Self-Care Practices

As I sat at We Care Spa, my favorite oasis in the desert, it hit me what real self-care practice is. I have mentioned before that I come here to the desert two to three times a year to detox. I completely remove everything negative and harmful when I come here. I barely even look at my phone.

Don’t get me wrong. I still work and write and guest on podcasts. But these visits give me some much-needed me-time. I have been visiting more frequently in the last few years during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the energy of anxiety and fear all around me. This place has become a safe haven, and I have added myself to the waitlist for any fourteen-day periods that come up. We Care has become quite popular, especially since it redid the entire landscape and property.

Self-Care Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

The self-care practice I come to We Care for isn’t about getting luxury spa treatments (although We Care does offer luxurious experiences). I am grateful every time I get to be present here; it is a gift I give to myself and family members. But it offers so much more.

Let me ask you, How do you practice self-care? Have you taken the time to write down what it would take to consistently practice self-care? When I say practice, I mean it: self-care is never going to be perfect. Let yourself off the hook and just practice it. Forget the old adage “Practice makes perfect.” Practice is just that—a practice, not an end result, finish line, or gold medal.

Yoga is one of my favorite practices because it doesn’t matter how high I can get my leg or whether I can do the splits. Instead, I’m just practicing being in the present moment. Yoga is a great workout for the mind, body, and soul, and I love that it involves constant practice without offering a destination. Some days I literally lie on my back during the entire practice. I listen to my body, especially as I am aging.

Self-Care Is Self-Love

The self-care I believe is important is more about self-love. Getting a massage feels great and offers health benefits, but let’s first improve a few other issues that might be getting in the way of having a successful massage or body scrub!

Self-care is about the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy gut
  • Keeping a healthy mind
  • Learning to say no
  • Walking for thirty minutes a day
  • Choosing people who feed our mental diets
  • Releasing negative influences
  • Being in healthy relationships
  • Having a voice
  • Using our voice for good
  • Being of service

This list is only a part of my complete list. I also include activities like doing yoga and limiting the amount of news, social media, and negative stuff I watch. Today I’m keeping it simple and making choices based on my list.

Improving your mental diet is just as important as enhancing your gut health. Our mental diet is about what we watch, what we read, whom we follow, and most importantly, whom we spend time with.

Learning to Say No

I had a conversation recently that prompted me to write about how important saying no can be. My friend went on a couple of dates with someone new, and it was going well. On the fourth or fifth date, things took a turn. I will not share all the details, but something made her feel uncomfortable, and they were supposed to have a date the following night for dinner. She asked me, “How do I get out of this?” I had an aha moment! Learning how to let people down is also self-care.

I asked my friend, “Do you like when people are honest with you instead of ghosting you or just ignoring the situation? Why don’t you just be brutally honest and use your voice? Say, ‘I wasn’t happy with the way the date went, and now I’m not feeling comfortable going on another date. We are better as friends!’”

Later she called me and said, “OMG, he wanted to know how and where exactly it fell apart. I was honest and told him.” Being brutally honest can be a gift. She felt relieved, and because this happened early in this relationship, he may have learned a valuable lesson too.

Be okay with letting people down. Your mental health depends on it. Taking care of your mental health is the biggest self-care practice—bigger than your career, money, whom you’re dating, what you wear, events you attend, or your family’s wishes or even their opinions. If taking care of yourself means letting people down, then do it!

My friend had to. She knew that going on another date did not feel good to her. The thought of it was causing stress. She even said she felt almost sick to her stomach. That is because the gut knows. “Gut feelings” are called that for a reason! I believe in gut feelings and listening to them early on before getting sick.

You do not lose real friends or even real family when you start to have a self-care practice. Real friends and family will respect your boundaries. The abusers, manipulators, and self-absorbed people will slip away. You gain yourself, and your soul will embrace this practice.

The Power of a Ninety-Day Self-Care Practice

I did a ninety-day program of removing toxic behaviors and replacing them with good, healthy ones. Ninety days seems to be the amount of time necessary to making serious change.

I removed the following behaviors:

  • Dating
  • Sexting
  • Scrolling through social media
  • Traveling
  • Shopping
  • Drinking
  • Watching cable TV
  • Eating junk food
  • Having sex
  • Making major decisions
  • Drinking caffeine
  • Moving homes
  • Using my phone for anything other than business and family

And I replaced those behaviors with these:

  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Writing
  • Doing yoga and stretching
  • Going to doctor appointments
  • Playing the piano
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Reading
  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Watching documentaries
  • Learning and growing
  • Praying
  • Being of service
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Taking supplements
  • Working with healers
  • Working with coaches
  • Drinking tea
  • Sitting in silence
  • Doing anything creative
  • Writing a weekly blog

I made these changes for ninety days, but then I kept going for six months. It was probably one of the hardest things I have done for myself. I did not date for a year. And let me tell you, when I began to date again, I was looking through a new lens.

During those six months, I also got certified as a life coach via Zoom. I was tempted to do it in person because the course was being taught in Portugal. But I said no travel by airplane for a year (except for work), so I did the course online while all my classmates were in beautiful Portugal. I removed any and all distractions and added clarity.

If you are interested in this ninety-day program, you can do it from anywhere. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and follow me on this journey. This has been the most powerful thing I have ever done! Every morning, I now wake up and say “Thank you” three times before my feet hit the ground. Each day is a gift! I invite you to come along on this journey. Sign up for my newsletter on my website to get updates about when I will be starting the ninety-day program.

Remember: wellness has no destination; it is a practice.

Deborah Driggs

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