A conversation between friends . . .
My name is Bernadette and I am 68 yrs old and my name is Ruth and I am 70 yrs old. Just recently we decided to have a conversation about what self-care really means, and could it really change the way we lived if we took time and care to honour ourselves as a woman first, and not put ourselves last in line, before we insert self-care practices into our daily lives.
So, our conversation began! Self-care, what does this truly mean? Is it just time out to have a quiet, candle-lit, oily bath, or is it about giving ourselves regular time to exercise, or is it about having regular manicures/pedicures, or is it about going to lunch with our girlfriends? The list could go on and on but deep down we felt that to truly develop practices that would enable us to care for, nurture and love our bodies then there must be more to it than just doing the things noted on our ‘to- do’ list.
Bernie: What happens when we choose to look after our body and listen to what it is telling us?” If we stop to feel the tiredness, the anxiousness and become honest with how we are truly feeling in every moment – would this support us to self-care? If, and when, we connect to our fragility, our gentle nature, our delicateness – would this be true self-care? This would be honouring of our self as a woman - making our body our best friend instead of bullying it to do what is on our ‘to do’ list.
Ruth: Could there be a relationship between self-care, good health and wellbeing? Maybe we need to place more importance on our daily choices of living and, in turn, just how these choices could then impact on our health and wellbeing! We read and see on the media that many diseases are now recognised to be lifestyle related and there seems to be a growing awareness of the relationship between how we live, our lifestyle and our health.
Bernie: Yes, have we looked to those outside our selves, the ‘authority’ health figures, celebrity role models and women’s magazines to tell us how to be in the world? What if we lived from the inside out, and trusted our own awareness and inner knowing, and listened to our bodies to communicate with us how we are feeling, what needs to be said or done in each moment, and how to nurture and care for ourselves in a loving way?
Ruth: Perhaps, in learning to look after our body and listen to what it is telling us is not really selfish at all. Perhaps, true self-care is not about just ‘ticking the self-care box’, but about the connection between our body and our true self. I wonder if without honouring this connection we are selling ourselves short from experiencing the immense support and change that self-care brings not only to our own lives, but also to those around us.
Bernie: I can see just how self nurturing reflects our deepening relationship with our self. This idea of self-care, which is learning to live from the inside out rather than looking to the outside world to tell us how to be seems to be a worthwhile idea to take on board. I’m pondering on some ways to begin caring for my self. Some of the choices I could make include:
- Allowing time in the day to prepare a healthy lunch and then sitting down to enjoy the meal instead of
grabbing a sandwich on the run.
- Being aware when I am driving my car that I am not in a rush but take the time to be courteous and
gentle throughout the trip, and of course, keeping my car clean and tidy would also reflect a self-care
- Putting myself to bed at night in a loving tender way – going to bed early rather than sitting up watching
TV when I really don’t want to watch any of the shows.
Ruth: OK, you have thought of some good ways to start your self-care practices. I have been pondering on some ways I could add nurturing myself into my daily life. Some of the choices I could make include:
- choosing to allocate time in each day to meditate or walk or whatever supports me to be still and
centred and to enjoy my own company.
- Going to bed around 9pm will allow my body to replenish itself according to its natural rhythm. I
can then take that refreshed person to others and whatever I am doing the next day.
I am beginning to see that self-care is an awareness, a way of being and living that is personal and always unfolding. It is much more than a prescribed set of ‘things to do’ and I am beginning to accept that the relationship between my daily life choices and my health and wellbeing is true.
Bernie: I am beginning to understand that there is no “one size fits all” prescriptive recipe for self-care, but there are common elements that everyone will want to incorporate into their own self-care rhythm, albeit in a style and manner that is just right for them. The path of self-care is a never ending daily development, and one that lays a foundation for self-nurturing and self-love.
Bernie and Ruth: When we embrace self-care and self-nurturing it is amazing how our relationships with our self and others are deepened and valued. We have more appreciation for life and we see the potential and opportunity in each and every person and the opportunities for learning presented to us each and every day.
True self-care provides an integrated foundation for a remarkable quality of living – and it is certainly not selfish to build this foundation and this quality of living.
Ruth: Next time we meet to have a conversation about self-care, let’s explore all the myths and untrue beliefs and let’s talk about what it means to put in place true self-care and self-nurturing practices, so that we do in fact build a foundation for a remarkable quality of living life.
Bernie: Yes, that would be great to expose those long held beliefs that used to fuel the little voice that kept chattering away in our heads, the one that says "How selfish! Remember to put others first!" Let’s make sure we never hear it again!
Bernadette C. & Ruth A., Australia