We live in a culture of “should” and something I see a lot with my clients is that they have the best intentions for caring for themselves but all the “shoulds” get in the way of them listening to their own intuition about what they really need.
Intuitive self-care is taking care of yourself in ways that have meaning and make sense for you. By learning to connect with and trust your intuition, you’ll feel clear and confident about what you need to feel and function your best.
How do you know what you need?
By tuning in to your intuition of course! Your intuition is a direct line of communication between your soul and your conscious mind. Intuitive guidance is always supportive of your highest good, so your intuition will never lead you astray. Note that this doesn’t mean that everyone around you or the “should” voice in your brain will agree with your intuition (more on this below).
In order to tune in to your intuition you need to be willing and open to receive whatever comes through. You also need to make space for it. I find quiet time to be especially helpful, but this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in meditation!
Your intuition is always there waiting for you to tune in, and when we can quiet our conscious minds even a little, intuitive guidance comes through easily. How many times have you received a solution to a problem, an inspired idea, or clarity around a decision while going for a walk, making art, doing dishes, or taking a shower?
With regards to intuitive self-care, consider things like:
- How you spend your time
- Your priorities
- Boundaries with other people
- Boundaries with technology
- Asking for and receiving help
- Sleep, nutrition, movement
Intuition is the key to working with these aspects of self-care in an empowered way so that you can feel good about your decisions instead of guilty for trying to take care of yourself. (Or ashamed if your most nourishing self-care involves spending a day on the couch watching Netflix and not talking to anyone! Remember, intuitive self-care is about consciously choosing to follow your intuition about what you need.)
You may find it helpful to use each of the bullet points above as a jumping off point for journaling, or as touchpoints when making decisions. Pay close attention to any sense of knowing that you have, images, sounds, or words that come to you, and sensations in your body—these are all ways that intuitive information comes through.
A few things to watch out for
One of the trickiest things about following our intuition is that it often contradicts what our conscious minds think we “should” do, especially when it comes to self-care. Remember that what we think is influenced by our beliefs.
Our beliefs—about ourselves and about life—are formed in response to our experiences. The experiences we have in infancy and childhood are particularly influential, and unfortunately many of the beliefs we create in response to these experiences are incorrect and limiting. Examples of incorrect, limiting beliefs are the ideas that love and rest are things we must earn through productivity, perfection, or pleasing others.
The beliefs we hold also affect our susceptibility to outside influences like social or familial pressure. For example, if we have doubts about our worthiness or lovableness, we’re much more likely to give in to external pressure even when it contradicts our own inner knowing. We are programmed to seek love and belonging for our survival, so if we have doubts about whether we’re being loved or accepted, it becomes very difficult to hear or trust intuitive guidance that’s telling us to go against what is socially acceptable or what our families desire.
The truth is that what’s good for us is good for the collective. When we follow our intuition with regards to our self-care, choices, boundaries, etc. we are doing what is in the highest good for all—even if that means disappointing others. Keep that in mind next time you’re afraid to follow your intuition because you don’t want to upset someone or let them down. Ultimately, following your intuition creates the best outcome for everyone (even if they don’t realize it!).
My best advice for developing a relationship with your intuition is to ask for the guidance you need and then quiet down, make some space, and allow the insights to flow to you (keeping in mind that they may not be loud or obvious!). Experiment with not responding to texts, emails, and invitations right away. Let your phone go to voicemail. Go for a walk or just do nothing instead of reading or watching TV. Ask your partner to handle the kids for an hour so you can have a bit of alone time with your thoughts to do something you enjoy. See what comes through for you when you invite your intuition in and open yourself to its wisdom.
The more you practice tuning into and acting on your intuition, the easier it becomes to intuitively care for yourself across the spectrum of seasons and situations you find yourself in.
Lastly, remember that everyone is intuitive! If you’d like personalized help with developing your innate intuitive gifts, I’d love to connect with you in a session.