Self-care may be a wellness “buzzword” at this point, but beyond the aesthetic Instagram pics of bubble baths and journals next to a cup of tea (which we’re also here for!), this is OF COURSE a concept that is necessary to our survival—and our joy! (Though this is NOT to minimize the importance/validity of community care...no person is an island!)
It makes sense that a life where we show NO care to ourself and hold NO love for ourself isn’t going to feel very good...so it should be a no-brainer! But as I’m sure most of you know—it’s not quite that simple. In my work as a tarot reader, I can’t tell you how many times a client has expressed to me that they KNOW they need to practice more self-care or self-love but they’re just not sure WHAT kind of care they need or how to go about cultivating more self-love. It’s easy to tell when we’re burning out...it’s sometimes harder to tell what we need to ease that burn!
This is where our wonderful friends, the elements, step in to help!
Why work with the elements for self-care?
When we can’t quite put our finger on what our body, mind, or spirit needs right now, these universal forces can help us find our way back to love + care. Think of it this way: a multiple-choice question is easier than an essay. When you begin to feel frazzled, burnt out, or caught in a spiral you’d rather not be in, instead of asking yourself the wide open question of “What care can I give myself right now?”, ask yourself “Which elements might I need more/less of right now in order to find more ease + balance?” This gives our intuition more direction in our questioning, and from there you can turn to your elemental self-care toolbox! This "toolbox" is a list of activities or self-care practices that you personally connect to each element (I give some examples later on in this article)! Having this “toolbox” of practices written down + at the ready somewhere means you won’t have to try to force your brain to come up with a self-care solution in the moment when it might not be feelin’ so hot!
All you have to do is ask yourself what you’re needing elementally and then pick a few practices off your list of winners! When I bring this kind of intention to my self-care practices, I find it’s FAR more nuanced and nourishing than if I just try to give myself any ol’ random form of “care”. For example, if I’m feeling exhausted it could mean that I need a good, Earthy nap, OR it could mean I need to activate a little Fire by moving my body or listening to some pump-up jams. By checking in with myself on an elemental level, I'm able to get more specific about the energetics of what I'm feeling (after all, there's lots of types of "tired")!
This practice has the added benefit of removing some aspects of harsh judgement that can come up when working towards self-love. For instance, if you find it hard to reflect on the things you love about yourself (which many do), work with the elements as a kind of proxy! Sure, maybe you're not unabashedly in love with your OWN emotional ebbs and flows yet...but it's easy to love the changing tides of the sea! Take it one step further and see how that same movement is reflected in your emotional body and look at that--we're well on the way to finding more love for ourselves and more appreciation for the Earth we inhabit.
Suggestions for Elemental Self-Care
In the rest of this article, I’ll be outlining some self-care ideas and basic energetic qualities of the elements I work with for self-care (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) but you can use any elemental system that resonates with you + your practice! If my description of Water is VERY different from how you “feel” Water, that’s ok! You should use YOUR OWN intuitive elemental associations when working with the elements for self-care! The lists below are simply to help provide inspiration + get you started thinking about this practice...take whatever resonates and leave what doesn’t!
Keywords: slow, stable, grounding
Incorporate Earth in your self-care when: your thoughts are racing, you feel like you’re floating in space (and you’re NOT into it), feelings of scarcity or insecurity are high, or you feel like everything’s moving too fast.
Earthy Self-Care suggestions: take a nap, spend some time in nature, make your space extra cozy, do a grounding meditation, eat a nourishing meal and savor every bite.
Keywords: lightness, clarity, playfulness
Incorporate Air in your self-care when: your thoughts feel muddled + cloudy, you’re straight up BORED, you can’t seem to find the right words, decision-making feels impossible, or you’re just feeling dusty + stagnant!
Airy Self-Care Suggestions: breathwork meditation, aerobic exercise, step out for some fresh air, organize your space, cleanse yourself with sacred smoke (I especially love burning dried Rosemary as an “Air” practice because of its association with Mercury...the scent of Rosemary can even help improve mental focus + clarity!), play a game with a friend, partner, or pet
Keywords: intuition, cooling, flowing
Incorporate Water in your self-care when: you feel like you’re “burning the candle from both ends”, your emotions feel wounded or “stuck”, you can’t seem to find a sense of flow, it’s time to release old energy and begin a new cycle, you’re feeling like a control-freak, or you feel cut off from your intuition.
Watery Self-Care Suggestions: Drink some water or herbal tea, take a magical bath or shower, visit a body of water, journal, practice divination, prioritize your spiritual practice, do slow + flowing movement like stretching, have a good cry.
Keywords: passionate, active, intense
Incorporate Fire into your self-care when: you can’t seem to find your motivation, your lust for life is lacking, your self-confidence is sinking, everything feels grey, or you can’t seem to break out of a dull routine.
Fiery Self-Care Suggestions: move your body to literally build some heat, PERFORM the hell out of your favorite song in your room, car, or shower, light a candle (or a few...if you have a fireplace, even better), do something creative without attachment to the end result, listen to a pump-up playlist, raise some sexual energy solo or with an enthusiastic partner!
That's all for this post, witches! I hope you've found some inspiration to give yourself some extra love and care--and I'd LOVE to hear which practices you'll be keeping in your elemental self-care toolbox!!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our collection of self-care faves!
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