self-care ideas

Self-Care is Not One Size Fits All

Today we have an excellent guest post from Terri Barley, a member of the Self-Care Circle and a Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner. Enjoy!

Have you ever been shopping and thought you found something you really like, then flip the tag to see what size it is only to find the “One Size Fits All” phrase? Your heart sinks and you keep looking elsewhere because you know it’ll never work for you. Well, self-help I’ve found is much like clothing.  It by no means is one size fits all and often discourages because we don’t get that instant “ta-da” epiphany for a solution. Once upon a time, I had a boss that instilled in me the necessity of knowing the why of doing something. His method infuriated me throughout my employment.  But now I apply this theory to every aspect of my life and it helps, especially me being the analytical type.

When it comes to self-care I’ve discovered if I know the why, then the solution is a more successful one.

There are many aspects of self-care but boiled down to the basics its physical, emotional and mental. The physical side of self-care such as getting enough rest, exercising, eating right means you need to have willpower and determination.

When it comes to the mental, and emotional side of self-care, the challenge is much more involved and can include spiritual time and whatever that means to you, learning to say no, saying yes because “you” want to not because you think someone expects you to, following a childhood dream but always found an excuse not to. But both require you to love yourself enough. And for many of us, this is where it stops us dead in our tracks.

Are you like me and push yourself to the physical/mental edge to make sure others are taken care of and happy?

I live and work on a farm and run myself ragged, in all aspects, just to do what I think is expected so everyone else is happy.  What’s the outcome of this? It’s dark circles under my eyes, body aches (I’m not a spring chicken anymore), sleep deprivation, poor diet, no exercise… I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir.  You know what I’m talking about.

But if I loved myself like I love others, watch out world here I come.


So why are we not practicing self-care? Living life means there are going to be both good and bad experiences.  There are some of us who have endured abuse, rape, trauma in many forms, and now suffer with anxiety, depression, PTSD to name a few. Natural defense mechanisms took over and now deal with being a people pleaser, perfectionism, codependency, poor self-image and low self-esteem. These results of life’s’ challenges have us putting others ahead of our own needs. Spending so much time caring for/loving others, we forget to care for and love ourselves too.

Where do you begin the battle?  You begin with taking the first step. Setting boundaries and keeping them is one key to living life authentically to who you are. Knowing, accepting and owning your truths guides these boundaries.  For me, being brought up to believe that a man is only as good as his word, I hold people to that.  If you lie to me that’s it, trust goes away.  Trust is a hard boundary I draw, there is no moving this one.

It’s also about feeding your soul.

As a child what made you happy, made you smile…what were your dreams?  Do what that little girl would have done. Take time for yourself no matter what that means. At one point of my journey, I was spending time with a friend while I regrouped from a very bad marriage.  On a Fall Sunday afternoon, I went to a local farm to enjoy some horseback riding (this feeds my soul like chicken and dumplings!) and the owner says well while ya’ll are here why don’t you bring in the cows.  I was thrilled and anxious at the same time.  But by the time we got all 200 head into the pens I was feeling rejuvenated and alive again.

There is no one size fits all solution so don’t feel bad if the self-help book you just bought doesn’t give you warm fuzzies, or what worked for your friends isn’t working for you.

Take what you need and move on, find what speaks to you.

Books, yoga, meditation, hobbies are all great examples of self-care. However, sometimes the most helpful is relatability. How many of us have thought, “no one will understand”?  It’s difficult to reach out when you feel and have convinced yourself you’re alone and like no one else is going through what you are, much less understand how you’re feeling. Finding that one person to call to listen, and have them respond, “me too” can be monumental.  One small phrase validates and comforts simultaneously. Suddenly you feel your shoulders lower and that crushing pressure you felt in your chest begins to subside. It helps purge the bad feelings so you’re ready to deal with those challenges; gives you that ok I got this attitude back.

Social Media sites such as Blessing Manifesting: Self-Love Quotes can be an amazing avenue to connect with others to find that support and understanding, those “me too” moments.  Because you are not alone, reach out, we are out here.  Your mind gets in the way, a lot. Take over, remind it you are the boss in whatever method that works.

At the end of the day be proud of yourself for every battle, small or large that you took on today.

Remember you are strong, you can do this. Because you are a warrior. When you see other women working through their challenges in everyday woman-life, and think wow, they’re strong, brave and courageous! Look in the mirror, that’s you too!

Terri Barley is a Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner specializing in Energy Therapies in Rugby, ND.  She received her education at Cumberland Institute of Holistic Therapies in Brentwood, TN before going on to private practice. Being able to share her story of abuse, Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and how she works through them every day is cathartic as well as priority. Helping others is who she is.

She’s currently working on her first book, a non-fiction/self-care book based on her life, and a Southern Comfort Food cookbook. You’ll find her on Facebook in her new group, Authentically You and Instagram @terribarley.