Handle with care. Does this sound familiar? We‘ ve all seen the phrase. We all know what it means. Basically, what we are handling is fragile. Whether it’s the package we hand over to the clerk at our local post office or the lamp we buy at the store. But are we missing something in these three simple words?
Maybe these words can actually be a wonderful reminder for more than our breakable material goods. Maybe we can apply this to something far more fragile: ourselves. What if we used “handle with care” as a mantra for our lives?
Surely, if stamped on our forehead, others would know how to handle us; however, do we need a stamp to remind us about self-care? What if our reminder came in the form of our pulse, our breath or our mood? We could discern immediately how fragile we were at any given moment. Or, we could ask ourselves a few self-reflective questions such as: Am I at peace? Am I fed? Am I safe? Am I okay? If the answer to any of these questions were no, then we’d become aware that we need to bring more care into our experiences.
Maybe we need to eat more often, sleep better, incorporate meditation or exercise into our lives or take a walk with nature. It might be a shift in choosing a different reaction to a situation in our life that causes us stress or unease. There are so many ways in which we can be kind to ourselves. The key is to do them. Most of us can tell a friend how to take better care, but are we actually practicing that advice with ourselves?
As a teacher and a trainer, I am always asked about health and wellness. The only way I feel I can help others is if I am living my advice. I choose to live my life in a way that is nurturing and kind, not only to my body but my mind and spirit. In practice, this means: I am gentle with my reactions to my thoughts. I release judgment when it creeps in. I notice the emotion of jealousy or frustration and recognize them as feelings and thoughts and not reality or my identity. I give myself permission to make mistakes, to not know all the answers, to be human and most of all, to not be perfect. I am forgiving of myself. This has a trickle-down effect of supporting my entire being; my health, my nervous system, my hormones, my relationships, my career, my finances, my joy and my inner peace-of-mind.
By practicing self-care and choosing to be gentle with myself, I am planting a seed of kindness towards all mankind. It starts inside and blossoms from there.
So next time you see the words HANDLE WITH CARE, ask yourself this simple question:
Am I handling myself with care?