Wednesday, June 6, 2018

7 Ways to Take Care of Your Damn Self

A very popular buzz-word these days is "self-care". It may be trendy or sound sappy, but I tell ya what, if you're not practicing it on a regular basis, you're doing yourself a great disservice. It literally (I'm so hesitant to use that word these days) means taking care of yourself. Not only is that not a bad thing, but frankly I've learned the very hard way several times over, and have come to determine that it's non-negotiable.

Now, you're going to have to determine for yourself what self-care is, but the following are a few ways that I view and practice self-care. Or at least, I am making a concerted effort to do so. Some are specific to tarot readers, some are applicable for anyone, but I will give some examples of how this may show up in the tarot.

1. Set some damn boundaries. One could make the argument that this one is the single most important one of all. This means determining what is and what is not acceptable, both from other people as well as from ourselves. One example is that many of us tarot readers tend to put everyone and everything else first. We give to the point of exhaustion and burnout. One card combination that screams this is the Empress with the 9 of Wands. If we are so consumed with nurturing and caring for others that we ignore, or are blind to, our own needs and well-being, everyone suffers. We teach others how to treat us by how they see us treat ourselves, and in how we allow them to behave around us.

  • Take a look at where you are feeling taken advantage of, overwhelmed, or drained. In the esoteric community, we often speak of psychic vampires, but this also brings up the point of falling into victim mentality. If we haven't made it clear to ourselves first - so we can then make it clear to others - what and where our boundaries are, we can't be so pissed when others drain us or take advantage.
  • Readers: Don't go over the time parameters of a reading session.
    (This is me giving myself some hard-core side-eye, with my mouth slightly ajar, in complete disbelief at my own audacity.) SO many reasons why, but since they are obvious I'll not waste time stating them. Set the intention that they will get everything they need in the time allotted. Set a timer with a gentle chime about 5 min before the session is scheduled to end. Or, if the shop you work in plays music, ask the person at the desk to cue the music to wrap it up. I'll never hear "Girl You Know It's True" by Milli Vanilli without silently laughing for yet another reason.
  • The word "no" doesn't make you an asshole.
    But doing something and then having a bad attitude about it just might. I'm still not able to say no as a full sentence, but I've found that saying it in a different way is easier. For example, "I'd really like to do that, but I'm not able to". Practicing this also means that we can't be all butt-hurt when someone else respectfully says the same. 

2. Take care of your shit. I'm specifically putting this one close to the top of the list. Cocktails with friends, luxurious bubble baths, and pedicures are great! Not a damn thing wrong with any of the above. But I do find that they can be enjoyed so much more when I'm not stressed about the responsibilities I need to handle. There are so many roads to go down with this one, but right now let's look at the power of making lists as a means to that end.

Be it using a fancy planner and a fountain pen, or even a napkin in the glove box and a kids crayon to make a list of tasks that need my attention, just the act of writing them down can be a huge help. The Ace of Swords is my cards for this one since this card has to do with a starting point for clarity and can indicate paperwork. The personality type is that of the Queen of Swords.

Making lists and breaking down the big stuff:
  • Frees up space in my head 
  • Starts building momentum to take action
  • Helps ensure I don't forget shit and then end up operating from panic mode
  • Checking off each thing feels so good! It proves to me I actually can get shit done, which... 
  • Builds my confidence

2. Make a Spotify playlist. Music is a huge influence for me. I find that making playlists to to suit certain moods can be incredibly beneficial. Be it my "Get Shit Done" (which has everything from Marilyn Manson to Run the Jewels) or the super-mellow yet upbeat sounds of Satin Jackets, music can shift my vibration to where I need it to be in an instant. I suggest you make a few and see how it works for you. Think of it as creating the soundtrack for the scenes of your life.

3. Make yourself a cuppa. When I was a child, in my household, a coffee cup was a very personal item! There was an assortment of nice cups for anyone to choose from, or to be used when company came over, but each one of us in the family had our own cup that was a unique expression of who we were. Mine, of course, had cats. Nowadays I have two waiting for me in the UK, and a couple here in the US. My new favorite was a beautiful mermaid cup until a certain feline broke it beyond repair. *insert very bitchy side-eye*.

