does that in a more direct way and I can use year-round to recapture that feeling. Applying lavender essential oil on your feet bottoms, elbow creases and back of the neck help deliver the message it’s ok to slow down and look for the beauty around you.