By Karen Aurit, LAMFT
By Karen Aurit, LAMFT
““If you love yourself, you can give love away. You can’t give away what you don’t have.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
Asking yourself this question has the power to transform your life and improve your relationships with the people you love the most.
We develop love for ourselves through self-care. Self-care is our single most important action to support ourselves because it is the gateway to loving others fully. “If you love yourself, you can give love away.”
As mental health practitioners, the tendency is to put self-care ‘on the shelf’ to focus on the ‘more pressing, important aspects of our lives.’
Here are three messages we tell ourselves which are clear-cut obstacles to practicing self-care in our day-to-day lives.
“I don’t have enough time.”
“I don’t have enough money.”
“I don’t want to be selfish.”
Let’s take a deeper look at these three messages and create a new narrative that transforms them into self-care opportunities.
#1: “I don’t have the time.” = Develop tiny daily habits.
“I’m so busy. I have clients. I need to pick up the kids, and I have so many errands to run.”
Sound familiar? You are not alone.
We focus on caring for others during our day, and we assume self-care will take longer than it needs to. The truth is that many acts of self-care can be timed for just a few minutes, such as meditating, napping, or enjoying a cup of tea. One tip for finding the time for self-care is to create ‘tiny daily habits’ that take just 1 – 15 minutes.
For example, I once believed that a “real workout” required an entire hour of exercise. I hardly ever exercised because I could rarely find a free hour in my day. But, fifteen minutes? That, I could find! So, now, I wake up and exercise for fifteen minutes every day, come rain or shine, and I keep my self-care commitment.
Our jam-packed schedules often also cause us to believe that we don’t have the time to catch up on our favorite readings. Think about how often you have had a book that you really wanted to read, but you just didn’t have time. But what if you read just two pages per day? I have read many books this way because of my ‘tiny daily habit’ of reading two pages per day.
Many of our tiny daily habits not only help us keep our self-care commitment to ourselves but can also help us show ourselves a very special kind of love–self-love. For example, one minute of journaling or meditating can provide the self-care that results in self-love. Tiny daily habits are an easy way of consistently being true to yourself, and taking action can become even more powerful than the action itself. Keeping commitments to yourself is another way to practice self-care. It positively reinforces trust in yourself and builds your confidence.
Create your own menu of possible acts of self-care. Some daily actions may only take a few seconds, like turning on an aromatherapy diffuser or lighting a beautiful candle. Select what you’d like to make into a daily habit from the list. Save the rest for something you can choose to do any day. When time allows, you can take the opportunity to extend the small habit you’ve created.
#2: “I don’t have the money.” = Be on the lookout for opportunities.
Have you ever wanted to get a massage and thought to yourself, “There are more important things to spend money on right now.”
Once again, you are not alone.
For acts of self-care that come with a price tag, ask yourself: “What am I spending money on now that I can exchange for what I really desire?” or “Could I cancel my YouTube TV subscription that I rarely use in exchange for a massage once a month?”
Go on a mission to explore your current budget and get creative. If you can’t find the funds for a massage, consider treating yourself to your favorite coffee drink once or twice a month. When an activity is done with intention and purpose, as an act of self-love, even the most minor adjustments can be meaningful and impact how we perceive ourselves. Stay on the lookout for opportunities to let go of things you no longer want or need, and channel those funds towards your self-care activities.
#3: “I don’t want to be selfish.” = Sharing your best self.
When we feel love, we act with love. Plain and simple. Self-care allows us to be more loving and mindful towards ourselves and get to know ourselves more intimately. The time we spend being kind to ourselves creates a higher energy vibration. Many of us feel like self-care is a selfish act; however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Selfishness means acting without regard for others. Keep in mind that you are very intentionally working to be your best for yourself to be your best for those around you.
Furthermore, “feel-good chemicals” such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins are released in the brain as we practice self-care. As a result, we feel calmer, more patient, and clearer-headed. We experience feelings of joy and gratitude. When we show love for ourselves, we share the love with others, creating a ripple effect. Self-care activities can help you be the very best version of yourself for you and those around you.
“Showing love for yourself generates the self-esteem and confidence you need to face the world courageously.”
Self-care is an act of self-love. Self-love is the foundation for self-care. The love you cultivate with yourself transfers to the world and makes your loving mark on it. It begins with YOU.
With thoughtfulness, intention, and a bit of creativity, you can find the time, money, and confidence to embrace self-care. So, it’s time to put on your oxygen mask first so that you have the power to create more love in the world.
Karen Aurit, LAMFT, is Director and Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona where she and her team have helped thousands of people resolve their divorce and child custody issues in a healthier way. Karen teaches family mediation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, and at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. She specializes in mindfulness theory and is passionate about helping others create healthy habits. Karen earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and holds her Mediation Certificate from The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Arizona State University. Karen is married to Michael Aurit, and they live in Phoenix, Arizona, with their three and five-year-old daughters, Eliana and Daniella. Feel free to contact Karen at email@example.com or visit www.auritmediation.com.