My definition of self-care has been expanding
Not long ago, I'd have said it was things you do for yourself. Get outside and get enough sleep. Spend time with people you're enlivened by. Eat nourishing foods.
I still think those are all worthwhile. And alongside them, I'd add that self-care isn't only the things we do for ourselves. It's also the things we release ourselves from.
There are more than a few controlling bones in my body. I've got a big, vigorous sense of how things should be and I'm not exactly fond of deviating from it.
But these notions pinch me into narrow ways of doing and being in the world. When I can risk stepping outside my forceful ideas of how this project should go or that person should act, I find a much more spacious reality than the confines of where I was before.
I feel freer. And that seems like a real kindness to give myself.
So I've come to think that a big piece of self-care is a movement towards freedom from the things that cage us in. And so often, these are things like control, judgment, envy.
It ain't easy. If it were, we'd have shed those cages eons ago. But each time we move ourselves away from what limits us and towards what liberates us - no matter how tiny the move may be - it's a radical act of self-care.