Buzzwords Abound – What does Self-Care mean to you?

While self-care might feel like the latest million-dollar buzzword, there is something intriguing in caring for yourself. Appreciating yourself. Loving yourself.

As part of my Retirement Transition I’m learning how to be kinder to myself.  I’m working on letting go of the Imposter Complex and the feelings of “I’m not enough”. So Self-Care felt like a great buzzword for me to latch onto!

It feels like everyone defines self-care differently, as so many things can fit under the self-care umbrella.  For me the TOP 5 THINGS IN SELF CARE are:

  • A Balance of Be-ing and Do-ing. I’m a doer by nature. I have “Out & About” as a key area on my retirement lifestyle vision. I plan, have checklists (I think I am a list-aholic!), and worry about an empty calendar. But I also recognize the need for downtime and appreciating the stillness. I add in meditation, journaling, reading, and yoga. I express gratitude for the quiet times….as I frantically plan something to add into next week’s calendar.

 

  • Healthy Habits. Consciously trying to live a healthier lifestyle in retirement is taking care of myself.  I’m not perfect here, because I love food too much. But I do focus on daily movement, eating more fruits & veggies, watching portion size, and getting enough sleep. I’ve incorporated yoga, Zumba, and regular walking into my life, which is a huge change for someone who never exercised while working. And I make sure I do all the regular health checkups – super important as it caught my breast cancer at an early stage.

 

  • Connection. It might be counter intuitive that having connections with others is a part of self-care.   But having a tribe of like-minded individuals who can support me, challenge me, and inspire me is part of taking care of me.  I do have to watch out for the Compare & Despair or the looking (constantly) for external validation. But investing in relationships is a big part of my life…from on-line blogging buddies to long-distance phone friends to IRL friends of all sorts – some friends for a reason, some friends for a season, and some friends for life.

 

  • Self-Expression & Play. From writing this blog to regularly exploring new things, this is another big part of my self-care. It’s doing things everyday that I enjoy…from little moments of pleasure to continuing on my journey into the retirement lifestyle I’ve envisioned.  It’s about saying yes to things I love; and saying no to things I do not want to do and then (trying to) stop worrying that it was expected.  It is about pushing outside my comfort zone, but doing it for me. And not putting things off (a lifetime of delayed gratification) because Today is Someday.

 

  • Practice Positivity. I recently told someone, “I was a meet-expectations, critical-thinking, judgmental, cynic who lived to work.”  Now I regularly practice positivity – expressing gratitude for what I have, doing daily active meditation with my journaling, using my blog as my life coach, and trying to change negative thought patterns. I try and speak more kindly to myself and focus on believing I am enough. (I’ve often been told I am too hard on myself and have too high expectations!).  I am finding joy in the journey of life.

 

I recently made a list (list-aholic, remember) of 31 different self-care practices so that I can find something every day of the month that is focusing on taking care of me.  Self-care is a big part of my retirement lifestyle!

What’s part of your self-care?

36 thoughts on “Buzzwords Abound – What does Self-Care mean to you?

  1. Self-care is such a universal need and such an individual thing. You capture this so well here Pat. Thanks for sharing! I am a Creative Life Coach with a poetry blog and here is my poem today in case you have time to look?

    https://peacockpoetryblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/what-floats-your-boat/

    I am also on Instagram as #coachingcreatively, let’s follow each other if you use this medium? You can also find me on Facebook under Sam Allen wearing a bright red and orange hat!

    I love connecting with fellow creatives as you can see!

    Sunny greetings from Switzerland!

    Sam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks for reaching out. It’s quite interesting as I’ve been thinking about trying to write some poetry…not sure where that came from, but the idea keeps bubbling up! So this was another nudge from the Universe I am sure. I’ll connect on wordpress; I don’t really use Instagram.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Pat – Like the other commenters, I greatly admire your thoughtfulness and candidness in this area. I’m not as good at putting my self-care into words — but it’s there.
    BTW – I’m not sure why I keep missing your posts. I think I will go back in and try to subscribe again. Fingers crossed that this will work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna. I saw a new “now following” from you and wondered why. I think WordPress is doing some things in the background…. I’ve had a harder time with it knowing it’s me on my own site! Ah well, learn new ways to do things. I did this post because I just kept seeing so much about Self-care and it made me wonder…. how do I think about it? That’s the start of many of my posts! I think too much. LOL.

