Today I want to share a bit about my journey with self-care. I have been prioritizing my health and well-being since I was 16 years old. 16 year old me was focused on aesthetics so I ate “healthy” foods, counted calories, and hit the gym 6 days a week while I was still in high school.  I lost weight and in hindsight, I had a great body.  Accept it was never enough for me, I actually still felt fat even though I went from a 40-inch pant size down to 32. The other part of this was that if I ever ate something outside of my plan or missed a day at the gym I felt like a worthless lump. 

I was teaching boot-camps and doing personal training for others, but still not really believing in myself… at the age of 21, my self-care made a transformation I had been skipping out on the gym for about two weeks. Imaging stewing for two weeks secretly hating myself.  Then one of my aunts asked me to go to a hot yoga class, my response was typical I am sure. I could use the stretch my legs are really tight. 

So I attended the class and found out that yoga could be a total body workout! This was great I felt motivated and attended another class. Slowly I fit my self-care into the yoga model of health… became a pescatarian, vegetarian, and then a vegan. I again attended yoga classes 6 days a week sometimes multiple classes per day. Even though I was doing everything right on the surface there was still this lingering feeling of fear of not doing yoga, or not eating the right foods. 

At first, I was just doing power and ashtanga yoga. I didn’t even know what these Hatha or restorative classes were. One day though I was late to the power class but lucky me there was a Hatha class happening in the other room shortly. The class was slower and more based on mindfulness, at the time my mind said this is not my thing… 

So it was back to power for now… after about two years of yoga I was beginning to experience joint pain in my shoulders,  and knees yoga was not feeling good in my body. Surprisingly I was able to just block out my body’s signals so I could continue to do what is supposed to be good for me. 

My self-care at this time in hindsight was focused on looking good from the outside. Being able to say I do yoga and am a vegan gave me a boost, that yes I am in fact a good person. And still, I didn’t believe it in myself no matter how many people told me this from the outside. 

I made a snap decision to move to Sweden for a year at this time, I got hired on at an organic farm, and got to work hard labor for 8-10 hours per day. I lost my yoga practice because I had to do it alone and I could not rely on the yoga studio and people telling me I am doing good to fuel my practice any longer. So I slipped into a routine of working eating and sleeping with background guilt about my lack of any training, and a worry that I was going to get fat again. 

I had some very eye-opening experiences working on the farm having my hands in the dirt every day. I felt some kind of peace that I had not felt before except perhaps once. It made me feel like I was going to die a sense of inner freedom was so foreign to me that I had nothing to accept death because in a way death is freedom too. 

This feeling was only a taste, and eventually, I came back home with a feeling of not knowing what I should do! Many people in my life were suggesting becoming a yoga teacher. I had the freedom in my schedule and the support to do so financially. So I signed up thinking I would be awesome at this because I could do all the advanced postures.  Well, this was not the case the school I signed up for was focused on slow, mindful, and spiritual yoga… 

This was another opportunity for me to reflect on my self-care, realizing this blindspot of spirituality and listening to my body. I began to slow down and listen to my body and inner voice. The teacher of the course Shakti Mhi brought our attention to the fact the being spiritual is not what is seen from the outside in, but something you bring from the inside out… 

This lead me into a phase of learning and practicing listening to my body, I began to feel a sense of peace in myself the way that I am… the only issue was other people! I had peace when I was alone, but as soon as I was around others their negative energy with throw off my vibe… 

I continued on this path teaching and creating a space for students of inner freedom, focused my classes on breath and slow movements. This was working for me although there is still a lingering feeling inside me that I am not good enough. I just would convince myself I was good enough with my mind… 

It wasn’t until I met the mother of my son that I got shaken out of this habit of convincing myself I am good enough. My inner peace was shaken, and then we soon after brought our beautiful son into the world.

With my son came another self-care transformation I began to prioritize someone else’s needs before my own.  I felt no guilt about not doing yoga or acro yoga. Because I had a son to take care of. I got used to practicing at home and just for me during this phase. I was also getting a taste of what is was like to authentically want to be there and to be responsible for another being… beautiful and challneging… and I will not get into it now 🙂 

After two years take or leave a day or two. I became very comfortable in improvised movement and my connection to myself was becoming very solidified. I had built a relationship with my body I was not just using it to do tasks.  Yet still, I have that lingering something that became anxiety, I knew I was missing something and I still had a feeling of guilt for not being good enough. 

This is when I found out that two elders in my community Vern Shanoss and Sylvia Shanoss offered sweat lodge ceremonies. This was another point where my self-care transformed. They helped bring my awareness to the fact that the self is also my half of the relationships that I share with others beginning with my family, then community, and then to all living beings including the planet. 

Everything starts with taking good care of myself in all ways and not for how it looks but for how I feel. This brings me to where I am at today…  

I have created a consistent daily practice that is 100 percent for me… at the same time, this me includes all my relations so the effects of my practice and self-care are affecting all my relationships. What I am finding is that having a daily recorded self-focused practice is giving me the lived experience that I am there for myself… So I feel like I have space to show up for those I care about in my life.  At the same time, I don’t feel riddled with guilt and shame when I need to ask for support. 

The lingering feeling of not being enough is becoming quieter and when I feel it I don’t believe it for very long I just listen to my body, mind, emotions, and spirit and move through the day from where I am at in the moment… 

 I am watching my anxiety slowly slip away as I vocally speak about it with my loved ones. Almost every day I move through some or all of the challenges you read about in this writing. Accept they don’t feel so real anymore they feel like memories because each day I am choosing to be more accepting of myself.

 This self-acceptance includes my half of all my relations.  

So I would say if I put a word to how I am feeling right now it would be resilient… 

I am curious about what your motivations are for your self-care?

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