Welcome: Pre Course Material
Day 1: Nourish
Day 2: Gratitude
Day 3: Savor
Day 4: Movement
Day 5: Boundaries
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Self-compassion
What is the course going to do for me?
If you engage fully in the curriculum, at the end of the seven days you can expect to experience increased feelings of presence, calm, and contentment.
This course offers a gentle introduction to daily self-care practice. It will help you acknowledge the importance and benefit of self-care on your overall well-being. My goal with this course is for you to recognize that self-care doesn't have to involve a large investment of time or finances; it's simply about discovering and engaging in regular activities that replenish your energy and bring you happiness. My goal is also for you to recognize that you are valuable, and worthy of taking time to care for yourself.
This course will guide you in one self-care practice each day. The practices will cover the emotional, spiritual, and physical categories of self-care. You will engage in “the basics” which relate mostly to the physical aspect and include things like: nutrition, hydration, exercise, quality sleep and rest, and boundary setting. You will also explore “tuning in”, which is tapping into the emotional and spiritual self and involves things like journaling, reflection, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Guidelines for the course
- Do it. It’s all too easy to sign up, do one or two days of the course, then decide you’re too busy and drop it all together. I’m inviting you to and supporting you in making the decision to commit to doing the course. You matter. This time for you matters. Your thoughts will try to convince you otherwise, every single excuse and barrier in the book will present itself. Acknowledge those thoughts, but don't give them power. Choose to show up. Choose to make the commitment. You’ve got this. You’ve really, really got this.
- Schedule it. This will help tremendously with guideline 1 above. Get it on your calendar and make it non-negotiable. Treat it exactly the same as everything else on your schedule that you tightly adhere to.
- Turn off your phone. Seriously. Turn it off. This one is crucial. Tuning out from the stimuli of our devices is integral to fully experiencing self-care with mindful presence.
- Engage in written reflection. This in and of itself is self-care. Try to give yourself a few minutes after each activity to unpack and reflect on the reactions, emotions, and sensations that are coming up as you care for yourself.
Because you cannot pour from an empty cup. We convince ourselves that we can. Powering through might work for a while, but the truth is, it’s not sustainable.
Self-care is the act of refilling, replenishing, and revitalizing our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy so that we’re able to give energy to our relationships, careers, and many other aspects of our daily lives. When that energy is drained, yet we keep trying to pour, we end up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, apathetic, depressed, and irritable. The more we continue to try pouring energy from that empty cup, the deeper we get pulled down into those difficult, painful emotions and thought patterns. It can start to feel incredibly difficult, even impossible, to get out.
I have experienced it myself. White knuckling through the overwhelm, the never-ending to-do list, the pressure of expectation. I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no relief; like there’s no way to make time for self-care. I know what it’s like to feel unworthy and undeserving of self-care. And I know it’s possible to grow and make a change. I have experienced the tremendous impact of small, daily acts of self-care on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
That is why I created this course; to prevent or help pull others out of that hopeless thought spiral, and offer a gentle introduction on ways to intentionally care for yourself.
Here’s a list of more reasons to practice self-care...
- Enhances overall mood
- Promotes and supports feelings of self worth
- Increased self awareness and self regard
- Improved well being and lowered stress
- More energy for daily activities
- Improved quality and depth in relationships
- Sharper focus on goals and desires
- Better productivity
Why don’t we do it?
Not enough time.
Self-care does not have to require a lot of time. Pausing in your car to be still and take three deep breaths before going into your meeting or appointment is self-care. Going for a ten minute walk first thing in the morning is self-care. Turning off all of your devices every night at 8pm is self-care. We are resourceful and creative beings, which means we are experts at creating time for things that are important. The time is there, we just have to make it an essential, non-negotiable priority.
Not enough money.
The multi-billion dollar self-care industry would like us to believe self-care involves spa days, shopping sprees, 6-hour Netflix binges, and wine tastings so it can continue to make a profit off of our need to escape. Those activities can be good in moderation, but they are often used as a means of escaping the life we have, rather than doing consistent practices each day to help build a life we don’t have to escape from. They also tend to be reward based, and contingent on whether or not we’ve been doing “good” or “enough” to earn them. Self-care is a responsibility, not a reward. We are worthy of it all the time, whether we’ve gotten enough checked off our to-do list or not. These activities also aren’t viable options for those with low-income. So while some self-care activities we choose may require money, there are many beneficial self-care practices that don’t cost anything, and those will be the focus of this series.