      Like

  3. It sounds like you’re really getting this self-care thing down, Pat. If we all followed this template, I believe we’d be much healthier, happier beings. Key to my self-care at the moment are eating reasonably healthy, regularly physical activity, daily meditation, and spending time in nature. I am working on the connections piece–intentionally making more time and mental space for relationships with family and friends. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, I like the “eat reasonably healthy” comment. The word reasonably really does define how I approach this as well! And if I have a bad day, I start anew the next day. And, your regular physical activity and spending time in nature are quite inspiring (from your own blogging).

      Like

  4. It’s interesting that it’s a “buzz word” when it’s a concept I hadn’t even heard of a few years ago. Now I think it’s one of the most important concepts we have on our to-do list. I also think Midlifers are good at not allowing self-care to become self-centredness because we lean towards being others focused, so turning a bit of that focus on ourselves keeps things in balance. Great post Pat x
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been interesting to see Self-care used so much and in so many different ways. But I also realized I am spending a lot of my time trying to be in this space. I’m getting better at the be-ing vs do-ing, but I was a complete do-er, so anything is an improvement!

      Like

  5. I love your expanded definition of self-care. I have to watch the be-ing and do-ing thing, I am inclined to being doing all the time. This is not a quick fix for me, but I am working on it. I have had a severe case on bronchitis for the past several weeks and I still struggle to let myself take a nap when I am exhausted. It is a work in progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, I to am a do-er. Anything here is an improvement, so I am trying to appreciate the quiet days when they occur. I even try and make them happen now! Not too many though.

      Like

    1. Janet – I am following your self-care A to Z and really enjoying your take on it. I had this post drafted when you began your theme. I almost waited to see if I could see how your elements might fit, but you’re definitely having a different take. Isn’t it wonderful how we are all so different and can learn from each other?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You seem to be blossoming in retirement. I know that I don’t really ‘know’ you and certainly didn’t know you when you were working but it seems to me that you are settling into who you really are/were meant to be with this chapter of life. I like the idea of incorporating one of 31 healthy practices into each day of the month. I still struggle to remember to floss. Why is that???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie, I also think I am blossoming in retirement. I certainly like myself more. (And yes, I am a different person than I used to be. ) And just to be clear, I’m not incorporating every one of the 31 things in every day. It’s more a list of ideas for when I’m feeling a need for more self-kindness. (And no, I don’t floss everyday either.)

      Like

  7. My “self-care” is focused mostly around physical health. I am an amateur nutrition/biochemistry buff, so I am really conscious of the critical importance of diet to health. I try to be careful 90% of the time while still leaving room for enjoyment. I have also developed a carefully chosen regimen of vitamins and supplements targeted at my specific biochemical deficiencies. My biggest vice is the fact that I love wine and probably overdo it a bit in that department.

    I also go to a personal trainer 2x per week which has kept me very strong. I recently was able to do 48 push-ups in one minute (full push-ups; not modified). Not too bad for an overweight 63 year old! I would like to lose about 35 pounds, but I have not worked up the motivation to climb that mountain just yet. I would like to get to 225 before my 65th birthday, so I probably need to put that plan in place soon……..

    I also recently added melatonin to my supplement regimen which has helped immensely with making my sleep higher quality.

    I do indulge in golf regularly in good weather. This is both physical exercise since I always walk the course and enjoyment since I live the game so much. It is also a way to connect with friends since we play as a foursome.

    The other thing I do to connect with others and also satisfy my inner artist is to sing in a church choir. We sing from September through May. This year, I am also joining a summer choir group just for a chance to meet other like-minded singers that I would normally not work with.

    Finally, I am a confirmed Words with Friends addict. I play regularly to keep myself mentally stimulated.

    If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will! Be your own advocate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot to mention that while I don’t live in doctors offices, I am not averse to doctors either. I make it a point to get an annual physical, keep up with immunizations, get a colonoscopy as needed and if something is out of whack, go see a doctor.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Bob, I was intrigued that you say you “indulge in golf”. Is self-care indulgent? I don’t think so…. so therefore, golf is not indulgent. It’s necessary for you – being outdoors, connecting with others, a nice walk. OK, golf would not be necessary for me – frustrating perhaps, not necessary. I do walk & talks with friends, so similar concept …. we just don’t try and hit small balls as we do it. BTW, I’ve become a daily crossword addict myself (Enquirer). And you ended it perfectly, If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will!