The Ace of Cups is my official self love card. It reminds us to replenish ourselves and not overextend ourselves emotionally. You can't give from an empty cup. It reminds me that emotional voids must be filled internally with compassion, kindness and a strong sense of self worth. (The dragonfly on this version has a very specific meaning to me.) Find a special cup and fill it with your favorite coffee or tea. Maybe set the intention of holding and taking in emotional well being as you drink.

4. Have a bedtime. *insert aforementioned eye roll to the nth degree* This one... ahhh this one right here! Even if you are a night owl and have a nighttime work schedule that fluctuates, making sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep goes a long way toward health and productivity. If you are a person who finds that you need less, go with that. Whatever the case, if possible, going to bed at the same time each night sets our circadian rhythms and sets the stage for the next day to be productive by establishing consistency. If you have an iPhone, the Bedtime feature may be a great tool. 4 of Swords man, rest your brain.

5. Earbuds overnight.

There are so many great channels on YouTube. Put your eye mask on, earbuds in and be soothed whilst you slumber. Stardust Vibes, Jason Stephenson,  and Meditative Mind are a few of my favorites. The High Priestess is the keeper of the subconscious mind. She is the receptive veil.

6. Get inspired with motivational speakers.Again, YouTube is a phenomenal resource for this. I put it on when I wake up and listen while I'm getting ready each day. Listening with earbuds can really deepen the experience because it drowns out all outside noises that can be a distraction, thereby giving the ability to absorb the messages on a deeper level. I am finding this to be one of the best ways to rewire negative programming. Several channels I can suggest: Tom Bilyeu, Jay Shetty, Law of Attraction Changed My Life, Pickup Limes, MotivationHub, Mindvalley, Les Brown, ModernHealthMonk, SynchroShakti, Abiola Abrams, Isabel Palacios, Jim Rohn, Infinite Waters, Eric Ho, and anything with Abraham-Hicks. The energy of the King and Queen of Wands brings that call to action, and brings enthusiasm and empowerment!

7. Remove negativity 
This kinda brings up full circle because it could definitely come as a bullet point of #1, but I think it is so important that it deserves its own numeral. Negativity is always seeking two things: a subject, and a place to be. Think of it as an actual physical entity, a director with countless memorized scripts in hand who desperately needs an actor to recite the lines and a stage for it all to take place. This would be the bully of the tarot, the 5 of Swords, and the anxiety and fear of the 9 of Swords. Basically anyone who's voice is the opposite of the energy of that people listed in point #6. Here are a few ways to deal with it/him:

  • Stop. Watching. The. News.
    Just give it a try for say, one week. Don't you worry about being uninformed. Until you've made this a way of life and therefore trained those around you, more than enough people will be more than happy to share the information of world events with you. Remember, Negativity is ALWAYS looking for the next actor to give voice to the endless scripts it has created. So politely let everyone around you know you're just trying this out for a week or 2 or whatever, so unless it's info about a hurricane or volcanic activity evacuation or an actual zombie outbreak or intergalactic attack, you're not going to be able to either listen to the news nor their recount of it.
  • Get rid of negative folks. Friends, family whomever, no one is above this. Or at least be to busy to listen to or spend time with them.  Hell, lie if you have to. "Oh my gosh, I think I left a pot on the stove! Gotta go!"And then go! Hang up the phone, leave their presence immediately. (Yes, i've actually done this. With my own mother.) True, this can be a tricky one, but like anything, with practice it gets so much easier.
  • Listen to what you are saying inside your own head. This rule includes the negative voice in our own minds. The one that keeps us awake at night and makes life a living nightmare. Drown it out. How you ask? By finding something positive to replace it with. If you need work on this one, again, refer back to #6. As Les Brown says, sometimes you have to tell yourself to shut up! And I often do!
These are but a few ways of looking at and practicing self-care. Here's how I see it: with self-care, I am choosing to set up ways to create a life that is enriching and enjoyable, as opposed to one I dread and want to escape from.  I hope this inspires you to take action, and to take care of your damn self!

*decks featured in this post are the Santisima Muerta Tarot by Fabio Listrani and the So Below Tarot by Barbara Moore*

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