There has never been a more important time to practise Radical Self Care than now.
(Reading time maximum 10 mins, make a cuppa, sit down, practise Radical Self Care)
As we enter this new decade few of us can have escaped the knowledge that the human race stands on the precipice of a very different future. We are the generations who will choose which way we go. Will it be one leading to an accelerated end to human life on earth leaving devastation in our wake? Or, will we find a way to thrive and live in harmony with the eco-systems of this planet?
I believe change is always possible, however desiring change and actually making it happen are two very different things. To make changes we need motivation, a compelling reason to do so. Just knowing what we face does not seem to be enough. Many of us still feel powerless to act.
By understanding this expanded definition of self care I hope to, not only inspire you, but convince you that 2020 is the year to practise Radical Self Care. This is a way you can contribute to change on a planetary level.
5 Reasons to Practise Radical Self Care in 2020
1. You will feel better
When we take better care of ourselves we feel better. It’s good to feel good, and it helps us to do good. When we satisfy our basic needs our vitality increases, our moods lift and we have the energy we need to engage with truly living. Life feels easier, manageable and much more enjoyable.
I don’t think anyone actually needs me to tell them how important the basics are. Sleep, stress management, nutrition, movement, connection to nature and others are vital for our wellbeing and health. It’s tempting to try and sort them all at once, especially at the beginning of a new year, don’t.
Don’t try to change everything but instead start with an area of your life where you feel change would have the greatest impact. Start small and think of change as incremental. Take baby steps. Do things which are realistic and manageable and slowly they collectively, will add up to a happier, healthier you.
2. It’s not all about you
The internet is dripping in reasons to practise self care. However, I believe the reasons to practise self care extend way beyond the individual. When our self care is poor it affects everyone around us. The way we show up in the world is diminished.
I certainly find it’s all too easy to slide into negative thinking and engage in unhelpful and unhealthy behaviour patterns. I make mistakes, say mean things, blame and judge. Feeling down and depressed I may even tell myself lies about how I’m not liked or loved and no-one cares. Who wants to be around that? Our tired, run down, uncared for self oozing negativity out into the world, affecting everyone it encounters.
Instead I urge you to practise self care knowing it is a radical act made on behalf of all. By looking after ourselves we are able to contribute something healthier and happier to the wider community in which we all live. When we are well cared for we radiate positivity, kindness, calm, health and wellness. We are making a gift of positive energy into the whole.
3. The planet needs it
As stated above, how we show up directly affects the world around us but it is not just at the emotional level. How we care for ourselves in a very practical way affects the whole planet too.
The products we use, the companies we support, the practices we engage in all have an impact. Many, so called, “self care” products we use on ourselves, our families and our homes actually do harm. They pollute and contaminate during their manufacture. Then their nasty chemicals poison us when we use them and finally they blight our land, waterways and seas when we dispose of them.
Radical Self Care is about making conscious choices, choosing products that support life, enhance eco-systems, nurture our bodies and cause no harm. It is also about ditching many of the things we think we need in favour of home made, locally made or indeed just not using them at all.
4. It is a radical act
We live in societies driven by consumerism and a culture of more. Our Governments still believe in Industrial Growth and measure everything against monetary gain. We are saturated with advertisements intent on keeping us well and truly wed to the notion that to have to have, to do, to visit or to consume to be a success.
Our young are initiated from birth, bombarded and hypnotised by screens full of subtle manipulation that reinforces the norms of this must-have culture. The message, loud and clear – without all this you are nothing – you wont look, feel or be good enough.
I was swept along on this gravy train for years, filling my home and life with “things” and experiences I thought would make me feel better. It’s all a big fat lie. We feel better when we practise Radical Self Care and we are more robust and resilient in the face of all this persuasion. Taking care of ourselves in such a society is a subversive act of rebellion. To say NO to this hideous construct is truly radical.
5. We need your unique contribution
We are all individuals, we truly are. None of us is exactly alike. Our biological, social and environmental experiences create a unique and special blend of human being unlike any other, YOU. Each of us has our own distinct way of understanding and being in the world.
Like the cells of our bodies, everyone of us is necessary and has a particular role to play in the working of the whole. Our lung cells help us breath, liver cells keep us clean, muscles cells enable us to move. So too with each of us, our uniqueness has something special to offer the body of life on earth.
What this means is that the contribution you can make to the changes we need on earth is essential. Your individuality is a necessary part of figuring out how we create a better world for all. To do this vital work you must look after yourself like life depends on it, because it does.
All this is Radical Self Care in action.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde