In moving towards a place of healing and harmony, there are three main tenets of self care to always remember which I call the “3 R’s”. Yes this triad of R’s exists for school (reading, (w)riting and, (a)rythmatics) and for the environment (reduce, re-use, recycle) and I have one for self care!
- RID: To start off you want to rid your life completely of the things and patterns that aren’t working for you. Make a list of what you feel is causing tension, stress, and dis-ease in your life. Get rid of what you can. This might be very easy – like getting rid of a pillow that hurts your neck. Or it might be more challenging but doable such as quitting smoking. Likely this will be your smallest category. Why? Because completely deleting or changing is the most challenging aspect of how you interact with your patterns. Your work might be causing you stress, but likely you can’t just stop going to work.
- REFORM: Once you’ve identified what you can get rid of, look at those activities you can’t get rid of but which still cause some problems. Modify or alter those patterns that you can’t completely get rid of but make them work better for you. This could be switching from a purse to a fanny pack to decrease shoulder tension or learning to sit in a chair better so your back doesn’t hurt. This will be a huge category. There are many activities and habits you do in life that you can’t (it’s hard to avoid chairs but you can use them more effectively) or don’t want to completely get rid of but you want to reduce the amount of impact that you get from the activity.
- REMEDY: This last step is for those things that you cannot change or modify or for the residual tension you get despite your best efforts. This is what you use to treat the remaining symptoms and tension. Maybe a super yogi can live without creating or feeling any tension but I would guess that even they benefit from an occasional massage and stretching! For the rest of you, getting through life with no aches, pains, annoyances or tension build ups is slim to none. This is where you use specific stretches to work out kinks in your neck or shoulders. This is going to get bodywork or getting a boost of chi from your acupuncturist. These are the tools you use to bring relief to the pain and treat the symptoms that are there.
Do something for yourself everyday and prevent stress overload. Pay attention to how you are using your body in activities and use that mindfulness to create less tension. Then fill your self care tool kit with activities that work most effectively for your unique needs and fit your personality.
Finding time to support yourself is critical for your mental and physical health. You must recognize and acknowledge that taking care of your self is important and has value. Doing something every day for yourself will keep you feeling nurtured and nourished and enables you to not only get on with the more mundane aspects of your life but support your journey to healing and harmony.