If so, I’m dancing right along there with you. When we first began flirting with the self-care movement I was overjoyed. We’re all living with so much stress, so much pressure to have more, do more, be more, I figured that it was about time we started to take a regular step back to focus on our wellbeing.
But…I can’t help thinking that we’ve been looking at self-care all wrong. That it’s become just another quest for more. A quest that takes time and money as we buy yet another gallon bottle of bubble bath, or struggle to schedule an extra trip to the hair salon in an attempt to fit in some much-needed me-time.
It makes me wonder if we’ve completely missed the point of self-care.
Having freshly painted nails can feel like it gives you a temporary boost. Ditto a relaxing massage. And who doesn’t love dedicating an hour to lying on the sofa with a great book? These things are truly wonderful. But when what we really need is to relax and reconnect with ourselves, they’re just not hitting the spot.
The effects can be lovely but they just don’t last.
Why self-care isn’t working.
Despite the fact we’re all hashtagging the hell out of self-care, stress levels are still through the roof and more and more people are being diagnosed with mood disorders. So why aren’t our attempts at self-care working?
I think I’ve figured it out.
It’s because we’re only focusing on one aspect of the “self” at a time when really we should target our whole selves: body, mind and spirit. That manicure may lift your mood for a while, the massage will ease physical tensions, and time spent with a book may feed your soul but trying to hit all three elements of self-care? That’s a challenge.
It’s a challenge that practitioners of Chinese medicine have been working on for centuries. In the Chinese tradition, it’s long been accepted that we’re far more than just a series of biological systems and Western medicine is finally catching up with this idea too. We now realize that we’re holistic beings and if one aspect of the self is running on empty, the other two elements will take a hit too. Luckily the opposite is also true: the steps you take in one area will inevitably help the others.
So while the manicures and massages are amazing, you probably don’t have the time for endless adventures in self-care — what you really need to find is a form of self-care that checks all of the boxes. Self-care that nourishes the body, mind, and spirit.
What you need is Qigong!
Qigong is an ancient practice based on the principles that for true health, the mind, body, and spirit need to work in perfect harmony.
Similar in many ways to yoga, it’s a series of slow, practiced movements that align with your breathing to bring an instant dose of calm (that’s your mind taken care of!), stretches that increase your flexibility and stamina (your body’s feeling good now!), and a focus on qi flow, your natural flow of energy, or your life force (so you can check off that “spirit” box too!). All of which will ease your tension, leaving you with a long-lasting sense of inner peace.
Self-care should be about more — more peace, more balance, and more calm.
And achieving it will take less than you think: join me on my Zhineng Qigong Spring Series: 6 Weeks of Wellbeing to treat your whole self to some well-deserved self-care.