Social conditioning tells us that self-care is selfish, but that is simply not the case.
Many of my clients, particularly those who have been raised as women, often say, “Well if I take time for myself, I’ll be taking it away from my kids, my spouse, my job, etc. It feels selfish. ”
Self-care is not selfish.
We cannot pour from an empty cup. We cannot show up fully for the people in our lives when we’re completely drained from giving all of our energy away.
Selfishness involves lacking consideration for others; being solely concerned with one's own personal profit or pleasure. Engaging in self-care does not mean we don’t care about anyone else, or that we’ll suddenly stop caring about our families or jobs. It is exactly the opposite. Self-care provides us the opportunity to extend better care to the people and projects most important to us. We are more present, calm, empathetic, and happy throughout all our interactions when we consistently and intentionally take care of ourselves.
Engaging in self-care means offering ourselves presence, kindness, and compassion; which comes with the added benefit of being able to offer presence, kindness, and compassion to others with greater ease and abundance.
In order to care for ourselves, we must acknowledge that we are worthy of care; that we are worthy of giving ourselves kindness, rest, and comfort. This is often a difficult and eye-opening realization when beginning to engage in self-care. Many discover that their overall sense of self-regard is very low, and because of this they have not been very kind to themselves. This discovery can be painful, which is why the practice of mindfulness and self-compassion is so important. It allows us to experience the full range of our emotions, including pain, with openness and curiosity, which reduces suffering and promotes healing. If you are struggling deeply with self-worth, I strongly encourage seeing a mental health professional to support and guide you in rebuilding positive feelings toward yourself. Remember, there is no shame in seeing a mental health professional. Your healing matters.
Why are these practices relevant? Why do they work?
There is ample scientific and research based evidence that self-care practices such as movement, mindfulness, journaling, and rest benefit our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The practice of engaging in physical activity that bring us joy as a means of self-care have shown reduced symptoms of anxiety/depression, reduced stress, and an increase in overall emotional equanimity.
MSC is an incredibly powerful tool for emotional resilience. It increases feelings of overall connection and kindness both toward the self and others. It also reduces suffering when facing life’s many difficult circumstances and human emotions.
Mindfulness and meditation are practices that have been around for centuries. Research has shown time and again its benefit to our emotional and mental well-being. Decreased symptoms of anxiety, add/adhd, depression. Increased empathy, compassion, happiness as well as increased ability to process emotions and let go of negative thoughts. “Meditators reported significantly higher levels of mindfulness, self-compassion and overall sense of well-being, and significantly lower levels of psychological symptoms, rumination, thought suppression, fear of emotion, and difficulties with emotion regulation, compared to non-meditators.”
Intentionally preparing food for ourselves and eating mindfully helps us to reconnect to our innate wisdom about hunger and satiety. The practice nourishes the physical body, as well as the heart and soul. It also empowers us to make healthier choices, without the deprivation and physical/emotional damage of dieting.
Journaling allows us to process our thoughts and emotions. It also decreases symptoms of anxiety/depression, improves memory, boosts creativity and enhances overall mood.
What can I do next, after the course?
Rinse & Repeat: Do the course again. And again. You have access to it indefinitely, so continue to use it as a framework for your self-care practice.
Team Up: Find a close friend, relative, or loved one to be your accountability partner in self-care. Make a self-care plan together, share your practices, check in with each other, and engage in some self-care activities together, such as conversation over a cup of coffee or enjoying a walk together. We tend to stay motivated and have more success when we have a support system.
Boundaries: Continue to practice setting and keeping boundaries to maintain your self-care practice. If you notice those boundaries sliding, check in with yourself. Re-establish boundaries where needed. You aren’t a failure if your boundaries slip. Be soft with yourself and start again.
Continued Growth: I have added several podcasts and books for you to continue learning on your own. I would also encourage you to join my email list, so you can get direct information about upcoming courses I offer. There are many ways to continue developing these practices; it is an ever evolving, lifelong journey.
Therapy & Professional Support: I strongly encourage, if you are able, finding a mental health professional to assist you in working through any trauma, mental illnesses, or otherwise significant emotional pain you may be dealing with. Self-awareness and inner work can lead to the uncovering of difficult thoughts and emotions related to life and trauma. You don’t have to work through it all on your own. There is nothing shameful about going to see a mental health professional. Your healing matters.