Self-Care: Challenging the Self(ishness) of Putting Yourself at the TOP of The List

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

It started with a bet. Well, not a bet with money per se. It was more like a challenge.

“Sarah, I don’t think you can come up with 50 ways to practice self-care. If you can devise 50 ways, I’ll start practicing them.”

Game on!

So I took pen to paper and realized this was pretty tough. Hum, I reflected. What do I practice? What “should” I be doing? What do others do? I know I’ve some got articles around here somewhere – “The 7 Tips…” this and “The seven hacks…” that. (BTW, who came up with seven being the magical number of tips anyway?)

Wait, why wouldn’t I use AI to help? Isn’t that what it’s there for? “Hey, ChatGPT, what are 50 ways to practice self-care?”

Boom! It pumped out a list, and it was like a shopping list for well-being! I found new ones, I instantly fell back in love with former ones, and it validated existing ones.

Tongue in cheek, I filmed an Instagram reel. You may have caught it. In it, I started to chuckle about some things on the list that I thought were a bit of a stretch.

50 reasons why going to the dentist is self-careWhat got the biggest laugh? Going to the dentist is self-care. There’s my bias revealed – that you couldn’t possibly do something as necessary and ongoing as a form of self-care. A dental hygienist who follows me aptly pointed out that dental care is key to health. That got me thinking; I can recall hectic life phases when my “regular” dental checkup became irregular. I reflect on how there are many people not privileged enough to be able to afford to go. I know some experience so much anxiety that they can’t bring themselves to go. And some don’t take preventative measures because they don’t feel worthy. Click the link above or the image to download the complete list.

Going to the dentist might, in fact, be the epitome of self-care.

Self Care is Unselfish Care

What if we looked around the world and the things that we normally take for granted, the things that we have to do anyway, the things that we should do, we were able to look through the lens of “doing this for you”?

What else is on the list do we minimize as unimportant or a “nice to do” when it is a beautiful reflection of the root issue of self-care? Sometimes, the fundamental, basic, most important, everyday things we do for ourselves remind us that we’re important and should put ourselves on top of the list.

Could 50 ways to practice self-care reveal some things right under our brilliant noses?

Challenge accepted.

Not only do we now have that list of self-care practices, we got so jazzed about it that we created a resource you can download for yourself and share. Make it a discussion point with friends, colleagues, your kids, and anyone you want to help you practice self-care more consistently and to fuel conversations about how to ensure we all care for ourselves as much as we do others.

Look at this list for what you do already. Consider what else you might want to try. Reflect on if there’s something you want to bring back into your life that was in the rearview mirror.

Have we been receiving signals that self-care is less important than caring for others, caring for careers, our bills, and our inboxes? Oh, dear me, is the inbox more important than our well-being? (Don’t answer that.)

50 ways to practice self-careWe have compiled 50 ideas to profess your self-care focus and encourage others to do as well. Please share it with the world. We all deserve to be healthy, thriving and well. Click the image to download the complete list.

So, for International Self-Care Day (ISD), July 24, plan to go to the dentist, go for an “awe walk,” chill on the massage table, or binge-read your fav novel just for the heck of it. Why not load up your day with these and other suggestions from our 50 list? Ask yourself, what did you like? What will you do every day? And how is being kind to yourself actually good for others? How will this be the beginning of a new practice as important as your inbox?

Want even more self-care tips, check out the links below:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
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Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

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Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

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Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

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Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

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