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Self-Care is Self Preservation

February 2nd, 2017 by Rachel Graves

The last week has been overwhelming, to say the least. The words “numb” and “paralyzed” have come up multiple times in conversations I’ve had. It feels like every way we look on the web or in the media, there is division, uncertainty, negativity and hate. It's easy to let those things creep in and really wreak havoc on your spirit, on your energy and the way you show up to do the work you've been called to do. Full disclosure – I was feeling it big time.  Every time I sat down to write, the words just wouldn’t come… I could've let my frustration get the best of me. I could've berated myself, or called myself a failure. "Of course, it's week 3 of the blog and you can't get a post up in time. You knew you'd do this. You always do this." But I didn't. I stuck to my self-care practice (snapshot of yesterday's grounding and leisure walk). And the words came.

Most of you know that I'm a big advocate of self-care every day of the week, but ESPECIALLY during times like this - when the world feels heavy.  When you question your voice.  When you're not sure if you can keep up the fight.  NOW is when you must prioritize yourself and your health, especially if you're an empath.  You can love and support, and fight for others without actually taking on their problems. We can't have you burn out now.  We need you.

5 Ways to Step Up Your Self-Care:


Stay grounded and in YOUR body - Don't allow the ignorance flooding the internet or the spinning of the media to send you into a scarcity mindset.  Don't go back to old stories that no longer serve you.  Log off or unplug if you need to.  You're rewriting those endings now.  Stay here.  Stay present.  Reconnect to nature if you can.  Take a walk without headphones.  Notice the sunlight and what it hits.  Notice the wind on your face.  Notice the sounds around you.  Walk barefoot around your house and feel every intentional step.


Breathe - BIG, deep breaths that fill your whole body.  And then keep breathing.  Know that arguments are a waste of your time and energy.  It's not your job to change minds or opinions, but it is your job to be true to yourself.  Don't let desperation and hate fuel your words.  There's too much of that already.  When words fail, breathe.  If you feel like your mind won’t stop racing, try downloading a meditation app like Headspace.


Move - GET. IT. OUT. Whatever you feel today, physically work through it.  Now is the time to be strong - mentally, physically, emotionally, you name it.  There’s no wrong way to do it, just get moving and you'll feel alive.  Here is any easy bodyweight circuit you can do anywhere to get your heart rate up and your muscles firing.  Try to go right into the next exercise with as little rest as possible.  Try to complete a full round if you can, and then take as much rest as you need.

Bodyweight squat x 10

  • Keep weight back in your heels and make sure your knees are tracking in line with your toes.  Inhale as you sink down into your hips, and exhale as you drive up, squeezing your butt cheeks at the top.

Burpee x 10

  • These can be step back or hop back depending on your mobility and fitness level.  Plant your hands in front of you and step back or hop back into a high plank position, making sure your hips stay in line.  Now step or hop your feet back up to your hands, making sure they are flat on the floor before you stand up or jump up.

Lunge x10 each leg

  • Leading with your heel, take a giant step forward as your back knee sinks towards the floor.  Keep your chest proud and your core tight.  Now push through your heel to come back to standing.

Push up x 10

  • Starting in a high plank position with your hands just outside your shoulders and your feet in a wide stance for tons of stability, lower your chest through your hands while keeping your body in that same tight plank position.  As you lower down, tuck your elbows back towards your rib cage (this is where you’re most powerful) instead of letting them flare at the typical 90 degree angle we learned in middle school P.E. Every muscle should be active – quads are flexed, glutes are flexed, core is tight.  Now push the floor away from you until you are back at the top of that plank.  These may be done on your knees, or with your hands elevated on a sturdy surface. (Push up tutorial coming soon) 

Plank x 30 sec - 1 minute

  • Facing the floor, start with your hands just outside your shoulders and your feet in a wide stance for tons of stability.  Angle your hips slightly towards your belly button to help pull your rib cage down and in line.  Everything should be active here – quads flexed, glutes flexed, core tight, arms nice and strong.  Hold this position.

Repeat 3 times.


Journal - Write and write and write til it makes more sense.  Brain dump.  Focus on your impact.  Look for the lessons.  Feel what you need to feel in order to process everything that is happening.  But whatever you do, don't fester and don't get stagnant.  The world needs what's inside of you.  Focus on gratitude.  Making the mental shift from scarcity to abundance via gratitude has been a game changer for me.  Not sure where to start?

This was my gratitude list from yesterday when I was feeling stuck.  I usually start with broad ideas and then elaborate as the words come.  I started with:

I am grateful for….

Freedom – This has always been my ultimate “why”. 

Family – The family I was born into and the family I’ve created.  I am undeserving of both.  Sometimes distance is really hard…  Sometimes all you want is to hang out at your mom’s or grab coffee with you dad, or just curl up on their couch while Sportscenter plays on loop.  So grateful for their upcoming visit and the time we’ll get together.

Sisterhood – Finding the people that just “get you” is everything.  It’s true connection, versus surface level bull shit.  It’s spending 2 hours on the phone on a Monday with a woman you barely knew a year ago, and thinking – THERE she is.

Community – AKA tribe.  A safe space where you are loved unconditionally.  A refuge. A haven.

Collaboration – We are stronger together.  Thrilled for so many big things coming soon and the opportunity to work with and learn from so many different leaders and warriors for good.

Expansion and growth – The certainty that I’m being stretched and challenged because growth is happening.  I’ve been here before.  Breathe through it.  You always come out on the other side, Miss Thang.

A strong, capable body – This is a LUXURY I will not take for granted.  This body is all I have.  She’s been with me from the beginning and I will take care of her.  Sweat has become therapy for me.  It keeps me strong.  It keeps me hungry.  It keeps me humble.

Health insurance – Saw my gyno this week.  Not only am I grateful to have an amazing relationship with my doctor where we can chat about anything and everything going on in the world and in my body, but I am grateful that I have this luxury that many women don’t or soon won’t.

Puppy kisses – They make just about anything better.  Coming up on the one year anniversary of Hudson’s accident and I’m holding him a little tighter.

Silence – A place to come and let your mind be still.

Corey – This man is Love.  He pushes me.  He challenges me.  He cheers for me.  He holds space for me.  He loves me so completely.

Peaceful Abundance – Knowing without a doubt that I have all that I need.  “Everything is figure-outable” (shout out to Marie Forleo for that one). 

New beginnings – I’ve been reminiscing a lot this week.  Thinking about the good times and the not so good times of the past and being truly thankful for them. They helped to bring you here after all.  But I live for new beginnings.  The possibility.  The excitement.  I love watching it all unfold.

Courage – Complacency and complicity is easy.  Being brave is hard.  I pray I’m always willing to do the hard stuff.


Love - Go out of your way to be with your tribe today.  Build each other up.  Don't go down that deep hole of despair.  There's nothing for you there. If you forget who you are, ping me.  Call in reinforcement - a loved one, a friend - call someone that can remind you of who you are and what you stand for.  I used this option multiple times this week.  Hold tight to your passion.

Be who you say you are regardless of what is happening in this world.  Keep showing up.  Keep standing up.  There is still so much work to be done.  As the great civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde said, “Self-care is not self-indulgence.  It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”


Tell me, do you have a gratitude practice?  How will you up your self-care game this week?  Let me know!

Posted in the category Mindset.