The Self Care You’re Starving For

Is there something more that you need than bubble baths and a smidge of stolen peace? 

“She chose to live in a way that supported the tranquility of her soul.”

-Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts

I haven’t been able to stop whispering this to myself since I read it. Caroline Myss was referring to the poet Emily Dickinson, but as soon as I saw the words, I knew I wanted that.


I wanted to be able to look any one of you in the eye and say, with total honesty, “I do these things to support the tranquility of my soul.”

Which leads to a few obvious questions: What things? What would it feel like to have a tranquil soul?

What does tranquility even mean?

tranquility of your soul

One of the practices Kel and I have developed for working through different issues is to dig down and find a definition of the word that we want to use. I decided to work with this definition:

Tranquility is a state free of anxiety or restlessness, a state of composure.

Oh, I know that place. I’ve visited there before. Now I want to live there.

That would be next-level self care.

All the self-care I’ve done in the past few years–the bubble baths, the playing with beauty, the dabbling in meditation, the walks in nature–they’ve all given me moments in that place. They’ve given me glimpses of what brings me peace and insights into how to make that happen for myself.

But lately they haven’t been enough. Not for next-level self care. Not to satisfy this hunger for tranquility.

I suspect I’m not alone in this wanting.

The basics of self care, those things you read about in magazines and occasionally go to a spa or lock a door to obtain, are important. If you’re not doing them for yourself, start. Think of these actions like the small, bland meals you’re giving someone who has been starving. You don’t want to overwhelm a malnourished system with too much to start.

But after a while, you’ll realize you’re ravenous. Your body and soul are crying out for real nutrients, and now that you’ve stopped the starvation, you can hear the whispers. Give us more! Take us to the next level!

You won’t find a list of spa treatments for next level self care in any magazine. I can’t give you a nice tidy set of bulletpointed to-dos in this post. What I need to do at this point might be the worst possible choice for you.

What I can do is tell you this: You already know what you need. You just have to listen.  

Breathe deeply, and remember those moments when you felt tranquil. All the instructions you need are already there.

It might not look like a glossy magazine spread about self care. It might look like spending more time planning, or bringing reusable bags to the store, or speaking your truth in places where you were previously silent. There might be less clutter, less busyness, more silence, more compassion, more education, more listening. I’m willing to bet each thing will create a closer match between what you feel on the inside and what your life looks like on the outside.

You already know what your soul is starving for. You don’t need me to tell you anything more than that my soul has been starving too, and I want to see us sitting at the table together, nourishing ourselves with the things we each need most.

Tell me in the comments: what would support the tranquility of your soul?

Tracy at women making changes


Tracy Richardson

I'm a writer, jewelry artist, web designer, and homeschooling mother of two. My mission? To help people create spaces for their stories and truths.

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5 Responses to The Self Care You’re Starving For

  1. Great question! I’m working towards my needs … a move closer to family and the ocean. It’s taking longer than I wanted, but I’m handling the wait well, most of the time. In the meantime, I’m finally feeling like I’m climbing out of the fog and able to handle the day to day of life again.

    • Tracy Richardson says:

      Karen, I’m so proud of you! Both for taking those steps to get you where you’ve wanted to be for so long, and for not putting off life until you get there. Inspiring! That’s the kind of next-level self care I’m talking about. :)

  2. Brooke Wardle says:

    Hi! I love this quote! I put it on a post-it & added: “a fave quote of Tracy’s”. :) I recently met another woman w/ fibromyalgia, and she lent me a book on OVERCOMING it. While reading, a thought has come to me over & over, which is that I need to finish growing up–to move past the helplessness, etc. (lack of tranquility being applicable, too), that I’ve allowed to consume me for years now! I think my ability to overcome has to do w/ being more aware of the choices I make & the feelings I feel.

    • Tracy Richardson says:

      Hi Brooke!

      WOW. Just…wow. That last line of your comment just went into MY quote book. :) Because you’re absolutely right. Awareness is a key!

  3. Carol says:

    Yes! Yes! Thank you. I know that feeling, but since I’ve been pretty good about self-care (at least when I’m at home), it has felt really self-indulgent to want more. But I do want more. Not so sure I know the what yet, but I’m listening.

    I’m so very glad to know I’m not alone.

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