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What Self Care Means to Me — and Why It Matters

Andrea Ferretti

Self care is a buzz word these days. And there’s a reason for it – in times of cultural and political strife, people’s interest in self care increases.

Buzz words tend to make me cringe, or at the very least, they make me suspicious. But last year, as I was prepping for an interview with Jill Miller, I read her words, “self care is healthcare,” and they stopped me in my tracks with a big, resounding, inner YES.

Yes, because I went through clinical depression and panic disorder in my twenties, and a big part of my healing was learning self care (the other big part was and still is anti-depressants). When I became a mother 6 years ago and ended up with an unplanned, super-medicated C-section and my baby couldn’t latch properly for close to a month, I was forced to slow down and practice self care. And when I went through cancer treatment four years ago, I was reminded yet again that ongoing self care was part of my post-treatment plan to help prevent recurrence.

So, a big YES to the idea self care is part of what keeps me healthy – and when I lose touch with that, I am less healthy, resilient, and strong. I’m also less able to cope well with the primary people in my life – I’m less patient, more brittle, and less of a teacher to my daughter, more of a drill sergeant. The reason for this is so obvious to me now –it really is true that the way you treat others begins with the way you treat yourself. If you’re gracious and spacious with yourself, you’re more able to extend that goodwill to the people around you.

For me, self care is a constant process of self-reflection and then making choices that contribute to my overall well being from moment to moment.

The actual doing of self care is different for everyone. And until I read Jill’s quote, I put it in the category of – go get a mani with my bff or treat myself to something. I like to treat my self – just ask my husband. And, occasionally, a pedi feels like self care. But overall, I think of it differently now. For me, self care is a constant process of self-reflection and then making choices that contribute to my overall well being from moment to moment. Sometimes it takes the form of using some essential oils to reset my mood. Other times it’s scheduling in coffee time with friends who I truly love connecting with. Many, many times it’s allowing myself more silence, less screen time.

Whatever the self care choice is, there are three underpinnings to this approach to self care:

– First, I acknowledge that self care has value. It’s not a treat; it’s a necessity for me to function at my very best in a consistent way.
– Second, it requires the ability to tune in to what I need, which requires self-awareness.
– Third (and I learned this one from Caitlin Hildebrand on my recent podcast, Yoga as a Form of Radical Self Care) – when it’s tied to your overall sense of purpose, it’s more meaningful and easier to stick to.

And that’s why yoga and meditation are at the very root of all my self care practices. These two foundational practices that accomplish two things at once – they hone your self-awareness so that you can better identify and respond to your own needs while being amazing forms of self care in their own right. Simply stepping on the mat or sitting in silence on a regular basis will help you understand your energy levels, your physical pains, your responses to stress. These practices will help you hear the voice in your head that is planning the future or is stuck ruminating on the past. They can illuminate the mean girl on your shoulder who tells you you’re not working hard enough, and it also open you up to a compassionate voice who knows the truth of how inherently worthy you are.

Self care is not always easy – it’s not all running through daisy fields taking selfies. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. But it does require committing to its value and carving out practices that you can regularly incorporate into your life.

I have so much more to say about this topic and I’d love to share it with you. If you’d like to learn more about self care and create a meditation habit that sticks, join me in January for my three-week program, Start Your Year with Self Care. Each week, you’ll receive four meditations, a video podcast, and a journal with self-inquiry questions to help you scope out your year and how you will maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. Click here to learn more about the program — and if you jump on the email list, I’ll send you an early bird discount before registration is open.

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Episode 52: Gina Caputo on Strengthening Your Awareness & Emotional Support Bananas

Gina Caputo has so much to offer to Yogaland: In addition to practicing and teaching yoga for nearly two decades, she’s been on the ground floor of opening and managing three different yoga schools — Sacred Movement in Venice, California, Kansas Siddhi Yoga Studio, and and The Colorado School of Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. Gina also has a FANTASTIC sense of humor. One of my favorite things she says in this interview is, “Be sincere, not serious.”

On this episode, I asked Gina to share her thoughts and stories about self-awareness practice, specifically her recent experience of doing a 10-day silent meditation course. Spoiler alert: She made it through 10 days of silence! But not without some support from a banana or two.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Gina’s full post about the meditation course: Tales from the Cushion
Gina’s website: ginacaputo.com
Gina’s school: The Colorado School of Yoga

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Episode 30: Andrea Ferretti – 3 Resolutions to Set Yourself on a Path Toward Happiness

I live in a state of duality when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. On the one hand, I loathe them. I loathe the intense focus on self-improvement and self-achievement that’s emblazoned across magazine covers in the month of January. And YET, I love the idea of taking a moment to pause and reflect on the previous year and to think about how I’d like to live in the coming year,

And so. This episode focuses on three resolutions that really get to the heart of what has created happiness in my life:

* Use Your Yoga Practice to Get To Know Yourself
* Practice Self Acceptance
* Be the Love

What do you think? I’d love to know what you’re working on. And, my friends and listeners who are from outside the U.S., I’d love to know if you feel the same cultural pressure on self-improvement around New Year’s!

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor
Taylor Harkness podcast: The Yogis Guide to Getting Through the Holidays Without Losing Your Sh*t
Episode 5: Self Acceptance and Yoga

MUSIC
David Szesztay — Welcome Home
David Szesztay — Sweet Water

WRITE A REVIEW
If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! I’m learning that it really does help others find it and it helps me to know which episodes resonate with you! You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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