She send the documentary The Shift of Wayne Dyer in a group app of mutual friends. It felt like a sign and I watched the documentary straight away. It touched me hard so I wanted to thank her for sharing. That text message led to meeting each other and into a friendship. I can't explain her energy in words but it is inspiring and touching. I was very curious to her view on self-care so I am very happy to share this with you!
Picture: Vere Maagdenberg
Nathalie, was there a specific moment in your life when you felt self-care is very important?
"Self-care was a foreign expression to me growing up. My culture in Argentina is predominantly collectivist which means we are recognized for being generous, dependable, and attentive to the needs of others. I learnt to lead my life by the opinion and some sort of obligation to family and greater society and this trait became ingrained in my identity as an adult. A good side of it was that, because I saw myself as part of a whole, I normally didn’t shy away from asking for help and mental health was not as stigmatized. Fun fact: we have the highest rate of psychologists per capital in the world. So ‘I discussed it with my therapist’ is a common thing to say for us."
"When I moved to the Netherlands, within the first weeks I noticed how different cultural values are here. There is way more emphasis placed on the individual and personal well-being in general. It wasn’t until I worked a few jobs and experienced a career identity crisis that I realized how important it was to start looking after myself before attending to the opinions of others– in my case – colleagues, my employer, family and friends."
What does taking care of yourself mean to you?
"Taking care of myself means taking full responsibility for my own well-being. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all alone. There are plenty of ways in which you can find support or experiment and adopt practices that work for you. I came to this conclusion after following what others were doing and realizing that I would find the most peace and joy when I would try something and realize it just aligned perfectly with my interests, abilities and schedule. Discover what you like first and then do it often."
"I think it’s important to mention that self-care and generally just getting to know myself didn’t always makes me feel ‘good’. The truth is that any journey of self-discovery won’t always be picturesque and you will be challenged at times, the most important is to keep in mind that you are doing it so you can learn to truly love yourself and uncover what ignites a fire in you!"
What do you do when you feel the need to take care of yourself?
"We live in a world of digital distraction, so it is easy these days to get hooked to our phones, Netflix and online news. So you know what’s actually hard, yet so simple? To find silence. I recharge when I meditate, go for a walk in nature or lay in bed with a book.
The other aspect about silence for me is that I believe that our truest wisdom is already known to us and the most effective way which I have found to access it is with visualization and reflection. So I use this when I feel overwhelmed with choice or when I have to make an important decision. It has worked wonders!
In silence I also began to understand how I feel about myself when I am by myself and it has been a key factor in taking care of myself."
What is your TCOYS tip to other people?
"My biggest learning on self-care is that I came to believe that burnout is not always caused by a stressful job. It is something we do to ourselves. Burn-out is our friend. It is the reminder and consequence of a true disconnection between what we believe in, what we say and what we do."
"More generally I would say build a home within - treat yourself as you would treat your home. Taking care of yourself is a choice you make everyday, at every moment, in every decision. And the Argentinean in me would also say that caring for ourselves can be done together too. We can share a meal, hug, sing, workout, sit in a circle and even meditate, if the emphasis is on care and holding each other in healthy ways."
Nathalie is a Personal Leadership Mentor and Holistic Practitioner. She will be organizing a leadership gathering coming summer, follow her on Instagram and stay tuned!