As I write this I’m lounging by the pool of a private villa in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, music playing in the background, fruity drink in my hand and wearing a bikini for the first time in 30 years. Now this is not a normal part of my life but what a perfect place to write a blog on extreme self-care, am I right?
What is extreme self-care, and why is it so important? Extreme self-care is the act of putting ourselves first and integrating daily activities to nurture our bodies, minds, and souls. I say extreme because I want to express just how important this is. Why is it so important? As a massage therapist for 20 years when I wanted to stress this point I would used the analogy of when you are on an airplane and they ask you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before your child. If you don’t care for yourself first, how can you care for others?
By making ourselves the stars of our own stories, amazing things start to happen. Our energy levels go up, we sleep better and our moods improve. Doesn’t that seem like a much better way of life and a much more effective way to care for others?
The biggest excuse I hear for why we don’t do this usually is “I don’t have the time.” Well I’m going to call B.S. on that. It’s true we live very busy lives. I, for example, am a mom and a wife with two jobs– and I’m recovering from shoulder surgery. My life is very busy, and it’s extremely easy to put my own needs on the back burner, but I probably wouldn’t have needed that surgery if I had taken my own advice a little earlier.
While recovering I’ve found myself sitting on my phone, looking through Facebook way more than I ever needed to. I thought this was my “me time,” but I never felt rejuvenated afterwards. I realized this was a perfect time to start some self-care. I put a limit on my phone use and replaced that wasted time with yoga, music, meditation and reading personal growth books.
Now maybe Facebook isn’t your jam. Maybe you stay up too late at night trying to have some quiet time in the house, but when you wake up in the morning you’re dragging because you didn’t get the sleep you truly needed. Whatever the reason you haven’t been making time for self-care, and there are a million, I’m telling you: make the time!
There are truly millions of things you can do to care for yourself, some of which are free and others that might cost money. While I was getting ready for this trip, I took a long bath and shaved my legs (all the way up– not the quickie, half-assed shave job I usually do). I used white strips for my teeth, and I did a sugar scrub so that my skin would look nicer in a bathing suit. I can’t even tell you how much better I felt about myself when I got on that plane. Nothing I did took a lot of time. It wasn’t hard to fit into my life. I just had to make the effort to do it.
What could you be doing to improve your self-care? I recommend sitting down and making a list of all the things that make you happy. It could be painting your nails, taking a bath, or taking a wine and painting class– whatever it is that brings you joy. Make this a priority in your life. The more you do it, just like any other habit, the easier you will find it. (If you need some self-care inspiration, try going on Pinterest. You’ll find thousands of self-care lists there.)
Imagine how amazing you will feel about yourself a month from now if you start right now!
Amanda Holden has been a massage therapist for 20 years, specializing in Lymphatic Drainage massage. Noticing that many of her clients were struggling with autoimmune system issues, she saw an opportunity to expand her services to help people achieve 180-degree wellness. She is certified by the Institute of Transformational Nutrition as a Holistic Nutrition Coach and has created a program to teach women how to reject the diet mentality, love the body they are in and eat whatever they are truly hungry for—all while creating the body they have always dreamed of. Learn more at www.a180life.com.