One of the biggest struggle in any environment I have worked in is the lack of attention to self-care. Whether it is a private business or a State/Federal run agency, self-care is almost always pushed to the back burner by many of us and for a good reason.
Human nature and tendencies with societal constructs have trained and molded us to believe that things we do for ourselves, putting our needs first, is considered selfish. By human reaction we have a nurturing need to help those around us, often putting our needs last. This is why accepting self-care as a need is difficult for many people and often comes at a point when they are so far past managing their needs they have a mental/physical break.
I dont want to get into a political or large debate over mental health disorders and addiction behaviors and tendencies. There are always many sides to everything and many different viewpoints. I respect all of them. I do want to say that a very common result of people not taking care of themselves does result in addiction behaviors (drug use/drinking/smoking/over eating). So, what can we do to try and help recognize in ourselves the need for self-care?
The basic principles of self-care can be viewed in a few different categories:
Emotional- This is one of the biggest areas. This goes beyond managing ones own emotional needs but understanding mental health needs as well. Do you cry a lot, often for no reason? Do you feel overwhelmed when you attend large gatherings in class lectures, business meetings or are given multiple assignments with multiple deadlines? Do you have a chronic tightening in your chest or feel like you have pressure on your chest when you try to breathe? Do you have difficulty focusing on a task or paying attention to someone when they are speaking to you (mind starts wandering or your mind is racing in a million directions)?
All of these are emotional needs for self-care. Any symptom should always be spoken with by a medical professional as there could be underlying health concerns that need to be addressed. Addictive behaviors are a persons attempt at managing unmanaged emotional needs. If you had a trauma in your past and it was never processed, those feelings have nowhere to go and so we try to suppress them and numb them often with other substances.
How can magic help ? Magic offers many solutions to emotional needs. Meditation and crystal work can help process the negative emotional energy you might carry from day to day. If you work a ritual of meditation and crystal work into your day to day routine, you can channel and manage self-care of your emotional needs. There are also a plethora of herbs and plant uses for making your own tea/elixir or muslin bag (such as help with sleeping), and oil/extracts (lavender oil on the bottom of your feet before bed)
Employee services-this is becoming more and more widespread in many work place environments as well as educational settings where individuals can access (usually free of charge) self-care services like financial help/legal help/therapy services etc. Do not be afraid to reach out and try asking for help. Try speaking with a therapist and be able to vent and release your frustrations. Talking with someone (can also be a close friend but usually results are better with a non-bias individual trained to understanding triggers and red flags) can relieve a lot of pressure that builds up over time. I stress this every day to many of my inmates, it is alright to talk to someone about things that are bothering you. My clients are all men, and they have a strong stance against speaking with someone they dont know about trauma or things that happened when they were little. These are motivating factors as to why they are how they are today. It is ok to ask for help. You arent broken and you arent weak.
Physical - Physical self-care is also a big factor many of us overlook. This goes beyond being thin or fat. This is about understanding your bodies needs for exercise and having a healthy gut. There are a million different diets out there to try and you can try them all. Some might work some might not. If you know you feel gross after eating a specific food (like dairy) then dont eat it. Feeling good starts with a healthy gut. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before changing anything in your diet as if you are on medication, some foods can react poorly with them.
Exercise is important and not just joining a gym and working out 4-days a week. This is as simple as exposing yourself to sunlight, a big factor in what our bodies need. Go for a short 10-minute walk to your car at lunch, walk your dog, cat, chicken or lizard. Getting outside and moving around even if just a few minutes in the morning and at night can do wonders for your physical self-care.
How can magic help ? Motivation spells are excellent in this area. You can probably feel the motivation and confidence building when you write or cast these types of spells. Growing your own foods is also an excellent way to channel your garden witch vibes while addressing your healthy gut.
Medical- If you have medical conditions always consult your doctor or primary care provider to ask for suggestions to ailments that may be related to your condition. I have Thyroid Disease. I suffer from no temperature regulation and painful scalp. I find that I usually prepare and carry a pull-over with me everywhere, even when its 90 degrees outside. I tried different shampoos, made my own and changed they type of pillow cases I uses and I have found drastic improvement in these side effects. I also experienced painful debilitating cramps in my legs, feet, toes, calves, arches, arms and hands/fingers. Muscles would lock so tight I physically cant move. Turns out my anemia was very bad. So, consulting my Dr. I increased my iron supplement and looked into more iron-rich foods. Within a month these symptoms went away which were almost daily. Remember, everyone is different and every ones body is different. I consulted my Dr. for my specific ailments. ( and no-not Dr. Google) Always check with a professional and once you understand what you need, you can start looking into magical properties to aid you. (in addition to any medication your Dr. might prescribe. Never discontinue any medication without your Dr.s consult and always tell them what supplemental things you might be taking-magic sense)
Here are a list of simple things you are start doing now to address your self-care needs:
-Getting sleep (cant stress this enough)
-Checking your Iron and vitamin D levels
-Be active at least once a day (even if its just for a few minutes)
-Taking mini-breaks (during the day) and mini-vacations (like a long weekend)
-Start teaching yourself about crystal work or even gem-energy
-Grounding work or learn to expel negative energy from you daily
-Start saying no! This is probably the biggest one people have trouble doing. You cannot please everyone and you cannot always take on more tasks. I am a people pleaser and I like to be reliable and counted on so I often take on more things then I should. Put your own needs and limits first, even if it means saying no. No, I am sorry I cant meet you for lunch today, I just have too much going on right now. Or No, I cannot take that client. My caseload is very full right now and I need to focus on the cases I currently have.
It is alright to tell someone no if it means putting your self-care needs first.
-Try therapy. You dont have to keep going. Just give it a go and see where it leads you.
I hope this helps some of you and I would love to hear from people what things (crystals, herbs/meditation or spells) that you have used that have helped benefit you in your quest for self-care.
Some links that have some great advice and resources for self-care:
Self-care is an important aspect to many people (some more than others). It is a vital part for people to take care of themselves, not just for themselves, but for other people too. It is important to realize, not that, but how, there is much that magic can do. Plenty of practitioners believe magic is an aid to help you manifest your desire as opposed to traditions over one hundred years ago when related things were a solution. Many of us believe that our energy & magic can be affected by how we live & how we take care of ourselves. If your room is dirty, you may experience more negativity. Some studies have found that dirty rooms or a lack to clean them comes from depression (which is often viewed as negativity). Certain vibes distract & attract certain vibes. Remember how I said, some more than others? Some people who are more sensitive to cleanliness & wanting to take care of themselves might be more attracted to a positive aspect in life whereas someone who has grown use to clutter may be more attracted to a negative aspect/thoughts.
We also cannot dismiss the numerous cultures that still practice the use of magic as a solution. While we live in a modern world, we cannot forget about them. We must remember the things we have in life and the advantages that we have.
Excellent post indeed! One of the first things that got taught to me was "Physician, heal thy self."
It is difficult to care for others if you are not healthy yourself. How can a person contribute care and energy to others if the batteries are always drained because so much is spent just to keep ones self moving?
It would be like using a dead battery to jump another car. It just isn't gonna happen.