      Like

  8. Hi Pat! I think you intention to practice regular self-care is awesome and probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And it does fit with your need to plan because it is far too easy for most of us to just go about our day and not include it. By scheduling it, we create a habit. That’s what my husband and I did with meditation (we started 9 years NINE YEARS! ago) and still do it every day together. Some days I’m all over the map in my mind, other days I am deeply connected. It doesn’t matter how long you do it really, what matters is that it matters to you. I also have been doing my “morning pages” five days a week for about 20 years (TWENTY years!!!) and I can’t imagine life without it. I walk nearly every day with my dog and I’m also trying to include yoga regularly. So yes, I do a lot of the things you recommend. I think the big thing for me is finding things that fit easily into your life. If you like doing it, and feel the reward, I’m much more likely to continue. Thank you for the reminder that we all need to practice self-care. ~Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathy, I’m still working on the mediation (it’s not a habit yet), but I am also a dedicated morning pages person. Wow… 20 years? Curious … have you kept your journals from all those years? I’m wondering what to do with mine… I’m now into my third year of this habit, and also cannot imagine life without it. A few times, things got busy and I missed a few days and I started to feel out-of-whack. I believe my morning journal is an active mediation for me! In Florida, I seem to be able to do more daily dog walking… it fits in the rhythm there. Still trying to work in more regular daily movement versus sporadic days here is Ohio! I often write my blogs to remind myself of things!!

      Like

  9. Self care for me is evolving…right now it is focused on healthy eating, moderate exercise in the form of brisk walks daily, and mindfulness meditation which is new to me…hoping to deal with anxiety in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, Meditation is new to me as well and I’m not feeling like i’m doing well with it yet. While I love my morning journal as an active meditation, the quiet breathing, mantra type of meditation is just not working for me yet. What is mindfulness meditation?

      Like

      1. Hi Pat,
        I’ve downloaded a free app on my phone called Smiling Mind…it’s Australian so the guy you listen to has a nice Aussie accent! Anyway, there are lots of different exercises to try. I am using the breathing exercises and the body awareness one the most. I find I have to have something to guide me or I just don’t focus well. Still a work in progress.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Self-care translates into being my own best friend – speaking kindly (non-judgmental self-talk), expressing emotion, balancing work/play & activity/rest, preparing tasty & healthy meals, communing with nature, planning for the future, asking for & accepting help, letting go. Some days are diamond.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your definition of speaking kindly to myself. I’ve been reading recently that to be less judgmental about myself, I need to be less judgmental about others. Something I’m trying to do. I love your list on “being your own best friend”!

      Like

  11. I’m doing a lousy job with self-care right now. I need to exercise and be more disciplined with my diet. It’s easy for me to justify my bad habits by disguising them as “self-care” but I’m only fooling myself. I love my hobbies and I have enough of a social life to keep me happy. I’m also extremely diligent with regular medical, dental and vision checkups. Just need to stop making bad choices with my diet because I know I will feel better about myself in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Healthy eating is a huge challenge for me. I love all the bad stuff. My biggest improvement is having a really super-cute small snack bowl that I fill. No more eating directly from the bag/carton. And having more fruit and veggies in the house – fruit bowl on the table, bad snacks out of sight in the pantry. Helps a little. But I do believe every little bit helps! And tomorrow is another day to try again – on both healthy eating and more daily movement.

      Like

  12. Healthy eating and walking have always been part of my self care, but I’ve added meditation to my routine (though lately have not been consistent). Meditation has been a lifesaver to me when I was stressed in the beginning days of retirement. It has helped me ease up on myself, relax, and even sleep better.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m ridiculously stressed at the moment with balancing the day job and finishing my new novel and self-care is going out the window. For me it’s being active ie daily walking and some alone time. I often need to separate from everything, even my family, as the noise in my head gets too much and I can’t hear myself think. I am, however, on holidays for 2 weeks in exactly 2 weeks, so there is light at the end of that particular tunnel. Balance or even relative balance is what I need to actively strive for.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to patwdoyle11 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s