self care

From our Director

SELF CARE: BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND BE KIND TO OTHERS

What is self care?

You will hear us talk a lot about self care at MISS FOX, but what exactly does this mean? To me:

Self care is a commitment to yourself — to nurture your mind, body and spirit.

It involves intentionally engaging in behaviours and practices that promote your own well being. Self care means putting yourself on the list of beings that you take care of, and putting yourself at the top of that list — not at the exclusion of care for others but ensuring that you get as much as the other people do in your world. Taking your own wellbeing into account as you evaluate choices is critical for many of us that tend to always put others first. Your wellbeing isn’t your only priority, but by practicing self care it is your top priority — and that’s important.

Self care is about taking full responsibility for your own care, and not expecting others to care for you. As adult human beings we have a responsibility to society that we will care for ourselves. Self care requires that we pay attention to ourselves, sensing our inner state and taking action where required to be healthy and happy.

It is important to note that self care has to do with the intention behind your activities — self care comes from a place of love: it’s about feeling good, healthy, and self-confident and honouring yourself. It’s for pleasing you, not anyone else.


Why is self care important

The golden reason for self care can be summed up with this mantra:

“I am my best me when I am taking care of myself”

Self care sets you up to succeed in life. People who engage in good self care are more productive, satisfied and happier. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and is key to a balanced and fulfilled existence, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It helps cultivate a real, positive relationship with yourself, and because the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships —including people, career, money and the environment — your self care becomes a foundation for a deeper, authentic connection with the world.

Self care is your responsibility — not someone else’s. We all have an individual responsibility to grow and be responsible for ourselves. When you effectively take care of yourself it allows acting authentically with other people, and removes any need to manipulate others to take care of you. Putting your needs and priorities first also allows us to put forth our best efforts in life. By having strong boundaries and saying no, you can show up in in the world from a place of inner alignment and truth — and when you feel good, you do good.

It is important not to label self care as selfish. Self care has far reaching benefits for you and everyone in your life. When we are nourished, then we are better able to help others from a stronger foundation. It allows you to make a contribution to others from a place of health, wellbeing and abundance. We have a responsibility to help others grow in their lives too, and helping others starts with helping yourself.

SELF CARE

What if I don’t take care of myself?

If you don’t practice taking care of yourself, you can fall into victim behaviour: someone unwilling to take responsibility for your self and actions, and bringing down those around you with a “poor-me” attitude.

This disempowered state sees one blames others as the reason for their unhappiness, and position themselves as someone who needs “rescuing”. Whilst this may be attractive to some, the pity-party is generally a drain on colleagues, friends and family and the world as a whole.

Not taking care of yourself can lead to feelings of resentment, as constantly placing others before you slowly starts to build anger and bitterness. It is important to remember that putting yourself second (or last) on an ongoing basis is your choice, so meditate carefully on who you should really be angry at, and consider learning from it and letting it go — both the resentment and the behaviours that led to it.

Getting unwell on a regular basis or being constantly run down is a sure sign that your self care commitment needs to be improved. If you are unhealthy and unstable, you are not only robbing yourself of the best life has to offer, you are also unable to take care of others. Self care is an investment in the wellbeing of all.


What self care isn’t:

Self care is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness or self-serving behaviour is lacking any consideration about others and profiting by this. Self care is about making sure that we are well and healthy so that we are actually more available to help others — replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s. A selfish action is motivated by “me-first, me-only”, whereas self care has the message “me-first, me-too”.

Self care isn’t about self indulgence or to be seen as a luxury. Whilst it can include pampering, it is about surviving and thriving. Sustainable, small and frequent self care functions are also certainly more valuable than occasional decadence. Like any relationship, someone showing kindness every day means more than one grand gesture a year, so apply that same principle to your self.

Self care isn’t about activities that are a chore. They should fill you up, not be a burden. It is important that you find the type of self care that works for you — yoga, drawing, running or bubble baths might be lovely, but if it doesn’t feel good to you, it isn’t your truth. Self care isn’t guilty pleasures either… cakes, holidays, shoes or reckless behaviour can be enjoyable and bring some temporary relief, but real self care activities contribute to your long term health and wellbeing.

Self care doesn’t come from practices or activities to impress or please others — it’s about meeting your own needs, not society’s. But it also isn’t an excuse to break commitments or be lazy or irresponsible. Self care is about honouring your authentic needs, not your ego.

Self care isn’t about caring for everyone else and leaving yourself out, and neither is it making yourself your only priority. Self care essentially means that there are two truths sharing the same place — be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

—Victoria Lucille Fox @victorialucillefox

From our Director

THE POWER OF SELF CARE

Ancient texts and modern philosophers speak of our universe as a totality — an organic whole.

