Updated: Jul 26, 2018
As a Life Coach, one of the most common homework assignments I give to my clients is to practice self-care especially when our session was very raw, deep, and emotional. The question that I most often get is, “Ok, but what IS self-care? How many times can I apply a mask to my face in a day?” Silly to think about, but this question helped to realize that ‘self-care’ has become a hollow phrase without a true vision of what it means to take care of yourself. You see it everywhere on social media, in mom groups.. “how’s your self-care?” they ask mothers. “Oh you know, when I can, “ she says as her mind drifts to think about how she can’t get a moment alone from the kids to use the bathroom in privacy.
The main goal of a self-care routine is to maintain your center and realign with it when you get knocked out of center. What does “being centered” mean? You know when your favorite song comes on the radio and you can’t help but to shake your booty to? By the chorus it has you moving so freely you’ve tapped into some ancient moves resembling a primal dance around the fire? Ok, maybe that was a bit extreme, but you know what I’m getting at. In that moment, the song has taken you to this timeless place where all you feel is joy in your physical expression of the emotion and energy moving through you. I call this feeling when we “feel ourselves”. There is no resistance within us, only pure elation of living in the present moment of joy and bliss.
You know when you are just feeling yourself so strongly nothing can get through to you? This is being in our center. In this place we are so connected to whom we are that we radiate it boldly like a beam of light. This light radiation is what connects you to mother earth and to the universe above. It protects you from negative thoughts, feelings, and entities that want to feed off of anything negative. By rooting yourself in mother earth and to your center, that feeling when you are grounded and centered, becomes your touchstone that reminds you of who you are, your purpose, and your divine nature- connected with the Universe. This practice allows you to let go of what you are allowing to bothering you- which is causing resistance or negative self-talk (we’ll get into negative self-talk in another article).
There are four main expressions of self: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. Let’s take a look at what self-care looks like in these categories. 
Physical Needs: Safe Housing and environment, Eating Healthy, Exercise, Sex, Sleep, Vacations/Relaxation, Outlet for Destressing, Massage/Reiki, Bubble Baths, Intimate Touch (snuggling), Turn off cell phone, and “me time”.
Mental Needs: self-reflection, therapy, coaching, journal, self-awareness, aromatherapy, draw/paint/craft, relax in the sun, live music, garden, read (a self-help book), join a support group, focus on your positive qualities, practice asking and receiving help
Emotional Needs: Affirmations, self-love, self-compassion, cry, laugh, Say “I love you” to yourself and to someone you Love, watch an uplifting movie, call or hang out with a friend, spend time with animals, practice (self) forgiveness.
Spiritual Needs: self-reflection, go into nature, observe a religious practice, find a spiritual community, self-respect, meditate, sing, dance, play, get inspired, yoga, play with children, bathe in a body of water, pray, find a spiritual mentor, volunteer for a cause, practice (self) forgiveness.
Now that we know some solid examples of what self-care looks like, the next step is to assess which ones seem to best fit into your lifestyle. I would like to gently remind you to choose things that take you out of your comfort zone just a smidge. After all, we are making positive changes for ourselves and our lifestyle. Out with the old and in with the new!
Ask yourself these questions: 
· How do I challenge myself and take steps to achieve my personal goals and grow in my skills?
· How do I feed, groom, exercise, receive touch, rest my body on a regular basis (solid schedule)?
· How do I practice gentleness and grace with myself? Do I accept my imperfections?
· How do I set aside time to express myself in creative ways?
· How do I feel heard in my primary relationships? Am I speaking up in a way that people can hear me?
· How do I connect with the Universe on the daily basis? How do I choose to honor my Spirit?
Take the time to deeply reflect on what it is you already do to practice your self-care. Where can you make the practice more solid? Do you need to schedule yourself the time? Make a minor change to your routine so that time is made for your self-care practice? Here’s the thing, you’re “never gonna have the time”, you must first find the value in why you are doing this for yourself so that you make a conscious effort towards practicing your self-care.
Here’s a quick exercise: place one hand over your heart, the other hand over your stomach, close your eyes, take a few deep belly breaths and think about your intent.
What are you wanting to achieve by enabling your self-care practice? What are you wanting to let go of? What do you want more of? What is limiting me from doing this?
To round off this part of the article, your homework is to write this out. Answer all the questions posed in this article, and start to lay out a foundation for what your self-care practice will look like daily, weekly, monthly. Meditate on this, ask for your angels to assist you and honor yourself in this process! Part two will be about Goal Setting and Time Management where we will create a schedule (as tight or loosely as you feel comfortable with) that will help you to prioritize your self-care routine.
References and some awesome Ideographs to help you get in the mindset of how you can write out what your self-care routine looks for you.