For some of us, when we hear this word, we brush our hands to the side and think it is not important.
For some of us, we might think this is a foreign concept not one that we empower or understand.
This week, during a private horse retreat I led out of our beautiful retreat center, a man---coach, leader, TED talk speaker---came and spend 3 days with us.
He was seeking clarity on his purpose, a quest for a vision, a call to be with horses.
He was not a horse man. He didn’t grow up with horses. He was a man seeking clarity and his intuition said to come here.
Often what happens in these retreats is that people come with one agenda and another one emerges.
For this man, from the first day what became a theme was the theme of self care.
When we don’t recharge ourselves, we run on exhaust fumes.
We are constantly depleted, unable to give to ourselves, our dreams, our responsibilities, our businesses and our families.
We are not in service of anything in these places.
The horses mirrored for this man during his retreat the essence of care. The herd lay down, stood silently, and created a space for him to recharge.
Horses understand the necessity for self care and the indulgence of listening to when we need rest, or to eat, or to pause. As prey animals, if they do not tend to their energy, they will not have anything left if a predator comes by. For them, it is essential to their survival. It is for us as well.
Stress, depression, exhaustion, worry are all and can be parts of our daily lives that we have come to simply just accept as part of life. But we don’t have to do that, and truthfully, it doesn’t serve us when we do.
We spoke about how to integrate this into his life. He shared with me that he realized this retreat was for this purpose, to have space, time to care for himself.
The clarity that was found was this...
Until he created space to tend to his needs, nourish his body, mind and soul, the clarity he was seeking couldn’t come to him.
Self care is not a frivolous act. It is not something we cannot afford.
Self care is an essential ingredient to our well being, worthy of being listened to and being integrated into our lives.
Self care promotes wellness. It gives us energy; it recharges us.
Self care needs to be a part of our day and tended to. It needs to meet our needs holistically, from our spirit to our body.
There is a great article on Psychology Today that gives ideas to ways we can hold our self care as an example.
The Chopra Center also wrote a great article breaking down all elements of self care you can read below.
What I find important is for us to listen to what self care looks like to us, to be fluid with it, taking time to ask how it wants to be held instead of assuming, or imposing what it is.
For me, self care is a way of being. It is a mindful way of being in relationship with my whole self. It is listening to my body needs, to my mind, emotions and to my spirit, having daily check ins, listening to my rhythms, creating space for all pieces of myself to be tended to.
I asked this man on his last day to sit with how it was going to look like to integrate self care into his world, and to remember the purpose behind it.
It is our mind and our beliefs that keep us from tending to ourselves, telling us stories that we don’t have time, or we can't afford it or that it will take away from our responsibilities. But we have to challenge those beliefs because they are simply not true.
Self care empowers your process. It allows you to have energy for your responsibilities. It doesn’t have to take all day; it can be intermittent moments that blend in your day, 10 minutes. But we have to realize that we can’t afford not to.
I encourage anyone who is reading this to really listen to where this is hitting home. Depletion, hustle, being unwell is not a badge of honor we can afford to wear.
Self care can be moments in your day, and giving yourself a few days every quarter to recharge. Our retreats are perfect for honoring that time for reflection if it calls to you. (Read about our retreats here.)
Listen to what you are being asked to hold for yourself and make it priority. A simple shift in how we hold ourselves and our care can go a long way.
And if you are curious to hear about this man’s account of his time here, you can watch his testimonial below, and also get to meet our dog, Luca who inserted himself into this video.
If this resonates for you, feel free to share it, or comment. I love hearing from our community.