During an at-home-picnic with friends she was just suddenly standing in my living room. I love that my friends feel this comfortable by inviting their friends too (I really do!). She has an energy with her that can't be explained. Since that moment we started to run into each other more often and became friends. She always chooses her words wisely, therefor I was very curious to her view on self-care. Get inspired by Anna!
Picture: Rachel Ecclestone
Anna, what does taking care of yourself mean to you?
"To me, taking care of yourself is not necessarily found through having bubble baths and doing face masks, though those are valid practices. To me self-care is found in little moments throughout my day."
Was there a specific moment in your life when you felt self-care is very important?
"A couple years ago I promised myself that I would practice meeting myself exactly where I am in the present moment no matter what internal or external state I was experiencing."
"I was tired of running. Of abandoning myself when emotions became too much, when the pain was too much. I realised that my power lies in that pain, in the vulnerability of sitting with it and becoming curious with the story that‘s really alive there. It’s emotionally charged- a potent power you can mobilise to empower yourself in your trauma, no longer dis-empowering or disappointing yourself or others. I made the choice that no matter how angry, how fearful or how wounded I felt, I would choose to shift away from my reaction of distracting myself, running away from, numbing or disconnecting (through food, smoking, dissociating or overworking). I refuse to bypass or abandon the true experience of myself but rather, fully meet myself there."
"Practically this means consistently creating “space” in which I can check in with myself, to be present with what’s alive within me."
"The practice (yes it’s a practice!) I choose to show up for, has allowed me to take ownership over myself, to approach my shadows with a loving curiosity and through that awareness shift them from the subconscious reactive program into becoming the conscious creator of my actions."
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"Through this, I remain in connection with myself which has allowed me to continuously expand the trust I feel within myself to express and act on my boundaries, desires, fears and any emotion that may arise. It’s an ever-expanding sense of clarity that I give myself through showing up again and again."
"This consistent meeting with myself I see as a relationship, it requires a willingness to go into the discomfort. It allows me to form a deeply loving relationship with the entirety of who I am, which isn’t a perfect process by any means, but it is my unique journey."
Your unique blueprint of self-care:
"I think we all hold an individual blueprint as to what nourishes us in each moment, the things that speak to our inner child, our pain, our emotional experience will vary from person to person. Honoring these distinct needs, asking “what truly feels nourishing to my emotional/ physical body right now?” That’s where we actually meet our truest experience of ourselves, not in prescriptive “one-size-fits-all” forms of self care."
"By checking in with my internal world, taking care of myself has become so nourishing, one of the deepest forms of self-love I’ve ever experienced. From there I’m able to self-source myself. This means I am not immediately reaching outwardly to someone or something to fill that emotional or physical need but rather, going within first, and from that place of clarity- discerning what can support me in my experience."
"I love dancing with my emotions, moving them physically through my system, even if that means screaming into a pillow out of anger, making growling sounds, moving around on the floor in a way that feels comforting, holding myself. We love to think we’re not primal beings in some way, as much as we think we can understand or break down emotions through the mind, our physical body can be such a tool in accessing the root of the emotion and actually moving through it."
What do you do when you feel the need to take care of yourself?
"I slow down. And then I slow down even more. Often we want to force our minds to be still, I’ve learned it all begins in the very animalistic foundation of our nervous system. Beginning with the breath, slowing it down in a 5 seconds in 5 seconds out rhythm, you begin to shift into the parasympathetic nervous system. You’ll notice a “spaciousness” that’s created, less mental noise as your heart rate slows down, your mind will too. From that I check in with my heart (my emotional center), give it all the time and presence and hold the space in which I can meet whatever is alive within."
What is your TCOYS tip to other people in times of a crisis?
"I’ll say it again: Slow down. Breathe deeply and listen to yourself, trust the inner voice that tells you what it needs. Cover the foundations of nourishing foods, sunlight, nature, sleep and physical touch with yourself/ others if possible."
What feels good to you when you feel tender?
What space can you create for yourself to be present with whatever you’re moving through? Do you need time? Do you need to just speak it out loud to yourself? Do you need physical touch with yourself?
What helps you soften?
How can others support you in that experience?
"And most importantly, be compassionate with yourself in this process. It’s never perfect. But, if you’re willing to consistently show up for yourself in this way it's one of the most empowering things you can do in truly knowing yourself and from that clarity- taking care of yourself."
Anna Wiedemann is a breath worker, currently living in Amsterdam.