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Normalizing Self Maintenance Before Self Care

What exactly is "self-care"? Our everyday lexicon basically defines the term as: caring for oneself in accordance to the demands of modern living. However, as the demands of our lives increase exponentially, the concept of "self-care" has also gotten more inflated. "Self-care" suddenly became a mud wrap and a pedi at the spa, or mimosa brunches, or retail therapy. Not that those things are wrong or bad in any sense! But I'd like to take a step back from "self-care" and normalize the more basic "self maintenance", which we so sorely need.

What is "self maintenance"? Self maintenance is the root of "self-care". Think of your car--you need to do the fundamentals to keep it running: gas in the tank, regular oil change, proper air in the tires, etc. Once you've checked these off the list, you might wash the car to keep it shiny, maybe add satellite radio so you can listen to your faves, change out the old floor mats, maybe even add a fun specialized plate. What do you need in your body in order to do it's basic functions, before you add on the extras?


  1. Nurturing whole foods

  2. Hydration

  3. Sleep

  4. Exercise/movement practice

  5. Physical maintenance: dental care, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, etc

  6. Non-physical maintenance: therapy, spiritual/religious practice, meditation, etc

  7. Social activity

These non-negotiables are not perceived as sexy, or as flashy as a trip to Vegas but they are essential to a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, when money gets tight, these are the things that people cut out first. I get it. While I was fairly regular with most of the list, I neglected Physical Maintenance for a very long time when my budget was tiny. Considering how hard I push my body on a daily basis, physical maintenance should be a very high priority, however, I was reluctant to part with my hard-earned money. And then of course, I always have to pay a greater price with injuries and forced time off when it all catches up with me.

My most recent visit to my acupuncturist was a revelation. I thought I was coming in for a bicep thing, but she informed me how jacked up my neck and supraspinatus were. As she went through her testing, she found large knots and very ropy, unhappy muscles. During treatment, different parts of me spasmed and ached. Needless to say, I immediately made another appointment for the following week. Moving forward, the plan is to see my acupuncturist and my chiropractor both once per month, with a massage every 6-8 weeks. It's really the very least I can do for, and what I owe to, my body. She does an awful lot for me and I need to start treating her better.

What should you be doing to nourish yourself?

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