The Goals of Self-Care - Self-Care and Magic

The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018

The Goals of Self-Care
Self-Care and Magic

Self-care is a buzzword these days. But like media representations of magic, representations of self-care can be confusing. What exactly constitutes self-care? Is getting a mani-pedi or a new handbag actually self-care, and if not, what is? Simply put, self-care is any activity that you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional, or physical health.

Magic dovetails perfectly with the concept of self-care because magic is about listening to what’s inside you and the messages the Divine and nature have for you. Being in the moment in this way opens you up to an intimate world of information that is supportive of your well-being. Magic and self-care make excellent partners on the road to leading a balanced, fulfilling life.

This chapter will explore not only what self-care is and some of the damaging self-care stereotypes, it will also give you some background on the magical techniques that you will use and explore in the later chapters of this book.

The Goals of Self-Care

The goals of self-care are simple:

♦ Healthy mind

♦ Healthy body

♦ Healthy spirit

The point of self-care isn’t just about giving yourself a break. It’s about becoming skilled at identifying your needs by listening to your mind, body, and spirit. And not just long-term needs, but also immediate needs, the needs you have at this very moment.

How hard can it be to listen to yourself? Particularly difficult, apparently, because a staggering percentage of the population has difficulty sleeping, anxiety issues, depression, and an ongoing feeling of failure.

Taking care of yourself is more than inputting food and making sure you have a roof over your head. It means treating yourself with the kindness you extend to everyone around you. It means supporting yourself the way you support people who are dear to you.

Women in particular struggle with this self-care issue, although it’s not a woman-exclusive problem. Women are socialized to care for the people around them by denying or minimizing their own needs. This leads to an erasure of self-worth and a constant putting-off of rejuvenation or addressing the woman’s own needs for support and nurturing. This in turn can lead to anger and resentment.

Self-care means considering yourself a worthwhile person and presenting yourself as valuable, capable, and deserving. In other words, self-care seeks to redress an imbalance that develops when you don’t take proper care of yourself, whether by inattention or by choice.

Self-care also doesn’t have to involve big, splashy undertakings. In fact, self-care works better if you do it in regular small doses, because it helps keep you from reaching a level where you are in desperate need of something big to make an impact on how you feel. This sort of incremental self-care is also beneficial because small gestures don’t take a lot of time, so there is less of a sense of stealing time from other responsibilities or other people. It can help avoid the sense of selfishness that sometimes accompanies self-care activities.

Often selfishness is at the root of self-care stereotypes. Magical work is excellently poised to fight this feeling, because it generally works on an unseen, inner level where others cannot judge.

Magic As Self-Care

One of magic’s main focuses is healing—healing of the self, healing of the earth, healing of humanity and nature. In this sense, magic and self-care go hand in hand. Self-care is a way to maintain your health, heal your spirit, and maintain or optimize your emotional, mental, and physical health. Magic helps with self-empowerment and exerting control over your life, encouraging a focus on yourself as the best person you can be. These are all things that resonate well with the general goal of self-care.

The practice of magic seeks to establish or balance connection between an individual and the environment. If a spiritual aspect is added, then magic also seeks to balance or maintain the connection between the individual and the Divine.

Incremental Self-Care

There’s a tendency for people to say, “Oh, just exercise; your depression will vanish” or “Take up yoga and you’ll be a much better person spiritually!”

That’s not how self-care works. Self-care is a complicated interwoven combination of hundreds of small acts and an attitude shift. Using just one of the rituals, spells, or practices in this book is not going to solve your problems. But each will make you feel a little better and hopefully help you see that you are worthy of self-care and deserve to take the time and attention you need. Even though it may not make your fatigue vanish completely, taking care of yourself is still a valuable thing. Cleaning up a room won’t eliminate your anxiety, but it will make the atmosphere healthier and more comfortable to be in, and that’s important.