Recharging for self-care requires that you find your center and be at peace with your world and with yourself. Your happiness is worth the work of self-examination, and it's through this journey you will find what needs to be addressed in order to transform.
But where to start? First, observe if your basic needs are being met. They deserve your attention as they are required for you to survive. These include food, water, shelter, clothing, sleep, hygiene, and safety. Focus on just one of these needs for example, food: there is a reason "hangry" has caught on for so many people. While funny, it's more than just for laughs, it's your body reminding you of the need for sustenance.
The trick to identifying your needs is to pay attention and observe your own actions and decisions. When I was a teenager, my mother always knew, before me, when I was tired or sick. After dinner when I would grab for some junk-food she'd ask me if I was actually hungry or if I was just tired. That self-awareness stuck with me and has helped me key in when I need rest rather than food. Sounds simple, and it is, but without tuning in, you can miss it.
Like needs, stressors also demand our attention by draining energy and in my case causes me to lose sleep, have headaches or chew on the inside my mouth. It's a bad habit yet a good signal that alerts me to identifying my stressors.
While basic needs may be satisfied and ignored for a period of time, stressors may be a constant in your life, like commuting to work. Listing out five to ten things that stress you out will help you narrow in on your most persistent and harmful stressors.
While you may not be able to remove the stressor itself, you can do some things (before, after or during) to recharge and care for yourself along the way. The key is to know what recharges you the most and to weave it into your life. In my case, listening to upbeat music always enlivens me, or taking a bath with Epsom salts after a long challenging day. These are my examples but it's important that you know what recharges you. Listing out about five to ten things that make you feel happy is a good place to start. Once you feel you've recharged by attending to your basic needs and to your stressors, you'll be ready to go deeper.
What’s deeper will reveal opportunities to evolve from life lessons. My personal life lessons were scary to go near at first. It was like a creepy dark attic full of sticky cobwebs and piles of dusty boxes I wasn't interested in opening. I started slowly and would approach these only every once in a great while. But I realized that if I never cleaned out my metaphorical attic, I would never grow as a person and more than that, I'd continue experiencing the same discomforts in my life.
So, I put my big-girl pants on and explored the mess. One of these boxes revealed I was a people pleaser who fed off of hollow approval from others whom I didn't even like. It was an ugly dose of reality; one that required lots of self-love and forgiveness along the way. The journey at times felt a little lonely, but when I came out on the other side and was fully recharged, I found inner-strength, happiness and a newfound mission to help others prioritize their self-care.
To be clear, attending to your basic needs, your stressors, and your life lessons is an ongoing process. We all need to do the work of self-examination to live freely. Otherwise it is possible to numbly react our way through our days. May you be brave as you clean out your metaphorical attics and go deep to recharge your self-care not just once but all the times it's needed in your life.
Be well and may you recharge often.