Last year, I did a survey about self-care to several of my clients in preparation to write about this topic. One of the statements I asked them to finish was:
If I could make any improvements to my self-care practice, I would...
The participants had a choice of several answers, and they could check any that applied. They all checked the box that read:
I would make more time for self-care.
What is it that prevents us from giving ourselves the time?
One reason I suspect is that many spiritual teachings say that we ought to put others first. We are taught that we ought to be giving and compassionate. It may be true that it is good to be kind and generous.
But if we give from a place of depletion, we endanger our own well-being.
When we don’t give ourselves enough time for self-care, we feel off-center. We can experience feelings of confusion, weariness, and depression. It can sometimes feel like our life is happening to someone else.
But when our Sun is vitalized through proper self-care, we feel centered. We make better decisions, and we are able to give without draining ourselves.
Furthermore, when our solar function is healthy, we are able to know what we want, where we are going, and what we are doing in our lives. We have a sense of our mission in the world, and we feel excited to engage it each day. When we are living from a vibrant core energy, our direction is clear and our aim is true. Our Sun is the part of us that knows it is good to be alive.
Our vital Sun also lets us know when we must say “no.” We become aware of what doesn’t align with our Sun’s sense of purpose. Healthy boundary-setting is a solar function.
When our solar energy is depleted, it is like our battery is dying. We need to attend to our Sun in order to recharge.
Here are some signs that we are in need of self-care for our Sun:
Fatigue that seems out of proportion to your daily activities and demands
Lack of joy for life
Anger that feels protective or defensive
Lack of direction, aimlessness
Below you will find a simple action for each Sun Sign in order to help you come back to center. Because time is of concern to so many of us, I chose activities that can be done for as little as ten minutes and still be effective. But if you can give yourself more time, all the better. You can also use these ideas as a foundation for building the rest of your regular self-care practice, or add them to your existing practice.
Do something physical. Take a brisk walk, or a run, or dance around the living room. Choose what sounds energizing in the moment. The only requirement is that it gets your blood moving and your heart pumping. Move that energy!
Pick a favorite food: It’s time to do some mindful eating. Yes, I’m telling you to indulge, guilt-free. The only requirement is that you sit in a quiet place and focus on the taste, mouth-feel, and smell of your chosen morsel. Enjoy it, 100%.
Pick a favorite magazine or book to browse. The only requirement is that it be fun reading for you. Allow yourself to skim, jumping around to what catches your eye. Immerse your mind in some light entertainment.
Fluff the nest! Choose a small area of your home that you’d like to clear, rearrange, or beautify. The only requirement is that you know it will make your heart sing every time you look at it the shiny new corner/area. Enjoy creating comfort and beauty in your sacred space.
Be like a lazy cat. Set aside a “do nothing” chunk of time. Allow yourself to lay in the sun, or sit on the couch staring at the birds outside the window. The only requirement is to take a break from your To-Do List. Follow the impulse to play that arises from this down-time. What would be fun to do next?
Organize something small. Look around your space, whether it be office or home, and choose to make neat something that is messy. The only requirement is that you know you will breathe a sigh of pleasure and relief to see it done. Feel the satisfaction of completing a task and seeing the pleasing results.
Connect with a loved one. Pick up the phone or Skype and chat with someone whom you’ve been missing. The only requirement is that you enjoy your connection with this person. Feel the pleasure of sharing a story or a laugh. Know that your close relationships energize you.
Explore your inner world. Do a tarot reading for yourself, or write in your journal, or recall a night-time dream you want to understand. The only requirement is that you set aside this private time for complete self-focus and self-reflection. Appreciate the insights that come to you as you get to know yourself even better.
Break out of your usual routine. Go someplace that you haven’t gone before. It could be a restaurant, a bookstore, a public garden. The only requirement is that it is new to you. Know that every time you step out of routine, you open up your world to greater possibilities.
Take just one small step toward a cherished goal. Do one thing that moves you closer to manifesting this dream. The only requirement is that this step be something concrete or measurable, something that you can point to and say: “I did that.” Know that you are moving toward your aspirations, one step at a time.
Spend some time in solitude and brainstorm an idea you’ve been playing with. Allow yourself time away from social pressures to be completely in your own head-space, and write down what’s going on in there. The only requirement is to free yourself from the expectations of others. Feel your your unique brand of genius thrive when you are given room to breathe.
It’s time to escape. Remove yourself from the mundane details of your life by watching a movie, reading a novel, or any other activity that helps you to go to another world. The only requirement is that you give yourself permission to detach for a while. Know that your imagination opens to fresh insights when you allow yourself these periods of healthy escape.
In the next part of the "Self-Care for Your Sign" series, I’ll explore the Moon Sign’s significance for self-care. You can find Part 1 of this series here: http://www.denadecastro.com/blog/self-care-for-your-sign-the-sun