Before I became a counselor, I don't know how I would have defined “self-care” or if I would have even been able to. It didn't take long after starting my first job in the field to quickly be made aware of how important self-care would be to my effectiveness, sustainability and satisfaction in this profession. If I wouldn't have been forced to grow in this area, I probably would have continued to treat my body as a possession that I could use to serve my needs as opposed to a precious gift that could be taken away at any time.
We go through our daily lives multitasking and using our bodies to do so many things without thinking about them, if your body required you to stop and think about everything you did, you would be bogged down and overwhelmed. We owe it to our bodies that give us the ability to operate so effortlessly – to check in and care for them.
It is easy to take our bodies for granted if we have never had an experience that teaches us not to. If we don’t take the time to check in, we run the risk of running ourselves into the ground. Of course there is no way to prevent discomfort but, the more you can be in tune with your body, the more you can create a sense of peace and contentment residing in your own skin.
My yoga teacher often refers to one's body as a “life partner” and encourages her students to lend their attention and compassion to their physical self as they would a significant other. I've always felt this was a helpful way to think about how we relate to our body and to assess how we are doing in regards to being a good “partner.”
As we enter the new year, I invite you to take the time to reconnect with your body, your old friend who's always been there for you.
Things you might say to your life partner: