Let me repeat that. Self care is NOT the same thing as selfish. Some people are nodding their head in agreement with this statement, while others are in complete disbelief-as this sentence goes against everything they’ve been taught.
The truth is most women were raised to believe that everybody has to be taken care of, before we focus our attention on ourselves and our needs. As women we have to make sure everybody is taken care of because biologically we are mothers which society translates as nurturers. This identity as nurturer is where our value lies. This includes our ability to predict the needs of our families, friends, colleagues, strangers, etc…
Making sure everybody else is taken care is so embedded in our identity that often, we don’t even question it-it’s just what we do. We may even enjoy this role and take great pride in it.
I have always taken great pride in caring for others. In fact my love language is acts of service! Making food that my family and friends enjoy, hosting gatherings to bring everybody together, supporting others in times of need, the list goes on and on. And I truly love doing it. It brings me great joy to take care of others.
However, just like all women, I have limited time and energy. The trouble lies when we move into patterns where we are exhausted and every fiber of our being is screaming at us to take a break, a nap, or simply some time to read a book.
As strong and dedicated women, we press on, because we love our families and friends and want them to be happy. Also, if we don’t do it, who else will?
Subconsciously our value and identities are so intertwined with making sure the needs of others are taken care of before our own, that we no longer see what we are doing as a choice. It’s now an obligation. It’s a standard that is set, that is unobtainable, and actually hurts us and the ones we love.
Burning the candle at both ends and running ourselves ragged has some very real and negative consequences for ourselves and those we love. These include burnout, depression, anxiety, resentment, frustration, and anger. That’s just the emotional consequences. Physically, not practicing self care increases our chances of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
When we spend all of our time and energy taking care of others, who takes care of us? The answer is nobody. You’re the one flying the plane, getting everybody to where they need to be. But, you’re asleep at the wheel, because you’re exhausted!!! Sure there’s autopilot, but can you consistently rely on autopilot to get you and those you love to the your destination? Can autopilot help in situations where there are extreme weather conditions or the radar goes out? No.
Self care is the only way.
When you practice self care on a regular basis-you show up as your best self and are are able to fly the plane-fully alert with a clear idea of where you’re going and how everybody will get there safely-and in record time.
In fact, consistently engaging in a self care routine has been clinically proven to reduce stress, improve concentration and energy, increase happiness, and reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression. In addition to these benefits, self care can help keep us aligned with what we truly want in life and keep us focused on our life’s meaning and purpose.
Creating a self care routine is critical to women’s happiness and in a society that prides itself on productivity. It actually creates more time and space for us to be productive.
When we create healthy and consistent eating, exercise, and sleep patterns we feel better physically and emotionally. When we make time for family and friends we feel connected, loved, and supported-all which are foundational for our emotional well being. When we take time for ourselves each day to simply be, we are more creative in how we approach our life.
Where to start? Mindfulness. Simply taking time to stop, breathe, and reflect.
When was the last time you just breathed? Nice deep belly breaths, that helped you clear your mind and connect again with your body? For most of my life-I didn’t do this. I was completely in my head and my body was more of a vehicle to get me from point A to point B.
The results of this disconnect…extreme anxiety. I didn’t listen to the messages my body were sending me and what I learned is that when you don’t listen to your body-the messages get louder and louder until you have to listen.
When I started practicing mindfulness I learned how to be at home in my body and to listen to all of the things my body were telling me. The mind/body connection informs us of what is working in our lives and areas that need to change.
Taking time to tap into your body on a daily basis (I use guided meditation or simply walking out in nature) is incredibly important and easy to do. It just takes time and practice. But, it’s one of the best ways to connect with yourself, and it takes very little time each day.
Simply taking time to be present in the moment, take a deep breath, and appreciate the moment you’re in. Just for the sake of enjoying a small moment that makes up your day, days that make up your week, weeks that make up your month, months that make up your year, and years that are your life.
This week I challenge you to make one daily consistent change to practice self care. Maybe it’s going to bed earlier, reading a book for a 1/2 hour a day, or practicing mindfulness. Commit to doing this one thing every day consistently for one week and see how you feel.
I promise that even practicing one type of self care daily will make a positive difference in your life! My heart is leaping thinking about you, choosing this for yourself!
You are so worthy and so capable of creating a life that you are passionate about each and every day.
All you need to do is begin by saying YES. Take this small challenge and see how small manageable steps make a great difference.
After you’ve practiced this small change for one week, come back here and leave a comment. I see how these small steps have made a big difference in my life and the lives of my clients. I’d love to know how they worked for you.
Wishing you love and connection this week and always!
P.S. Even making small changes to old habits and ways of being can be challenging. If you find you aren’t able to overcome obstacles you face when trying to practice self care (guilt, lack of time, reactions of others) you need more support. Book a complimentary discovery call where we can create a Dream Life Creator Blue Print that will propel you forward in creating the life you are excited about each and every day.
Always value YOU! When you value YOU…you show others how to treat you and they value YOU as well. In valuing yourself, you give others the chance to step up and develop skills in self care which also gives them all of the benefits of reduced stress, anxiety, depression and increased feelings of happiness and connection. When you practice self care, everybody benefits!