Hi. My name is Danika… and self-care saved my life.
Bold statement, but it’s true. My journey to self-care was a long one — a story for another day — but the truth is that I spent half of my life battling. Battling with self worth and confidence, food addiction and bulimia, drugs and alcohol, struggling to pay rent, and accumulating crushing debt in the process… the list goes on.
Looking back… I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely true (I’d love to give little Danika a pep talk today so she never questioned her worth) but, as it often happens, from our darkest places comes light. It was these seemingly impossible hurdles that forced me to take a hard look at how poorly I was treating myself for years. This realization was difficult, but necessary, and ultimately led me on a path to self-care, and shaped the woman that I am today.
About a decade ago, a 30-day nutrition challenge changed everything. It opened my eyes to the fact that I was, in fact, capable of taking care of myself after so many years of self doubt. This realization gave way to a year of self-imposed monthly personal growth challenges, then another year, and another, and I began developing these powerful tools that gave me the clarity and guidance needed to apply these self-loving practices daily, and for good.
These challenges planted the seeds of self care that shape everything I do today. There was a magical quality to these tools that had such a profound impact on my well-being. Accepting that we alone are responsible for our own destiny, and that in my case, I was the only person holding myself back. That was so powerful to me.
Self-care saved me. And it’s been my mission to share this work with the world ever since.
What is self-care (to me)?
There are a million interpretations of self-care, and you’ll get a different answer from just about anyone you ask. Society traditionally associates self care with luxuries like massages, vacations, workshops, and spa days. All wonderful ways to spend your time if you’ve got the means, but I believe the true definition of self-care is much simpler:
Self-care includes the practices that help make space for love and happiness, and that give us the energy, opportunity, and permission to follow our dreams, while showing up as our best selves. Self-care should and can be accessible to all and, while the application looks different for everyone, it’s always a means to the same end: working towards our highest selves.
My favorite way of thinking about self-care is that it’s the practice of filling up your own cup (you) to the point where it overflows. You’re then able to give to others from the overflow, while staying full yourself. It’s a true win-win.
Pretty simple, right? Enter the self-care gap…
The Hardest Part of Self-Care
After years of working with thousands from all walks of life, one thing became very clear to me: many of us already know a thing or two about the practices that serve us, but this too often gets lost in the gap between knowledge and action.
I realized that we’re actually working against ourselves when we know what we should be doing, without the systems in place for implementation. For lack of a better explanation, when it comes to self-care, we needed a place to get sh*t done.
Consistency is key, but it’s the piece of the puzzle that so many of us struggle with.
In order to realize the impact of this work, it’s critical to show up. That means making the space for self-care, and being consistent and intentional when we do. It’s the hardest part but, when we make the time to show up, and put in the work, we reap the rewards.
I attribute this gap to the 3 most common blockers (or misconceptions) about self-care…
The 3 Most Common Self-Care Blockers
1. “I don’t have time for self-care.” (You do)
Like most, I consider myself to be very busy. There’s always another meeting to join, errand to run, or inbox to clear. For too many years I let this get in the way of my progress, thinking I’d get to my self-care on that mystical day when “things calmed down.” They never did.
Whether you’ve got 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or a few hours to dedicate to self-care, it’s not about the time spent, it’s about consistency. We all know that simply stretching for a few minutes each morning can serve us well, but when you make that a daily priority along with any number of micro-habits (e.g. affirmations, breathwork, journaling, manifestation)… that’s where the magic happens.
Uncovering the habits that serve us personally is so critical. Once you do, when you put these habits into action over time — intentionally and consistently — they can lead to big, big changes. I promise you that.
In the end, I’m a huge advocate for celebrating the little wins. No phone in bed for a week? Win. Drink five glasses of water every day for a week? Win. Open the blinds to let the light in each morning? So simple, but you guessed it… win.
Checking the items off my list that I know serve me most lead to a better day, week, and month. As insignificant as an act may sound, if they’re helping you show up for your day, over time these tiny adjustments can have a profound impact on your attitude, outlook, and life.
2. “Self-care is selfish.” (It isn’t)
Not only is self-care not selfish, it happens to be one of the most loving things we can do for one another… and the world.
My personal self-care routine has had such a major impact on my quality of life, that it allows me to show up as a better version of myself in just about any scenario. We all have off days, but we always shine our brightest when we’re our most happy, present, and authentic selves.
Personally, I recognize that there are certain non-negotiable self-care checklist items that I need to thrive. Certain practices give way to more productivity, which reduces stress, which makes me happier, which makes me more open to new opportunities, and whatever the universe has to offer that day. It’s a domino effect in the truest sense of the phrase, and it’s not just me that benefits.
When your cup overflows with self love, others benefit from the excess. Selfish? No way.
3. “I’m alone in this journey.” (You’re not)
Everyone on this planet practices self-care, whether they refer to it as such or not. The biggest difference is how consistent and intentional we are about it from day to day (seeing a pattern here?). It makes all the difference.
In talks with thousands of women actively doing this work, I’ve learned a lot. In conversation, the same sentiments were echoed over and over. Specifically:
- We crave community. We want to know that we aren’t alone in our struggles.
- We often feel alone, even when surrounded by others.
- We have a hard time staying accountable and making the time for ourselves.
- We crave space and consistency for our self care work.
- We know what we want, but are often afraid to admit it — to ourselves, and others.
- We hold ourselves back with self doubt: “Who am I to have this?”, “I don’t deserve this,” “I’m not ____ enough,” “There’s no way I can _____.”
- We have the answers, but often need support in tapping into them, and tend to look outside ourselves for others to tell us how to live.
- We want vulnerability. We want authenticity. We want human.
- Vulnerability breeds connection.
- We’re better together.
When we do things with others, the likelihood that we keep at them greatly improves. We can hold each other accountable, and support each other through the harder times. We can inspire each other and lift each other up. We can give each other the permission to dream big, with the common goal of living our most full lives.
We are not alone in this work. In fact, we need each other.
Why Self-Care Society?
Ultimately, because it didn’t exist. And it needed to exist.
I always loved being able to pop into a yoga class and follow along to familiar moves — putting faith in the teacher, getting inspiration for my own practice, and not having to worry about a thing.
I found myself wondering why there were so many resources for my physical body, but the options for consistency in nurturing my emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being were so limited.
I knew how many people needed support in bridging the gap between self-care knowledge and action. I knew that the biggest battle was in showing up to actually do the self-care work. I knew that even those who had a fairly consistent routine thought it felt repetitive or stagnant over time. I knew there was a better way.
Self-Care Society was created to help bridge that gap, and give others the inspiration, permission, and space to show up… and uncover what serves them most in life.
So, what is Self-Care Society really?
Self-Care Society is the 30-minute classes, community, and tools that I wish had existed when I started my own self-care journey.
I am so grateful for this group of visionaries helping us pave the way and create a community unlike anything available today — a “portal of positivity” as one of our founding members so beautifully put it.
We’re a community unconcerned with follower counts, social status, or the “look at me” photos that pervade Instagram and other channels. We’re here to offer an outlet where people can come together and be real, vulnerable, celebrate wins, ask for support, get creative, share their hopes, their dreams, their fears, and connect with others looking to do the same.
I often liken Self-Care Society to a fitness program for your soul. The truth is, it’s already so much more. It’s a feeling more than a collection of words. A feeling that I want everyone to be able to experience along with the hundreds of amazing founding members who have already committed to showing up and doing the work. Both for themselves and for others.
What is Self-Care Society? It’s magic, it’s love, it’s support, it’s pure joy.
It’s a place to fill your cup.