The parts are not separate, we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear - don't be deceived by the appearance - they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass is connected to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the greatest sun. Nothing is insignificant, nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole, just as the seed contains the whole” (Osho, Philosophia Ultima).

Today, this holistic vision is not one commonly embraced or understood, and I believe it is why self care is often so mistaken, and under-appreciated.

As a busy corporate 10 years ago, I was juggling multiple and competing priorities, none of which were ever my own self care. Self preservation, possibly, but self care wasn’t part of the narrative when I had deadlines to meet, travel schedules to manage and targets to achieve. In many cases, even leaving my desk for lunch felt "wrong". Taking work home was standard and I got great at multitasking — which really means doing a lot of things not well. “Me-time” looked like takeaway food, and Friday drinks were the only de-stress after a hectic week of corporate life. There were the occasional health kicks or gym spurts, but these were usually fuelled by fear related to a special event where I needed to “impress”. I couldn’t see the return on investment on self care, yet I was barely surviving, and certainly not thriving. 

Fast forward to today: I see self care as so critically important, because I have learned that everything starts with — you. Your entire life starts with you, and within you, and revolves around you. This isn’t a self-absorbed view, because the reality is that if you cease to exist, your world ceases to exist. You are the centre of your own universe. And in appreciation of the “interconnectedness” of all things, it is the relationship you have with yourself that sets the tone for every relationship you have: that is, the part represents the whole.

Although it might seem as if this article is escalating quickly, I believe it is only possible to connect with life as deeply as you have connected with yourself. But how do you build a relationship with yourself? That’s where self care comes in. Self care is a platform for cultivating a connection with yourself. Think of self care as a date. It is a chance to have a conversation with yourself, to get to know yourself a little better, to vibe yourself out. It’s getting to know your body and form, and your inner essence. Whether it be over a picnic for one, or a pedicure, self care is an opportunity to dive between the inside and outside of who you are. Self care is the way you get to know yourself.

Here’s where things get more interesting: self care is related to the relationship you have with yourself, but then becomes an expression of your relationship to the world. Your relationship with the world shapes your reality. A positive, loving relationship with yourself can be reflected in an outward experience of life that is positive and loving — "so within, so without" — meaning that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. It informs your entire experience. So you certainly want to get that inner relationship right.

Self care is how you take your power back. The practice of self care brings your attention back to your self, so you can analyse your feelings, pay attention to the sensations in the body, feel your breath, engage in self-examination and survey your situation and surroundings from a higher perspective. It helps you take back control of your thoughts, actions and behaviour. It helps you create new stories and new patterns. When you truly honour your needs through self care, you step into your authentic self. Through self care, we connect with out truth, our values and our identity. By connecting with our truth, we step into the driver's seat of our lives, we can start curating how we wish to feel, what we wish to show up in our lives, and what we wish to give our attention to.

Beauty is a byproduct of a healthy self care routine. When you start taking care of yourself, you start feeling better, looking better and you start attracting better into your reality. Beauty comes from being aligned with our authentic self. Through self care we connect with this inner wisdom, and we can channel our truth, our highest nature, the very best version of who we are. This is how we shine. This is also how we tune into a higher state of living. Your inner world sets the dial for what kind of reality you are tuned into. Have you experienced being in a state of flow, where things going on around you become easy and light — it’s as if everything is coming up roses, and nothing can bring you down. On the other hand, have you experienced “one of those days” that starts off crappy, and found yourself frustrated over crappy thing after crappy thing that kept showing up? Your personal frequency is like a radio station, and is — despite what we might wish to blame on others or external factors — completely selected by you. This “tuning in” is essentially set by the relationship you hold with yourself and the world. It tells the world what level you want to play and, it tells others how to treat you. It informs your entire experience. Are you starting to see why self care is so important?

Self care is a also divine responsibility for those around you: you must take good care of yourself if you wish to be of service to others. The better you care for yourself, the more you are able to be a light for those around you. The greatest gift that you can give those around you is the best, happiest and most authentic version of you. Self care isn’t selfish. If everyone was able to start with caring for themselves, and effecting their internal environment and external environment, this has a ripple effect on the people around them: their community, their city, their town their country. People will start benefiting from it, seeing it and being inspired by it the more you practice your own self care. Self care creates a distinct difference in you, and the people in your life will feel it. 

The result of your self care are your communication with the world. Through self care, I believe our planet can experience a huge positive shift. Life is better and more beautiful. And that all starts with you.

— Victoria Fox

THE POWER OF SELF CARE