In being part of the wellness community, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about self-care and it’s various interpretations, yet I always find myself struggling to come up with a definition that I agree with. We are fed media that, in my experience, largely discredits the meaning of “self-care” as it becomes more and more appropriated by companies selling fleeting and superficial things. We are left with a distorted message of a “treat-yo-self” culture that renders any connection to true personal wellness obfuscated by superfluousness and “stuff”.
I’ve come to understand that true self-care depends on each person’s individual needs which may be unique to their culture, constitution, or place in life, among other variables. It may simply depend on what a person is experiencing in a given moment. The point being, self-care is fluid and subjective. We must decide what it means to take care of ourselves, for ourselves. For me today, it’s resting and giving my body the things it needs to get over a cold. Tomorrow, it’s more likely to be scribbling a to-do list and tackling each item. Self-care is about knowing yourself and asking what it is that you need to show up as your best. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend; ask what you need, and do your best to provide it, without guilt.
If our needs are constantly in flux, how can we always know what they are? I believe that in order to truly hear what we need, it’s absolutely necessary to find stillness. We are busy, we are nurturers, and there’s always something to do. It’s so easy to put our to-do list or the needs of others first. When we’re constantly spinning, we can’t listen; we can’t hear. Self-love isn’t a one time event; it’s an understanding and connection to self that takes time to cultivate. It’s a process of prioritizing time each day to find silence, stillness, and presence. Presence will allow you to connect to and truly hear your deepest knowing; a knowledge we each possess.
Soul Seed Journeys’ Yoga Camps
… are mission driven to provide a welcoming, beginner-friendly experience that fosters and supports community, connection, and wellness. Through inclusive yoga and meditation, nourishing food, laughter, and time in the forest, we create a joyful space where guests can deepen connection to self, others, and nature.
In some cultures, self-love is expressed through sharing and spreading it throughout the community. For many people, especially women, nurturing our loved ones and passions is an important expression of our love for ourselves. It’s a beautiful thing, but it can also become a contradiction if the balance isn’t kept in check. We’re told that in order to love others, we must first love ourselves. It sounds tacky and overstated, but it’s the damn truth. We may know it from our intellect, but we have to know it from our heart.
Everything in your life flows from your relationship to yourself. Self-love feels like a cheesy concept and I’ve certainly been the one to wrinkle my nose at it, but I believe it is an expression of our deepest form of knowledge. If knowledge is power, then knowing yourself is the path to personal power, confidence, and joy. When you feel this in your deepest being, then you will spread it. Love is contagious, generous, and, to quote Marianne Williamson, “only love is real, everything else is an illusion”. Find time each day to be still, then listen. It’s not easy, but try loving yourself. It totally works.
Allison is an educator and social justice enthusiast raised in Calgary, Alberta. With a background in International Development and Education, Allison’s passion lies in women’s education and community development. She founded Soul Seed Journeys after a trip to India in 2011, where she fell in love with India, yoga, and all of their teachings. Allison currently lives in Calgary and loves her work teaching bridge programs for newcomers to Canada. She is an amateur urban homesteader, itinerant artisan, yoga teacher, and lover of all things wellness. You will usually find her happily exploring her city with her partner and pup, playing in the kitchen, or planning a new adventure. She loves coffee, long runs, bike rides, pretty cookbooks, and exploring the unbeaten paths of the world.
Meet the rest of the Yoga Camp Team: http://www.soulseedjourneys.com/team
Yoga Camp: http://www.soulseedjourneys.com/yogacamp