Why saying "no" more is the self-care you really need but never tried
With all of our pledged resolutions still relatively fresh on the brain, I’ve been thinking a lot about one that tops most people’s list every year: self-care.
While most that prioritize it, according to stats, are referring to things like weight loss, exercise and getting enough rest, I find myself drawn to contemplating it a little deeper. What does it mean, really to be engaged in self-care? Does it actually extend beyond physical commitments? How do we know if we’re getting it “right”? How do we measure our effectiveness? Why should we care?
For a long time, I too thought if I was managing my sleep schedule, staying hydrated, eating right, maintaining a gym regimen, balancing the demands of my schedule, engaging a spiritual practice, throwing in the occasional massage and some fun time on the side that I was successfully engaging in meaningful self-care.
Then just last year, after having stepped away the previous year from my 17+ years in private counseling practice to supposedly regenerate, I hit a wall. I found myself in a space where my childhood neighbor who was a lifelong friend was dying; my career vision was blurry, my creative expression was suffering, and to make it all even more dizzying, a “grey” relationship I’d tolerated well beyond its expiration date (because it at least provided some comfort) was working the very last nerve I had.
In my best attempt to steady myself during this painfully confounding time, I did what we often fall into when in a place of panic – the insane dance of doing more of the same with “kicked-up-a-notch” intensity. More yoga, more meditation, more fitting into clothes I love, more massages.
Yet the truth of the matter is, of all the self-care routines I practiced at that time with devotion, I discovered that what worked for me was unhinged from the popular concept that self-care is about indulging more of what makes us feel good. It wasn’t what I said yes to over and over again that made a measurable difference – the kind that you excitedly tell all your friends about. It was what I said a “hard no” to that allowed me – for the first time in a long time – to demonstrate to myself that my needs were worthy of attending to.
When you don’t believe or forget that you matter, self-care sadly becomes a mute point.
Can any purposeful and comprehensive conversation about self-care be had without talking about self-love, self-worth, self-inquiry, self-definition? You can “Om” every eleven minutes, and evict your worries inside the generous sanctuary of prayer every time you kneel. But if you can’t stand up for yourself in situations that cause you to betray your needs, are you really practicing what I like to call radical self-care?
A recording artist, author, celebrity lifestyle expert and instigator of personal revolutions for the past 16 years, Neycha’s hip and progressive healing modality known as The Crossfade™ has made her a favorite among celebrities, 9to5ers, artists, rebels and everyday people who seek to remix reality and radically reinvent their lives. Visit her website today for free music and more rebel insights to revolutionize your life! Follow Neycha on Facebook, Twitter @Neycha or Instagram.
Like God, politics and success, there is no one meaning of self-care that will work for all of us. Nor should there be. It is a matter of what works for you – not informed by the court of public opinion, but discerned from a journey inward that no one else can take, define or give value to but you.
To radically care for ourselves as a sacred path and practice is to honor what our souls request of us. Do you?
This article originally appeared in Essence.
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