This past weekend I participated in the Looking Glass Foundation’s Hand in Hand Support Training in Victoria, BC. “The Looking Glass Foundation is a caring community of prevention and support for those suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders — and those who love them.” The training was designed to provide people with the tools to be able to work as a volunteer to support someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. Being that this is a path I walked many years ago, I was excited when I saw the opportunity and knew it was something I wanted to be part of.
During the training the topic of self-care and self-love came up. Looking back, I don’t remember these words ever being introduced while I walked the eating disorder path or if they were, they obviously bounced right off me. Ironically enough, through my journey of self-neglect came a slow but steady desire to take better care of myself. After many years of depriving myself came a desire to nurture and nourish myself in ways I never had before. Although that took time, and was uncomfortable at first, I slowly started to realize that I was worthy of my own love and affection.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Over the past five years, I have made a point of prioritizing my own self-care. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where I work seven days a week and/or forget to meditate. It means that regardless of what life brings or how full my plate is, that there is an underlying commitment to taking care of myself. Some days this means lighting a candle when I get home (which doesn’t take much time) while other days it means preparing a face-mask, taking myself out for lunch, having a bath, or reading a book. There are so many forms of self-care many of which you may already practice without even knowing it. While I have looked up several definitions for the term self-care, and would agree with the statement below, I would also be inclined to say that it is any act or action that brings about a state of peace and/or a sense of joy.
“Self care is learned, purposeful and continuous.”
Below is a “master list” of self-care practices inspired by the group training this weekend. It was helpful for me to consider other acts of self-care that I may never have thought of. I would also argue that while self-care can cost money (ie. going for a pedicure or massage), it doesn’t have to (so don’t let that be an excuse!). Many of the ideas below can be done in the comfort of your own home and/or simply in good company.
- drinking enough water throughout the day
- lighting candles at home
- treating yourself to a pedicure / massage / facial
- spending time in nature
- having a bath
- crafting / creating (whatever form that may be)
- spending time in good company
- taking yourself out for lunch
- unplugging from phones/laptops/technology
- taking your dog for a walk
- practising yoga
- buying yourself a bouquet of flowers
- soaking up the sun
- playing the guitar
- traveling / exploring new places
- weekend getaways
- breathing in the ocean air
- enjoying a cup of your favourite tea
“You cannot drink from an empty cup. Fill yourself up. You’re worth it.”