Self Care and Ahimsa

With everything going on in the world right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about how important it is to practice self care. That may seem like the opposite of what is generally thought; most people think about how they can help others in times of tragedy and distress. But while helping others is commendable and necessary, I believe that if you are unable to find your own inner peace and compassion, it will be a lot harder, if not impossible, to transmit that others. Self care is not selfish. It’s not putting yourself before others. Self care is simply giving yourself purposeful time to nurture yourself and in doing so, progress your physical, mental and emotional health.

I understand that people are busy and sometimes your day can escape you and next thing you know, you’re in bed without any intention of leaving until morning (especially here in New England – I feel like everyone is so impatient and just go-go-go here compared to other parts of the country). But imagine if you had homework everyday to just do something that makes you happy and feel good. It’s not homework; it’s not required, but it should be! A lot of people practice self care by going to the gym, taking your dog for a nice, long walk or even napping. But self care is also the little things, like cooking a favorite meal, taking a relaxing bath, lighting some scented candles and cozying up with a good book. It can be anything you want that makes you feel healthy and relaxed that you deliberately make time for.

My therapist once told me that the next time I reflect back on one of my past traumas or basically anything huge/sad/difficult that’s ever happened to me, I ought to try to acknowledge it without judgement. The few days after that, I realized just how often I was looking at those past events with guilt or anger or shame. It’s not just past stuff either; there are plenty of times that I’ll catch myself being mean or way too hard on myself. Lately, I’ve been using the principle of ahimsa to help get me through the areas of my life with a lot of negativity and judgement. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word meaning “non-violence.” It represents the physical, mental and emotional forms of love and benevolence. I think in a perfect world, everyone would practice ahimsa every day. If you start with changing how you speak to yourself and how you treat yourself – with more kindness and compassion –  it will be a lot easier to treat others the same way. I think we can all think of that one person in our life that always seems so incredibly happy all the time; nothing can bring them down for too long and they make you feel really great about yourself. That person’s goodness and vivacity starts from within.

In case ya’ll wanted a few more of my awesome self care ideas… here are a few others 😉

  • Practicing yoga
  • Unplugging from electronics and the internet
  • Singing out loud
  • Organizing and decluttering your living space
  • Meditating
  • Going on a scenic drive with awesome music
  • Complimenting yourself
  • Journaling
  • Writing down things that you are grateful for
  • Going on a hike
  • Taking yourself out on a date
  • Treating yourself to something you’ve had your eye on for a while
  • Baking a yummy treat
  • Drawing, painting, or crafting

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