I think the words “self love” and “self care” sound a bit…limp. Less than inspiring. Boring even. Like…oh great, another “thing” I need to do. AMIRIGHT? But here’s my hack. Add the word “sacred” as a prefix and suddenly, I’m more interested. Sacred Self-Care sounds like something I can get down with. It doesn’t feel mundane or laborious or weak-sauce. It sounds DIVINE. And IMPORTANT. And SPECIAL. And LUSH.
And it IS.
OUR DOUBLE STANDARD FOR CARE
If I loaned you my favourite sweater would you spill coffee on it and wear it threadbare and carelessly launder it with your dishtowels and socks? No. You’d look after that shit (you better! Ha.) You’d attend to it with care. You’d probably handwash it with some special hippie soap made with essential oils and place it out to dry it in the sunshine. (You’re my kind of people.) Then you’d fold it nicely and put it in a bag to protect it before returning it to me. Probably with some chocolate to say thanks. Right? (I reaaaally like you.)
And yet, we treat our very own bodies and minds – our most sacred possessions – with very little loving care. We leave ourselves last. Filling up our own cup as an afterthought, not a priority.
PEOPLE. This is all kinds of messed up. In fact, it’s straight up backwards. Filling up our own cup last is like building a house from the roof down. There’s no foundation. No stability. And yet this is how we’ve learned to do it. So is it any surprise that we have a culture of women and men who are weary with adrenal depletion, exhaustion, overwhelm and burn out?
DON’T DOG YOUR DIVINITY
Look, if you subscribe to the fact that you are part of a cosmic divinity – whether it’s that you’re made of stardust or that you’re connected to the cosmos or that some God or Goddess had a hand in your creation – who are you NOT to take care of your divine self? Who are you to wear down your divinity with no maintenance, no conscious care and no love?
As Danielle LaPorte so perfectly put it, “self-care is a divine responsibility.” WORD.
When we reframe “self-care” as a sacred act we give ourselves permission. Permission to recognise how important it actually is. Permission to prioritise our own wellbeing as divine beings. Permission to ditch the guilt and actually enjoy – even be proud of – taking care of ourselves.
SACRED-SELF CARE DOESN’T SUCK
This isn’t about regular trips to the dentist and keeping your nails trimmed. This is about giving ourselves the opportunity for rest. This is about massages and soup and warm cups of tea. This is about meditating every morning, or journaling your feelings. This is about sitting in circle with sisters and speaking your truth. This is about slowing down. Reading an actual book. Painting something. Asking for help. This is about moving your body and feeding it well. This is about listening to your body when it needs more sleep or less socialising. Or honouring your mind when it needs less screen time and more down time.
SACRED-SELF CARE ISN’T SELFISH
I’ve sometimes battled with feeling selfish and guilty when I get a massage instead of spending the afternoon with my kids, or when I do yoga instead of attacking my inbox. This is normal, because our culture has trained us NOT to look after ourselves. I have found it to be effective to short-circuit that response with this reality check: when you fill up your cup, you have more to give. Sacred-self care gives you the resources to show up as your best self in your life (versus a frazzled, exhausted, impatient shadow of yourself). And when you’re moving through life as your best self, that means you can truly be of service to those you care about.
PERMISSION SLIPS AND ACTION PLAN
Break the cycle of exhaustion by giving yourself permission right now to look after your divine self. What fills up your cup will be different from person to person. So make a list of 5 things you know light you up, fill you up, top you up and restore you. If you need help, here’s a peak at my list: meditation, yoga, early bedtimes, massage, acupuncture, baths with epsom salts and essential oils, beach walks, oracle cards, chanting, ritual, afternoons with friends, soup, lemon and ginger tea, reading actual books made of paper, writing, making art, being alone.
So go on with your divine self and get some Sacred-Self Care happening in your life. YOU DESERVE IT.