Welcome to my blog! What a great way to kick off the New Year. I am so glad you found me, and “Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret.” In my blog, I will share my personal experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) as it pertains to my self-care journey. I will be blunt, and I will be honest. It is my sincere hope that you will find this helpful in a variety of ways, from inspiration to friendly warnings and everything in between.
I first became interested in self-care out of an act of desperation back in 2011. I found myself in a wonderful job working in a therapeutic high school with special education students with a variety of social-emotional/mental health needs. I realized very quickly that I would need to take care of myself to be able to attend to the needs of my students. You have all heard the saying you cannot pour from an empty cup, right?
So I started seeking some self-care books to read (or rather, listen to while I commuted to and from work), and I fell in love with taking care of myself. Through the teachings of Dr. Chopra, Dr. Dyer and more, I learned the importance of self-care from various aspects. Well, in concept anyway, there have definitely been highs and lows to this process, and I do consider this to be a work in progress. Nearly ten years later, I am still learning what works for me and evolving to be the best version of me that I am capable of being. One thing that I know for certain is that the times I have practiced self-care consistently and routinely, it has dramatically improved my overall well-being as opposed to the times when I have neglected my self-care.
During the Ph.D. program, I started realizing that teachers, in general, don’t practice self-care (in a lot of cases), and leaders don’t promote it. I got curious and devoted my dissertation studies and dissertation on this topic. After receiving positive feedback and recognizing that the need for self-care was far greater than just teachers, I launched “Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret” with the hope of helping others in their journey. The name is inspired by my love of musical theatre and all things performing arts. As a classically trained dancer and professional choreographer (yes, really…more on that later), the name blends my passion for performing with my passion for self-care. If you are not following the Self-Care Cabaret on Facebook, please do so… https://www.facebook.com/DrMCselfcare.
Ok, so enough of that…where do we start? First, what is self-care?
Well, self-care can really be whatever you want it to be, or whatever works for you that energizes your spirit and takes care of your well-being. There are different domains and facets to self-care (that we will explore later). Some of us are strong in some areas and weak in others. Dr. Cook-Cottone defines self-care as “the daily process of being aware of and attending to one’s basic physiological and emotional needs. This includes shaping one’s daily routine, relationships, and environment as needed to promote self-care.” A practice that works for me might not work for you, and that is ok. Your self-care routine should be foundational and something you regularly access (ideally daily) to feel good, but it can incorporate a multitude of activities that YOU want. The main and most important thing about self-care is that you do it proactively and consistently. Self-care is not something you grasp at when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, but rather something you do as part of a routine, so when you are undoubtedly faced with life’s stressors…you have the tools to react positively because you take care of yourself!
In this blog, I will highlight and share what works and what doesn’t work for me, and I will share resources, products, recipes, and more accordingly. One of the great things about self-care is that you can practice it for FREE! Yes, of course, some things cost money, but it is NOT necessary to spend money to practice self-care. It is easy to fall into the consumer trap and buy things that promise to change your life, but you do not need any special tools to practice self-care.
Here are some of the things/activities that are a part of my self-care routine:
• Spending time with loved ones – I am blessed that I have a wonderful, supportive mother and husband, and I spend as much time as I can with them as well as my great group of friends!
• Setting boundaries – this can be tricky but necessary for maintaining our well-being.
• Reiki appointments – I have been seeing a Reiki master for four years now, and I love it. We will talk more about Reiki in a future post, so if you are not familiar with it, more to come.
• Saying “no” – this one is also tricky, and it took a long time for me realize that saying no to something extra is protecting myself and my energy.
• Participating in joyful exercise, which includes Zumba and tap dance classes (I am not a gym girl).
• Getting manicures and pedicures.
• Having my house cleaned – some people find cleaning therapeutic (hi mom), I am not one of those people at all, but I like to have a clean space.
• Getting groceries delivered – Instacart, anyone? What a great time saver and worth any additional costs IMO. Depending upon where you live, different options are available.
• Sleep – I have to get a lot of sleep to function, like 8-9 hours. I really cannot function on less than 8 hours. So I make it work and never sacrifice sleep.
• Smudging – burning sage is a practice that not a lot of people are familiar with, so again, if you don’t know what it is, more to come.
• Read books, articles, and on Self-care, use various apps on my phone for reminders, follow positive accounts on social media, listen to podcasts, etc.
• Eat and hydrate – sounds simple, right? Not so much. Many of us skip meals or eat on the run or at our desk and don’t hydrate throughout the day. This is an area I struggle with (also more on this later), but I work at getting enough water and slowing down to eat.
Now you may have just read to this point and thought, “I can’t do any of that,” or “I can’t afford that,” or my all-time favorite…“I don’t have time to take care of myself.” These are all false statements and little lies we tell ourselves to justify why we don’t take of ourselves. The truth is, you MUST make the time to care for yourself. It is not optional. So join me today, and let me help you!