I just returned from leading a self-renewal retreat for women at a new retreat center in the Midwest. The beautiful women I gathered with from Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Missouri were all at different life stages but shared the same desire: to reconnect with who they are, to live more intentionally and to experience more joy in daily life.
How do we do this? By making our self-care a priority. The practice of nourishing ourselves is much more than scheduling an occasional massage, it’s about attuning and responding to our needs and desires, moment to moment. When we shift our relationship with ourselves to be kinder, gentler and more compassionate–our relationship to everything and everyone around us shifts.
The practice of self-care has affected me profoundly over the last 14 years–as a wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur and creative being. By regularly putting my well-being at the top–rather than the bottom–of my to-do list, I’ve cultivated the ability to:
• regularly slow down, check-in and ask “what do I truly need in this moment?”
• live more intentionally and make choices that nurture me inside and out
• have more energy, take better care of my body and have much greater acceptance and ease around aging
• be more connected to myself, my family and to know how to “find my center” when the going gets tough
• be a much better parent; most of the time I can go with the flow, little things don’t have to turn into mountains
• own my personal power, speak my truth and develop an unwavering allegiance to self (read Do you abandon yourself?)
• practice self-compassion, and self-kindness which allows me to feel more generous with others
What does self-care look and feel like to you? If you envision pedicures and chocolates when you hear these words, think again (read more). Embracing self-care has changed my life more than any other practice or teaching I have ever studied. After 14 years, I continue to be amazed by how wide and deep this discipline is (I’m still working on this daily!) and how many gifts continue to flow my way as a result of putting my well-being first, rather than last.
Just starting out? Take baby steps, find your tribe and practice self-compassion. “Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” Audrey Lorde
P.S. Stay tuned to learn more about our Year-of-Self-Care Mother’s Day Giveaway launching Monday, May 5th and you could win a week-long self-care retreat at Omega Institute. Details here. Interested in having me support you in creating your own self-care practice? Check out our 2014 self-care retreat schedule.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by work-life balance speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here.