What is Self Care ?
I believe Self Care is an art. It takes practice, dedication and the willingness to find the knowledge, teachers and tools to create your own version of your best you.
Being a Self Care Expert is the most rewarding career you could ever have. The hours are great, they fit in with ANY lifestyle. The training is fun and self paced, although if want to dig deep and get the most out of it you may come up against a few obstacles, a few challenges...reasons not to continue. Yet if you push through and put in the effort the rewards are incredible. And what is even better the rest of the people in your life will also reap the rewards.
Great....so where did I gain my "qualification", what courses did I take, what prerequisites did I need to get started ?
Of course the answer is there is no school, university or qualification in the conventional sense of the word. It is the University of Life I guess. But there definitely is a prerequisite...you first need to believe that you deserve to practice self care. Even if you pretend that you deserve it and then be willing to explore what that might mean for you and what might evolve.
So what makes me and Expert ?
Back to me being a Self Care Expert; why do I believe that I have the qualifications to bestow upon myself this title ? ( note to self, "Must organise self graduation party")
Over the past 12 months my life has taken many twists and turns. You know how some years just go by, nothing major occurs, no real life changing events to speak of, its not a bad year or a good year, just life seems to happen. Then there are those life changing, life defining years. The years with moments that will be etched into your memory forever.
Well, the last 12 months has been one of those years for me.
My husband was offered a position in Queensland after previously being made redundant in another job. We packed up, sold the house and made plans for the big move North. New schools for the kids, new job for me. The week before we headed off my darling Mum fell ill, diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. I was devastated. But all the wheels had been put in motion and there was no turning back. So with an extremely heavy heart and mind we started our new life in Queensland. To put this into perspective, my Mum was my best friend, my rock, my sounding post, we talked, analysed, discussed "stuff" everyday, so to begin this new journey without her in that way was almost too much to bear.
When someone you love so much is diagnosed with a terminal illness the grief starts right at that moment, not when they pass away. My gorgeous Mum passed away 7 months after she initially became unwell.
The reason why I am sharing this journey about Mum is so that I can lead you to understand why it was imperative that I care for myself physically, mentally and spiritually at this time.
I believe Self Care needs to address all three of these areas of our lives.
My 2 children and husband needed me to "be there" for them. My new employer and my patients deserved me to be present for them. So that I didn't slip into a pool of grief and self pity I needed to find a way to nurture and support myself. Its not that I didn't have unwavering support from my amazing husband and friends, and my new work colleagues were very understanding, I knew that I needed to find ways to help myself also.
Natural nutrition and cooking was already a big focus in my life and I knew that my body needed to be well nourished to support me through this stressful period. I made sure that I didn't let old habits of seeking solace in unhealthy "comfort" foods sneak back in. In fact I focused on educating myself even more about nutrition and embarked upon a more Paleo style, JERF (just eat real food) lifestyle.
As the saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears". It was while I was attending Pete Evan's Paleo Way tour that I saw Kim Morrison at one of the trade tables. I knew Kim was the founder of Twenty8 Aromatherapy and Skin Care, I also knew that she was starting a course called the Health & Lifestyle Educator program, and I decided in that moment that I wanted to be a part of that. So to get her attention to speak to her I approached her with a little wave, a big nervous smile and called her "Karen". Doh !!! I would love to tell you so much more about the HLE program and Twenty8 but that will be a post on its own.
Completing this course has started the process of me understanding and practicing Self Care and has enabled me to become a part of an amazing tribe of women who unconditionally support, encourage and inspire me.
Yet this is just one of the "tools" that has allowed me to become an Expert in Self Care. I have started meditating, well really its just breathing, but deeply with my eyes shut and bedroom door shut !! It seems to work. I have also started having chiropractic work done regularly. That seems to work as well. I have also allowed myself the time to read books, listen to podcasts and watch movies that cause me to think more deeply about my spirituality and what that means for me.
So how did I assess that I am now qualified to be a Self Care Expert ?
Firstly I survived one of the most defining, challenging years of my life so far.
Secondly, I now seem to be helping others become their own Experts in Self Care, which in some ways is more rewarding than gaining my own "qualification".
Finally I know I am an Expert because I realise that there is so much more for me to learn, so many more teachers for me to follow and so, so many more people I can help to create change in themselves.
My explanation may be a little bit of fun, yet I seriously believe this has been a year that I will look back on and remember with deep sadness and also utter pride at the way I have learned to love and respect myself. I am really looking forward to seeing what the University of Life has in store for this "Self Care Expert".