How Do You Practice Self-Care?

*This post is sponsored by Chesapeake Bay Candle.

Last month I hosted my second wellness workshop.

I’ve mentioned holding these workshops before — usually in a Life Lately post — but haven’t gone into too much detail.

I have a running list of post topics, goals, and other random tidbits relating to this blog that I don’t want to forget. Last year I included a sentence about having get-togethers, but didn’t take much action on it.

All of a sudden as the summer approached, I felt the need to put my goal into action. I wanted it to be more than exercise and swag; I wanted people to connect and talk about things that aren’t always talked about. So far, each workshop has started with a different form of physical activity. June was yoga, July was high-intensity, and August is leaning towards meditation.

The greater part of the workshop is focused on a specific wellness topic where everyone is able to share their ideas with each other or simply listen if they want. June was about our relationships with food and last month’s topic was self-care.

Chesapeake Bay Candle // balance + harmony

Waterlily pear scent: The combination of juicy tropical fruits, ripened peach, and delicious pear rises through the soul of this harmonious fragrance. Fresh petals of rose, violet, waterlily and cyclamen dance around watery greens and creamy coconut. Add a sense of balance to your interior and bring the outdoors in as sandalwood fuses with the green foliage and subtle rosewood.

I wanted to talk about the popularity of self-care in the media and the tons of articles listing things like “take a bath” or “listen to music.” Those things are great examples, but I felt that they weren’t taking the time to address the why behind self-care.

For me, the most important thing in a self-care ritual is my mindset going into it. It’s taking the time to ask myself what I need at that moment to feel fulfilled. If I take myself into an act of self-care thinking about what I need to get done tomorrow or how I’m stressed out, that act is going to do little to nothing to help me take care of myself.

At the workshop discussion I heard great comments from people who mentioned the types of self-care acts that go deeper — from removing toxic people from their lives to standing up for themselves at work. It was a great discussion I believe everyone was able to get something out of.

My inability to practice caring for myself started decades ago when I made the decision to put others before myself. Being a people pleaser meant that rather than stand up for myself, I would over-commit, agree with what others said, and avoid confrontation at all costs.

This meant that I was unable to take the time to learn who I was and therefore know what I needed to feel fulfilled. Even if I had an idea of something I wanted to do to care for myself, if it was in conflict with a friend or significant other, I would ignore it.

These days I’ve learned that I am the most important person in my life. If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to show up and care for other people. It’s that fact that helps me remember that self-care isn’t selfish, but a necessity.

Here are some of my top ways to practice self-care. Let me know some of yours in the comments!

Read a book 

Chesapeake Bay Candle // peace + tranquility

Cashmere jasmine scent: Fresh clean and airy notes of lily of the valley and bergamot do not betray the relaxing nature of this fragrant aroma. Escape into the comforting arms of exotic jasmine, cotton blossom and rose as they soften the atmosphere. This peaceful floral combination pleasantly rests on delicate cashmere woods, white musk and sandalwood.

Reading is something I love and something I don’t make nearly enough time to do. It’s easy for me to make excuses as to why I can’t sit down and read — I need to hang out with Neil, we need to go to sleep early with Donut, or reading in the afternoon makes me sleepy and will disrupt my day.

I know I’m practicing self-care when I read a book because I really need to carve out time to do it. Saying no to activities or telling Neil that I need an hour to read at night means that I am actively listening to what I need and making time for it.

Light a candle

Chesapeake Bay Candle // focus + patience

Tobacco cedar scent: Find moments of wellness and restore your ability to focus with the calming and inspiring notes of black tea, cinnamon bark and cedar, wrapped in smoked birch and musk. Nurture your mind and body with good intentions and let this noble earthy fragrance slow down the pace of life and add a sense of patience.

One of my top self-care acts is lighting candles. It’s a small act and because of that, it’s something that I can do more regularly. I have a bit of a candle-buying problem that I may have inherited from my mom, but there’s something about getting new scents that makes me so excited.

This new Mind & Body collection from Chesapeake Bay Candle has scents for whatever mood I’m in, from reflection + clarity when I need some quiet time to joy + laughter when I find myself in a really good mood.

I love when the seasons change and I can buy scents that are more fall or winter specific. That is my absolute favorite time for candles and pretty much any other routine I carry out at home for me involves a candle somewhere.

Take a nap

I used to think that naps made me lazy and I was being unproductive. Then I realized that the more tired I am, the lower quality work I produce. Because I have a more flexible schedule, it affords me time to take a quick nap and get back to work.

Buying flowers

I love fresh flowers. I don’t tell Neil to get them for me because I figure if I want them, I can buy them. If I’m shopping and see a bouquet I really like, I’ll buy them along with my groceries and set them up right by my computer.

Exercise

I enjoy exercise. I enjoy it enough that I made it part of my career. With long days of training and writing, however, it can be tempting to skip those early morning workouts and get some extra sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to my body and if I really need it I will stay home, but most of the time I enjoy the ritual of getting a workout in first thing in the morning.

This has caused its fair share of arguments with Neil because he would much rather me stay home and sleep than wake up while it’s still dark and leave. Luckily, he understands how important it is to me and I’m able to stand my ground on it, which makes me feel like I’m doing a good job taking care of Erin.

Chesapeake Bay Candle // love + passion

Grapefruit mango scent: A young love blossoms with blushing peach nectar, sparkling orange and tart grapefruit. Notes of tropical mango and juicy berries are wrapped in a delicate floral bouquet capturing the alluring feeling of a new romance. Creamy coconut, vanilla, and sheer musk add softness and poetry to this colorful voyage of love and passion.

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6 Comments

  1. I really do agree with you about your mindset. I think it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s to make to do lists so I feel like I’m being productive, or just watch Netflix. I don’t think there’s any shame in it if it makes ME feel better! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com
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  2. August 17, 2017 / 12:22 pm

    Self-care is hugely important. I used to struggle with it, because if my needs were different from my partner’s needs, I would think I was being selfish, lazy, too energetic, etc. It wasn’t until around this past April when I told myself that it’s okay to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

    If I need to go to the gym after work for a quick workout and dinner is half an hour later, so be it. If I need to say no to a planned outing because I’m just not feeling my best, so be it. If I need three mimosas at breakfast, SO BE IT.

    <3
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…Life Lately 8/9/17My Profile

  3. Melanie (aka Mom)
    August 17, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Looks like my candle secret is out 🙂 Yes, you came by that one honestly (so did your sister and brother)! I can also relate to putting myself last on the list, and it is an extremely difficult habit to break. Things were easier when I was doing them for someone else – “doing them for me” never seemed to be a good enough reason…

  4. August 17, 2017 / 5:40 pm

    I LOVE candles! They are def a part of my self-care routine. Exercise, healthy eating and prayer are other things I must do to feel like myself. Great post.

  5. August 17, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Love this! I don’t remember where but I read this thing about how if you continually put others ahead of you, you’re basically not only making things worse for you but also for them. No one is happy because you feel resentful for having to neglect yourself, and they don’t feel like you’re doing what you’re doing out of love and care, but rather out of obligation. So yes, self-care is DEFINITELY important, and not just the cliche kind. My fave methods are reading, breakfast dates with friends, treating myself to my favorite iced coffee, and setting aside time most days of the week to move my body.
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…Restriction Disguised as Food FreedomMy Profile

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