Chinese Five Elements Theory follows a five-season cycle. Each season corresponds with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) and supports, nourishes, and prepares the body for the next season – creating a constant cycle of wellbeing.
Self-care has become a popular buzzword, but what does self-care mean to you? Just the other day, I noticed someone on social media saying self-care was a dirty word. The mainstream media has a lot to do with this. Their version of self-care perpetuates the idea that it’s luxurious, self-indulgent, time-consuming and expensive.
At State of Liberty, we believe self-care is a way of life. It’s a form of preventative health care – a way of honouring who we are and what we need in order to thrive and live our best lives. It’s accessible and available to everyone. Self-care is simply caring for yourself and advocating for your personal needs.
Approaching self-care in a gentler, more holistic way allows us to embrace it as part of our everyday lives. It takes time to introduce new practices, but they gradually become a seamless part of life, rather than an extra thing to do.
There are lots of small self-care practices woven into my day. Most have evolved over time and are adjusted regularly to suit the seasons or my current needs. Examples include cooking and eating nourishing, seasonal food, moving my body through yoga and walking, maintaining healthy boundaries, and making time for rest, meditation, journaling, and weekly intention setting.
These self-care essentials help relieve stress, create ease and understanding, and build resilience against unexpected challenges. It’s not always easy. I have to structure and plan my day to prioritise and include these things, but when life throws me a curve ball, it feels good to know I have an existing toolkit of supportive practices to fall back on.
Self-care is very individual and will look different for everyone; what works for one person might not work for another. We all have different amounts of time, money, resources, energy and space; but whether you’re dedicating a few moments a day or longer periods of time, it all adds up to create a sustainable wellbeing lifestyle.
For introverts, self-care can involve setting aside time to rest and recharge after tiring social situations. For extroverts, it can be setting the intention to regularly connect with friends.
For those suffering with a chronic health condition or a long-term illness, self-care can be as simple as finding the energy to shower and dress that day.
For mothers, finding time for self-care can be tricky and guilt ridden. It’s often a juggling act that requires support from partners and friends, but prioritising your needs enables you to have more energy and be fully present for your family.
For freelancers, it can be hard to switch off, especially when working on a passion project. You believe the to-do list should always come first but taking a break from long work days can renew your inspiration and focus.
For professionals in high-pressure jobs, working in an environment that doesn’t obviously support wellbeing can make it tricky to navigate and prioritise your needs. Self-care might involve being brave enough to communicate these needs to colleagues so you can become more effective at your job.
While our basic self-care essentials will differ, they’re vital for all of us, creating a healthy, stable foundation for everything else in our lives. Deciding to tend to your own needs means you’ll be ready to face the world refreshed and filled with energy and ideas. You’ll also enjoy a greater capacity for work and the care of others.
It’s important to regularly reconnect, not just with yourself, but with your home, your food, your sleep, your breath and all your essential, non-negotiable acts of self-care. One of our recent home retreat participants found that her friends thought a retreat sounded very ‘hippy’. She quickly pointed out that all the practices we encourage are normal, everyday, basic human needs such as eating, breathing, sleeping and moving. It made me wonder how many of us do these things automatically, missing out on extra benefits we’d experience if we approached them in a more mindful, intentional way.
It’s a healthy practice to regularly ask yourself, ‘what do I need?’. Checking in with yourself, shifting your daily routine, and adjusting your basic self-care essentials helps build a healthy foundation for your wellbeing lifestyle.
What are your essential self-care practices?
Love the SOL team xxx