The Art Of Self-Care: The 5 Aspects to Know…

The Art Of Self-Care: The 5 Aspects to Know

I truly believe if more people knew how to self-care, this planet would be a very different place.

There are at least two misconceptions out there about self-care. One is that it is overindulgent, self-centered, and selfish. Ironically, this idea was likely born not from those practicing it, but from those who lost the undivided attention of others, likely because they themselves lacked the ability to self-care. The other is that it is permissible to do things that help one ‘escape’ from life—to indulge in unhealthy pleasures.

But self-care isn’t selfish, or indulgence. It’s self-preservation. It’s filling our own cup so we have something to offer others. It’s maintaining our own well-being so we can remain poised and balanced in life instead of taking things out on others or over-extending ourselves to the point of illness. It’s showing up for ourselves.

I’ve had the opportunity recently to think more about what self-care actually means, what it looks like, and what it requires. In my own yoga practice, self-care has been my main motivation—above exercise, above flexibility, above achievement. I practice to maintain my sanity, nourish my soul, and increase my resilience to stress.

So what exactly is self-care anyway?

SEE ALSO: Worrying Is An Abuse Of Your Imagination — Here’s Why

Self Knowledge

First and foremost, self-care is the development of self-knowledge. It’s understanding that we are more than just a body that gets hungry, tired, and sore. We have a mental body that needs taming. We have an emotional body that needs expression. We have an energetic body that needs balance.

We also need to know what we value, how to set boundaries, what we like and don’t like, and how to assert ourselves. We need to know what authenticity looks like for us. We need to understand our fears and the root causes of limiting beliefs. We need to recognize what beliefs are ours and which ones were implanted there by others. And we need to recognize, acknowledge and change the beliefs and habits we have that just don’t serve us.

And we need to know what it is to be fully embodied. We need to recognize when something is detrimental to our health or draining us of energy. We need to know the difference, for example, between doing something the hard way and doing something with ease and comfort. We need to understand there are options and then employ the kindest one.

Being Mindful/Attentive

Self-care is developing an inner witness by means of slowing down our pace enough to notice minute changes in our energy, mental chatter, mood, sensation, etc. We can then back up and check out what it was that caused that change. If the change was positive, then we may want to make it a habit. If the change was negative, then we know we have work to do. But it’s also about accepting the things we can’t change with forgiveness and courage.

It’s about noticing the blocks and tensions inside, the unresolved feelings so that we can be present with them and allow them to heal and dissipate. It’s about allowing the over-filled mind to process and empty out all the useless bits of information we’ve picked up. Most importantly, it’s about noticing but not necessarily buying into the narrator of our life and maybe even discovering that our true nature lies beyond any sense of self.

Self-Regulation & Preservation

Self-care is recognizing when we are out of whack and taking steps to bring ourselves back to stasis. When we’re cold, hungry, or tired, it’s noticing what steps we can take at that moment to alleviate discomfort. If we find ourselves over-reacting or taking things out on others, it’s taking a moment to ask ourselves why and then doing what’s necessary to bring ourselves back to a calm, cool, collected state. It’s setting those boundaries we know we need to function despite the needs of others. It’s the proverbial placing of the oxygen mask on one’s self so you can then assist others. It’s giving ourselves a loving time-out when we really just need to curl up into a ball and cry. And yes, sometimes, it might mean a little harmless escapism from the ongoing stresses of life.

Connecting to Resources

Self-care is about connecting to what feeds us and being open to discovering new sources for that nourishment. What makes us feel healthy, vibrant, and alive? Do we feel a part of nature, the cosmos, or life? What beliefs do we hold that inspire and encourage us? How do we connect in our relationships? What’s the give and take? How can we tap into our own inner strength and wisdom? And for that matter, where do we acquire that wisdom, and are we doing so actively? Are we cultivating qualities like empathy or equanimity that we can call on when we most need them?

It’s also knowing that when you are upset, that listening to music always helps. Or that when you have to push through a challenge, having your favorite essential oil on hand helps you relax. It’s developing a ‘toolkit’ so you can get through life’s sticky spots without succumbing to breakdown.

An Intentional Daily Habit of Self-Nurturing!

Self-care doesn’t just happen. It’s an ongoing decision that we make every day. It’s something we must practice, like a musical instrument, in order to get better at it…in order to become masterful. So it’s got to be a daily habit, even if only for 5 minutes a day, like brushing our teeth.

The better one gets at it, the less time it takes to feel the effects, but—interestingly— the more time you might discover that you have to devote to it.


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Beth Ciesco


Beth is a certified mindful yoga teacher, Mirror meditation facilitator, and Grief Movement Guide credentialed in Therapeutic Yoga. Her practice…

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