Self Love As Self Care
So many of us struggle to prioritize self care, let alone self love.
It’s pretty quick to drop to the bottom of the to-do list for most people.
Whether it’s because of a busy life, juggling parenting with being a human, perhaps schooling, work, you name it, we have an excuse for prioritizing everyone and everything but ourselves.
So how do we find the balance, and what even is self-care, really?
What is self-care?
Unfortunately, self-care has truly become a commodity for many companies. Sold back to us as bath bombs, face masks, macarons, candles, they find a way to convince us we need these things to take care of ourselves. Macarons are delicious and face masks feel great, and these can certainly be tools in your self-care tool kit. However, it’s important that the desire for them comes from your own heart, and not just from clever advertising.
The truth is, until you fill up your own inner cup with self-love, all the self-care in the world won’t help you feel grounded and relaxed. Your nourishment needs to come from within, and then these more specific activities are lovely compliments, not your lifeline.
So what does this actually look like, you might wonder? It’s going to be different for everyone, but here are some of the key fundamentals.
Nourish the body
A healthy body is a great start, and this is going to look different for each person, as it’s a unique expression of your individuality. Eating a healthy diet, moving your body in fun and active ways that are accessible to you, taking baths, rubbing your skin with luscious oils, and of course, masturbation.
Masturbation is an amazing, free, and accessible way to help connect you with yourself. You might like to use just your hands, perhaps you prefer toys, or maybe even the shower or tub faucet. Whatever works for you, is what’s best for you. I strongly recommend mindful masturbation to all my clients, it’s an incredible tool to connect more deeply with yourself.
Nurture the mind
A healthy diet and active lifestyle can certainly help boost mental health. Other tools you might enjoy are meditation, journaling, yoga, walks in nature, watching the ocean, talking with your loved ones, cooking meals, volunteering and community service, reading books, listening to podcasts, the list is endless.
I highly recommend having professional support for everyone’s mental health. It can be so lovely to have an impartial and experienced person to talk to, to help you process, support, and encourage you. Perhaps a therapist, counselor, spiritual mentor, pastor, or even a sexuality doula like myself.
Feed the soul
This is perhaps the most personal category of all. What is going to tend to your spirit may be completely opposite to someone else. You may really enjoy going to church, while another person may find growing a vegetable garden works for them.
I strongly suggest building a sense of community into your life, whether that’s through volunteering, spending time with friends and family, going to a moon circle, joining a book club or community garden. If you don’t have access to any in-person community, try joining on online FB group, or even making your own online community.
Self-love as self-care
As you are hopefully realizing, self-care is a holistic experience. Ideally, it flows into your life through a variety of different streams, but they all come from the same source, self-love.
In my practice, I’m seeing more and more run-down people, it seems to be a societal epidemic at this stage. One that big business is all too happy to prey upon. However, being burnt out, exhausted, depleted, and trying to solve the problem with a face mask is only putting on a band-aid, not curing the problem.
One of my favorite medicines to prescribe for this is masturbation (especially a daily masturbation practice) because it has the power to truly connect us with the inner wisdom we all have, and our innate understanding of our worthiness.
Making time for self-care
What’s the number one complaint I get from clients to whom I prescribe this? “Isabella, I don’t have the time for daily masturbation!!”. Maybe you feel the same way reading this. I hear you. It’s hard to find the time for yourself, especially when you’ve got so much else on your plate. It’s hard for me too.
Start by shifting your definition of masturbation. What does solo-sex look like for you? The main issue I see is people thinking solo sex must always end in an orgasm. Orgasms are nice, and they certainly can be involved, but when we change the focus to pleasure instead of an end goal, we are already at the destination the moment we begin.
So be realistic with yourself, and set yourself up to succeed. How much time can you honestly make today? Even if it’s only 60 seconds of pleasure, that’s wonderful. By making a commitment to experience pleasure every day, you’re making a radical statement to yourself that you matter. Your pleasure matters. This helps fill up that self love cup. Once it’s full, it can overflow out into other areas of your life, nurturing and caring for your loved ones, but you need to come first (pun intended. kinda).
Even if all this all seems good in theory, and you make a plan to take care of yourself mind, body, and soul, and you set a goal for non-goal oriented masturbation for 60 seconds a day… you might still find it challenging. Don’t give up, don’t lose hope. I call this a practice for a reason.
This is a practice because we keep trying, we keep prioritizing, keep experimenting and exploring. You don’t have to do it ‘perfectly’, so let that go right now. We keep saying to ourselves every day, through our words and our actions, that we are important and worthy of pleasure.
Sadly, self-care doesn’t come naturally to most of us anymore, at least not after we move out of childhood. It can be hard to really feel that you’re truly worthy of this level of self-care, especially if your self-love levels are low. You are worthy, just as you are now, you don’t need to do, say, or be anything to deserve self-love. You have already earned the right to feel good in your body.