Self-care is most commonly referred to as taking care of ourselves in the physical sense like skincare, spa treatments, yoga and other forms of exercise, long walks, etc. It’s a time to recharge.
But what about the care for your soul and spirit? What about that spark inside of you that needs to be nurtured, that can’t be lit by anyone else? The joy and desire that comes from knowing yourself so well, you know what fills your cup. The place where you are doing the things that allow you to enjoy your life and live into your purpose.
Could some of those items listed above, like spa days and exercise be some of those things? Of course, but I want to encourage us to dig a little deeper. Do we have spa days or exercise as a way to restore ourselves from our busy lives in career, motherhood, marriage, partnership, etc.? Or do we do those things because they’re our passion, the place where we are our most creative selves, and that allows us to live into our purpose? Consider that for a moment.
If you’re a fitness instructor by trade, like my incredible cousin Voula (@kickhouse_yorbalinda) or my dear friend Steph Schwartz (@stephaniebschwartz) or my talented friend Eryn (@bloomingtonyogaco) or the beautiful inclusive “all bodies are good bodies” studio The Pilates Hub (@pilateshubseattle), maybe the answer is “hell yes!” Your full-time gig is your soul-filling work. But if you’re working a full-time job and/or raising a family and/or taking care of a household and/or nurturing a romantic relationship, odds you might be doing those physical self-care acts to restore from your busy life. Sure, a sweaty ride on your Peloton or a pedicure may bring relief, relaxation, and rejuvenation. No arguing that! But where I want to challenge us is to think about things that take care of the light inside of us. The things that spark joy, desire, and creativity.
Here are a few examples.
I could list so many more women but you get the idea. Pretty incredible, right?
Now if you’re brain just jumped to a place of judgment or criticism against yourself stop right there! Don’t even venture into the comparison game. Each of our paths to nurturing ourselves is unique and will not look the same as someone else’s. I will never be able to wake up at 4:30 am and I can’t even fathom how to care for four kids and have two careers. Also, this isn’t about creating a new career or a side business. For some of those women, it is, but that’s not to say your path is or will be.
Once you uncover those things that light your soul and fuel your creativity, it is up to you to hold yourself accountable to when you will make the time. It is so easy to blame time as the reason you can’t.
I know I am not alone when I say there have been times in my life that I displaced blame on my unhappiness or lack of fulfillment on anyone but me. There was a season of life where I blamed the city I lived in for my lethargy. Other times I quietly blamed my husband, who appeared to be unaffected by the same things I was. His life appeared easier and he wasn’t held back from doing the things he enjoys. Most often, I blamed working motherhood and its impossible standards to be everything to my job and my son. Who has time to do anything when you’re working for 40 hours a week and then trying to raise strong, wise, resilient children in the other hours of the day?!
It comes down to accountability. It wasn’t a city, a partner, or a career that caused me to feel unfulfilled. It was my lack of care to explore what I really needed and desired most. My light was out because I wasn’t investing in what made it spark.
Now let me be clear. Being in a loving relationship, having healthy, happy children, and a career that provides for my family is sacred. I am incredibly grateful for all of them. And there is more to me than just being a wife, a mom, and a career person. That’s where I needed to invest more deeply.
So, what did I do? I acknowledged that something was missing and opened my heart and mind to possibility. I had no idea what I needed but just giving myself permission that I needed something felt like a win. The “aha moment” came in June 2019 when I was in my weekly Baby + Me yoga class with Jack. There was a poster hanging in the lobby of the yoga studio; Pre/Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training coming October 2019 and January 2020.
It was something I had never considered doing before but I felt it. The spark. A little voice that said, “pay attention to this!” To keep this story short, I went for it and have had no regrets. I made lifelong friends from the training, I enjoyed being a student, I got to expand my own personal yoga practice, and despite the pandemic, I have been able to teach virtually and outdoor for over a year. It’s some of the most fulfilling and challenging work I’ve ever done. I love meeting and supporting new moms in their journey to motherhood, I thrive in the challenge of leading classes and creating routines, and I get to feel that spark every week.
A few final thoughts for you. If you leave this blog with nothing else, I hope you…
What lights you up? How do you nurture your soul and spirit? I’d love to hear what you’re up to!
enjoy some of my fav posts from the blog archives.