soul care

soul care, self-care, social media

I’ve struggled with the term “self-care” for a long time—it’s why I started to use the phrase “soul care” a few years ago, and so I greatly  appreciated Angelica Puzio’s perspective on this term.

Although you don’t want to get me started on people who ask whether we’re doing something “all wrong”—or worse yet, inform us we are doing it all wrong.

self-care + consumerism

…it’s hardly surprising that the consulting firm McKinsey estimates that the $1.5 trillion wellness market will grow 5 to 10 percent annually by selling us products and services aimed at helping us look and feel better.

~ Angelica Puzio, The Washington Post

I think Puzio nails it when she makes the connection between the self-care industry and consumerism. (I’d call it the self-care industrial complex)

It’s more than a little alarming to me that health coaching is lumped into this industry. I really question the idea that the economy must at all times expand for all to be right in the world. (Yes, I’m a Bernie girl from back when he was the mayor of Burlington.)

What’s right for me may not be right for you, and what’s right for me right now may not be right for me in the future. It’s all bio-individual. Why else would it conjure up images of white women taking bubble baths for some and inequity for others?

We’re all entitled to decide what constitutes care of the self; unfortunately, we’re not all privileged enough to shop at what my kids dubbed “the MILF mall,” where all those retailers of self-care products are located. I’m quite sure you know the one I’m talking about. Follow the skinny white women in athleisurewear. (How is that even a word?!?)

self-care + soul care

I’ve drawn the distinction before by saying that self-care is what Cosmo tells you to do and soul care is what the Universe invites you to do. And I’d now add that soul care can be, as Puzio quotes Professor Stephanie Evans as saying, “free or cheap if done right.”

This is why I’m always asking my clients what feels nourishing to them on a soul level and urging them to spend time in that space rather than chasing the next shiny object/diet/supplement/practice that is being touted “out there” by “experts.”

  • Don’t feel your best when you’re keto or plant-based or or or? Find what works for you.
  • Yoga not for you? Try out a different form of exercise.
  • Don’t find yourself able to meditate? Maybe you find knitting or gardening to be centering and grounding.
  • Feel like Erma Bombeck in the bathtub? (You go to take a bath and all you can see and smell is the mildew around the tub.) Try taking a nap instead.
  • Etc.

In my opinion, health coaching done right is accessible to and affordable for Every Body.

soul care as a room of requirement

We often forget that the only expert on our self is our self—not our parent, sibling, BFF, therapist, doctor, or guru du jour. It’s fine to look outside at what’s available and to take various options for a test drive. Ultimately, though, it has to feel right deep down in our soul for it to be sustainable, at least for this season of our life.

My favorite advice around soul care is this: don’t make it yet more items on that to-do list that is never to-done! Instead, create a container of time on your daily (yes, I said daily) calendar—it can be as short as 10 minutes or even less. When you get to that point in your day, ask your soul what she feels like doing.

It’s like entering the Hogwarts Room of Requirement that exists in each of us: if you really listen, your soul will tell you what you really require to nourish yourself. The trick is that sometimes she screams, and sometimes she whispers

social media

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about social media over the past six years. In fact, I’ve been pondering it since the run up to to 2016 election.

Originally, it seemed like such a great way to re/connect with long-lost friends and family. Then it became the it thing for growing businesses. And then … well, let’s just say it doesn’t feel so nourishing any more on any level.

Two recent events really made me sit up and take notice:

  1. The whistleblower’s revelations about Facebook’s policies and politics: No, I wasn’t shocked at any of the “revelations” and thought, “Is anyone truly shocked by this?”
  2. The day Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp went dark: While a lot of people were panicking (“How can I do business without it?”), my only sense was one of overwhelming relief.

The first step my clients go through when we work together involves engaging their inner wisdom to discern what their values are. Most discover that the reason they don’t reach their health goals is that they don’t align with those identified values. And being out of alignment feels icky (that’s a scientific health coaching term, BTW).

The health coach certification process and most of running a coaching practice often feels like one long exercise in coaching oneself. It’s not uncommon to hear that as a coach, “your mess becomes your message,” meaning that you coach people through something you experienced earlier. It’s like saying, “You write the book you need to read” to an author.

enter soul care

As a health coach, I continue to have these aha moments about my own soul care. My most recent one has been that it’s time to bid social media farewell. It no longer nourishes me or my coaching practice—although there are many who feel differently.

So by the end of 2021 (or sooner), I will be closing my social media accounts as a form of soul care. And I can’t wait to stay in touch with people in more meaningful ways! I’m still working out exactly what that looks like, and in the meantime, if you follow me on social media and want to stay in touch with what’s happening in my life and business, I invite you to join my email list—you’ll get notices about new blog posts and podcast episodes, upcoming events and offerings—both free and paid.

make the connection

What’s been feeling out of alignment in your world recently? And what sort of soul care feels like a good way to change that? Drop a comment below, and let’s have a conversation about it!