• Lisa Kowalyk

A New Definition of Self Care

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

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As a nutritionist, I talk to people a lot about self-care. Not the kind that justifies Netflix and binge eating, popping champagne at 2pm, or the type that implies retail therapy is good for the soul. But real, honest, dynamic selfcare that has the potential to change lives. What if we dug deeper than the #selfcare we see on Instagram and uncovered its true nature? Would we see that it is a powerful tool to build community and raise the consciousness of our society? Would we be more likely to make it a priority, to take it seriously? To actually put ourselves first and feel good about it? 

What Is Self Care

“Not the kind that justifies Netflix and binge eating, or popping champagne at 2pm, or the type that implies retail therapy is good for the soul."

Self-care is a simple, but vast concept and it looks different for every person. In its deconstructed form, it’s about nurturing all aspects of yourself including your physical, mental, spiritual and social bodies. Of course it's about drinking enough water, limiting alcohol consumption, putting good food in your body, exercising and taking time for yourself, but it is also much more expansive. It has every bit as much to do with your mental health as it does your biology. Self-care is sitting with yourself to establish and work through emotions- it’s knowing why you do the things you do, and why you feel the things you feel. Self-care is taking accountability for your actions, decisions and circumstances, it’s being able to say no when you want to and putting yourself first. It’s about treating your body with respect- being mindful of what you put in it and moving it every day. Self-care is nurturing the relationships in your life that are filled with love and substance and letting go of the ones that no longer serve you. It’s about doing what makes you happy, and about feeling good and secure in yourself. In essence, self-care allows us to function optimally on a physiologic level, so that we can obtain mental clarity and live a conscious life with conviction and purpose. 

Why Self Care Is Your Gift To The World

Feelings of guilt and selfishness can often arise when we are used to putting other people before ourselves. In respect to this, I would like to share with you the selfless story of the three sisters. 

The three sisters are not what you might think- they are corn, squash and beans. For centuries indigenous communities have planted them in the same square foot of soil. They coexist by cooperating with each other and by sharing the gifts they have each been given, in return yielding more per acre than when they are planted individually. Corn is strong and sturdy and provides a stable structure for the beans to wind around. The squash uses its broad leaves to shelter the soil where the corn and the beans emerge from, and the beans use their unique capability to turn atmospheric nitrogen into nutrients for all three sisters to use. The sisters have this beautiful, symbiotic relationship. They each understand their role, and only by realizing this can they be of benefit to the community. Only by taking care of themselves, and being their best versions can they serve others. In the relationship between the three sisters, when one does well, so do the others. In essence, this is the concept on which self-care is based. The three sisters can teach us a lot about life- but the lesson that has been the most helpful for me is self-care is not selfish- it’s necessary. It’s critical for both individual happiness and the growth of humanity, when viewed this way, selfcare almost becomes an obligation. 

Get Inspired

I hope that something in this post resonated with you, and that you have a renewed idea and expanded definition of self-care. Check out my post on the best ways to start implementing self-care in everyday life! As always, if you have questions, comments to feedback send an email to hello@lisakowalyk.com


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