How The Simple Practice of Self-Care Can Help Overcoming Depression And Burnout And Lead To Self Love
I remember when I first heard about self-care in 2013.
I didn’t know such a thing existed.
I didn’t know that you can do things for yourself with the explicit intention of caring for your own needs…!!
I didn’t even know that what I was feeling was called overwhelm and burnout. I just knew I felt so exhausted and miserable all the time, and I felt nobody cared about me. The truth was that it was me who didn’t care about me. But I had no idea. Learning about self-care changed this.
It gave me a mirror where I could start to see me and pay attention to me. It was such a relief.
I learned that I had a feminine side and began to understand what my feminine side was about. The feminine in us is our ability to care for our needs, nurture and nourish ourselves, and realise that we do need time to ourselves, to replenish our energy especially in an emotional and mental sense.
Self-care was an enjoyable activity, giving myself a long hot bath, asking myself what I truly want and giving it to myself, even if it was just a small thing like eating cake with no guilt but pleasure, or having a long lie-in on a Saturday.
All of these ‘little’ things led me to the next layer of my self-care journey: learning to prioritise. This means you don’t just have self-care ad hoc, but you choose to make space for it.
You tell your loved ones that you will do things for yourself.
You will take care of yourself purposefully, to relax, to raise your mood, to enjoy yourself.
You put yourself first, and it is all just for you.
This step required me to do some inner healing because I had to make peace with a lot of feelings that putting myself first brought up for me, like feeling selfish or guilty, or realising how hard I used to be on myself.
Through this process of healing, and now with regular, planned self-care, I went another layer deeper. I was actively cultivating self-love, actually loving myself for who I was. That’s when all that conscious self-care is making a real deep and permanent impact finally for us. We begin to realise how deep and life changing self care could be as we consciously grow its impact:
You are starting to feel things for yourself.
You start to feel you deserve this, you deserve so much.
You start to appreciate yourself.
You begin to treat yourself with more gentleness.
You begin to choose only what’s best for you.
You begin to give you MORE.
Truly and deeply learning to love and accept myself has taken up most of my self-care journey. I am still a work in progress because there is no limit to how much you can love yourself but the love I feel for myself has filtered into every part of my life and results.
And as a results this self-care journey yet again evolved. I began to reclaim my feminine powers and the phases of my womanhood through ceremony and ritual. This was a whole new world.
Having ceremonies is a deep, transformational and beautiful layer of this journey. They are allowing us to reconnect with forgotten traditions our female ancestors used to have but got erased from our daily lives.
I discovered the moon cycles and their meanings, and moon rituals. I discovered my own cyclical nature as a woman and what a change this brought me.
Ceremonies allow us to celebrate our female journey. That’s when you really start to sense a new side of yourself. You’re re-writing your story as a woman.
Ceremonies taught me that there are actual phases to a woman’s life, through which we grow and mature into who we are.
Have you thought about the fact that starting our monthly cycles is a one time event in our lives that changes our bodies forever? Reclaiming the celebration of this event, called menarche, taught me to love and respect my body deeper than ever before.
Our first relationship, motherhood, marriage, divorce, our children growing up, menopause… These are all rites of passage in a woman’s life and they all worth a ceremony to honour what we go through.
Sitting in ceremony with myself or together with other women has brought so many revelations for me and unimaginable ripple effects.
Ceremonies are the deepest self-care practices allowing me to nurture and nourish myself through challenges and happy times.
Ceremonies allow me a chance to work through things, integrate the learning and transformations life presented me with.
Ceremonies are deep acknowledgements of our femininity. Through ceremony, we learn to awaken and follow our desires and pleasures.
Exploring my desires and pleasures prompted further inner healing in me.
Healing any old shame about being a woman, dissolving old beliefs about what a woman can or cannot desire, and old beliefs about how women are allowed or not allowed to feel pleasure.
The words themselves, pleasure and desire, caused me to feel embarrassed. It was like somebody caught me doing something dirty by just thinking about these words.
After a lot of exploration, I realised that I was disconnected from the feelings and meaning of these words because there is an outdated societal meaning attached to female desires and pleasure.
Emotions like excitement or sadness we could all freely experience, but I consciously needed to re-introduce myself and practice feeling pleasure. I needed to detach the old sexual and sensual judgment layered onto these words and redefined them.
I needed to normalise these words and sensations and dissolve the shame attached to them. And yes I am still talking about self care here when I am talking about connecting with our desires and pleasure.
Allowing ourselves to feel and follow our desires is the deepest self-care and self-love. It is self-acceptance.
Following what brings us pleasure is our ability to create and birth anything we desire. Isn’t that what ultimately life is about, being able to create anything we desire? Being able to live a life that is full of joy and pleasure?
If I didn’t learn to care for myself, love myself, would I have ever gotten here?
This journey from self care to fully stepping into my creative feminine powers through desire and pleasure has been an evolution of self and it continues to unfold and expand. It empowered me as a woman.
I learned to trust my body-wisdom through my cyclical nature and my desires so deep that it is a strategy I follow in life and to grow my business.
You can follow this path of self-care too. Start by identifying from this list where you are already on this journey, and what your next step is:
- Discover the concept of self care and begin to practice
- Learn to prioritise and put yourself first to have more regular self care
- Let go of feeling selfish or guilty for putting yourself first and nurturing yourself
- Dive deeper and cultivate self love through your practices.
- Explore the roles of ceremonies and rituals and connecting with other women too
- Consciously cultivate your femininity and reconnect with the phases of your womanhood
- Extract the wisdom from the phases of your womanhood
- Heal any shame and old beliefs about your femininity
- Reconnect with the powerhouse of your creativity: desire and pleasure
- Open up to following your desires and innate creative energies.
- Learn to integrate them into your daily life and use it as your strategy.
If you would like more information, tips and inspiration for this journey, you can explore my Self Love Circle.