It's February. Can you believe it? We are entering the month dedicated to love and so I would like to spend some time exploring this theme and how yoga philosophy can help us understand a deep self love.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. Oscar Wilde
I love this quote because it's infusing the idea of a "romance" into the relationship you have with yourself. We normally think of a romance as happening between two people. But, when we start to think about the relationship we have with ourselves as a romance we can dig a little deeper into the meaning of love and into how we treat ourselves. In a romantic relationship, we care for another person. We tend to their needs. We do things to make that person happy and feel loved.
What if we started to direct these kind actions, words, and feelings towards ourselves?
We often judge our own selves more harshly than we would others. This can lead to habitual negative thinking, stress, anger, and depression. I find that when I think about taking care of myself just as I would take care of my husband, or my son, or a loved one, I tend to let go of the self-judgment and I can live with a little more ease in my day to day life.
As it relates to yoga, self-care can mean doing the practices that most serve your body and your mind. There are so many different styles of yoga, and types of meditation and it's up to each of us to find what's right for us. Utilizing a slow and restorative yoga practice when we're feeling depleted can be nourishing. Feeling your edges is a big topic we often discuss in our Unfold presentations. Learning when to push your body to become more active, and learning when to back off and be more gentle is part of taking care of yourself. Just as we do this on the yoga mat to prevent injury, we also need to do this in our personal lives so as not to overwhelm the mind.
Self-care and self-love can be so simple, but most of us put these things by the wayside in order to tend to others. Or, we just get caught up in the routine of our lives that we forget to carve out some time to ourselves.
Most of you know that I have a 15 month old son. I've seen my self care change over the past year or two. I know it can be very hard to take the time to honor what your body and soul may need at any given moment. Here are some tips that may help you when you feel your self care battery is draining:
Instead of carving out a whole day or several hours, this year i've found it handy to do little things here and there. A 15 minute face mask is an easy way to pamper and refresh. Pick up some flowers while you're grocery shopping anyway to beautify your home or office. Keep a bottle of essential oils handy in your desk or purse to open up and smell when you need a pick-me-up.
Go get that massage by a professional. Stop in for a pedicure. Don't feel like you have to do everything yourself. And don't feel guilty for not wanting to. Help is out there, seek out what you need.
Express when you're in need of some help. This has been a big one for me. If I'm feeling worn out or mom'ed out or whatever it may be, I'll try my best to openly discuss it with my husband and he'll often suggest I get out to the gym to take some time by myself. And while I'm at it, I'll hit up #1 and stop in the steam room while I'm at it.
Like with most of the techniques we teach, these things are simple but not always easy. Make a commitment this month to take some time for self care. Maybe it's just a few minutes each day that you spend breathing deeply. Maybe you go schedule a massage for this month. Maybe you buy yourself some chocolates roses and wine and have a date night with yourself! Test out a few things this month to honor the season of love, and then pick your favorites and commit to doing them throughout the year. Believe me, yourself will thank you!