Zen and the Art of Self-Regulation: Self-care

Zen and the Art of Self-Regulation: Self-care

Most people I know are pretty exhausted – physically, emotionally, mentally. We suffer from will-power depletion, decision-fatigue and overwhelm.

Having an intentional, conscious, and structured self-care routine is important even at the best of times. These days, I’d say it is essential.

It starts with covering the basic needs like the quality of our food and sleep. That means eating healthy food and sleeping enough. It is also advised to stay hydrated and exercise.

Self-compassion, self-caring, nurturing self-talk is a great way to take care of ourselves. Re-charging with TV, a puzzle, a book, or a creative project is awesome.

Self-expression through art, music, dance, writing, will recharge you.

There is a whole industry catering to wellness, so spas, saunas and get-away weekends with your husband or lover (or both!) are all highly recommended.

The focus here is on SELF-. You know best, what you need. By all means, get support but take responsibility for getting that support yourself. See, you are self-responsible, especially for your care.

Self-care is not all spas and essential oils. It is also about feeling your feelings and taking agency over your life.  Which means making tough decisions and difficult prioritizations. Which again leads to the concept of empowerment.

Your mother, your significant other, your boss, your doctor and your BFF – they should all support you, but YOU are responsible for YOU. For your physical and mental health, for your finances, for your housing situation, for your relationship with other people, for your job situation and for living your best life.

The ball is in your court.

Claim your power

While that thought may be overwhelming or anxiety-provoking, there is also power to be found in it. Claim your power. Build a life where you take care of yourself first and foremost. It is NOT selfish. It’s the oxygen mask in the plane: You cannot save others if you yourself are unconscious.

Numbing in lieu of self-care

We all do what we can to soothe the pain of existence. Billion-dollar industries are founded on our unquenchable need to be distracted, numbed-out: literally “un-concious”. For some it is done with an uninterrupted stare at our phones, over-eating and over-shopping, while others soothe with gambling, alcohol, drugs or pornography. It’s all part of the same strategy:

Take me away from here, take me out of myself.


Start with the smallest step you can take

Look at the anxiety that comes from not living your best life right now. Look at it with love in your eyes. Start as small as you possibly can. What is the tiniest little thing you can do to bring you closer to your best life? Maybe it’s taking a nap. Maybe it’s updating your resume. Maybe it’s eating a big bowl of soup or putting clean sheets on.

We all do the best we can.

Take your mental health seriously. Be gentle in your self-talk. Respect your boundaries. Communicate what you need. Notice your thoughts and know that you do not have to believe them. You’re okay. You struggle because it’s really freaking hard to be human. We are all exhausted. We do the best we can.

So. Be kind to yourself and be kind to strangers, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.