"What are your methods of self-care?"
It started in graduate school, hands darted into the air spouting "Exercise!", "Walks in nature?", "watching television". I could hear the echoes of every Psychology Today article being recycled in the mouths of aspiring counselors. If we were going to be asking our clients how they take care of themselves, it would be important to have some of our own strategies. As a counselor I am encouraged to have a list of resources for clients, which direct them to something other than themselves. This got me to thinking about self-care...
Self-Care has a variety of interpretations. It started with "be kind to yourself, you deserve it." Counselors are told in school that in order to avoid getting burned out at work it is important to have measures of self care, which consists of doing a multitude of things. Somewhere along the way everyone and their mother became their own expert on what self-care is, and out of the social media world came the commentary that self-care is "over-indulgence". So much so, that taking a bath, eating chocolate, and drinking wine in excess became the commonly understood solution.
Recently I started using the term Personal Restoration. I had completely forgotten I had used it, but someone asked me, "What is personal restoration? I tried googling it and all I got was a bunch of resources for restoring furniture." I found this intriguing, and began defining for them, and for myself, a phrase that created a whole new possibility. I researched the etymology of Restoration and found this:
Restoration: late 14c., "a means of healing or restoring health; renewing of something lost,"
For me, personal restoration turns away from the use of an external source and asks for each person to consider something different. This is not about doing, something in order to prove. Self-care is often about taking pre-established activities and squeezing yourself into the template because these are the only things that will work, that have worked, that professionals have identified as "successful", and we need to be successful because if we can't succeed at taking care of ourselves then we aren't worthy, deserving, etc.
Personal Restoration is actually turning inward and asking yourself, "What do I require right now?"
I have noticed that we are taught to place our trust into the hands of professionals because they know what's going to work. I hate to break it to you, but you have been you, your whole life, so why would you trust an expert when it comes to taking care of you? What are we convinced we do not know? What if you already know how to care for you, and all that is required is the willingness to BE IT. Restoration is "renewing of something lost," what if the something lost, was you?
Personal Restoration is not about finding outside things to heal the inside. WE are the source, WE are the caring, creative generative, source that we have been searching for; all it takes is to ask yourself, as the source of your own creation, what it is you require? Personal restoration is about returning to yourself. These are measures that engage less doing and more being. Don't get me wrong, if you require a bath, a walk, whatever please do that! Just start by asking yourself FIRST!
Everyone is different every single day many times a day, so while running 3 miles might work one day you may require having a dance party the next. You have to ask as question! If you treat yourself like the person you were yesterday, instead of the person you are today, then are you actually acknowledging and caring for yourself? Or are you doing a version of you that you think you need to be?
What if you have been the source of care you have been searching for?
Some Questions to Consider to engage with Personal Restoration:
Hey Body, What do you require?
Body, how would you like to move?
Body, what would you like to eat?
Body, what would you like to wear?
Body, where would you like to go?
For more information about this topic contact me via my website for a one hour facilitation about Personal Restoration. Anahatacounseling.com