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The ART of Self-First care

The idea of self-care is synonymous with bubble baths, massages, beauty appointments and some level of extravagance that can feel unattainable when time and bandwidth are limited. With this idea of self-care in mind, it’s no wonder why conversations with clients often contain stories of burnout from work, child-rearing (pups included), family relations and the never-ending internal dialogue.

What happens when there’s time for a bath but you don’t have capacity to clean up after? What happens when work feels like a hat you can’t take off and although rest is calling, you lack the courage to pick up the phone? Life happens, but this doesn’t mean your quality of life has to suffer in the process.

Self-first care prioritizes your needs before the needs of others and requires practice, clear communication and the audacity to believe you deserve it. Some may read self-first and deem it selfish or believe doing so will not be received well by others. There is some truth to these thoughts but here’s an ounce more of truth for consideration – you can only give from an empty cup for so long before love feels more like resentment and trigger warnings are needed before you randomly implode.

There is beauty in a woman’s capacity to give, but there is safety in her willingness to start with herself first. Self-first care is an ART form and here are three steps to get you started.

Step 1: Assess Your Season

I fancy the idea of connecting the seasons of life with the cycle of a flower. Seed → Germination → Seedling → Flower → Seed Distribution. Knowing the season of life you are in is helpful in determining what is essential to getting to the next phase.

Flowers in the seed stage require quality soil, timely water, patience and effort without giving much in return. Flowers in the seed distribution phase are the opposite and can give in abundance without much expectation of receiving. Self-first care is optimized when you align your capacity to give and receive with the season you are in.

Step 2: Determine Your Essentials

Bubble baths with epson salt, freshly plucked rose petals, floating candles and Sade playing in the background are my jam, but they are not essential to my self-first care. Essentials have the ability to be done on autopilot, require minimal effort and can be incorporated in your daily routine.

Create a list of things that make you feel rested, at peace and with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Rank this list of essentials in their ability to be done on autopilot and with minimal effort. Test out two to three essentials in their ability to be added to your daily routine. Repeat this process until all three qualifications of the essentials are met with ease.

Step #3: Communication is Key

The moment you know what serves your highest good, it’s important to communicate this clearly to those in proximity to you. Doing so isn’t selfish, it’s self-first and it’s time to embrace this ART form.

Natalia Barlow

Makeup ARTist | Educator

IG: @GlowByNatalia

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