How (and why) to Practice Self-Care

Is it just me or has this been a stressful time for most of us?  We just finished the holidays, then winter rolls in acting all bi-polar and now the new president throws one shock after another our way. I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with world news and politics that I can barely keep up with the dishes, let alone sleep. I know I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed lately because I have had numerous conversations with friends over the last few weeks about what we can do to take a mental break from “it all”. Staying informed, active and involved with our community, family and world is so important, but so is self-care. The two little words that many of us, women especially, take for granted.

Who has the time, am I right? Also, who doesn’t feel kind of selfish when we do take the time?? WHY on Earth do we feel this way? And, what exactly is self-care anyways? That last one might be easiest to answer by telling you what self care does NOT look like…

Self-care is NOT: never sleeping, taking care of every single other person’s needs before your own,  skipping showers, skipping workouts, stressing yourself out, never taking any time for the things you enjoy, doing “it all”, caring more about what other’s think than yourself, etc.

Sound familiar? If that list is how you’d describe yourself than you, like me, probably need to learn to take care of yourself.

Last week, I talked with a good friend who actually made herself a “self-care calendar”. She wrote out one way to take care of herself each day. I love calendars and lists, so I too, created a calendar…however, I made this calendar during a particularly hectic week and actually told myself,  Let’s start this self-care business NEXT week. Kill yourself this week, get it all done, then you can learn to “self-care”. Want to guess what happened by the time Thursday rolled around? I found myself so miserably sick that I not only missed out on enjoying my parents’ visit, but enjoying my daughter’s third birthday party. In fact, one week later, and I am STILL recovering. Why? Because if you don’t take care of yourself, your body will eventually force you to slow down and take a break. 

It’s just like the standard “apply your oxygen mask first” airplane rule. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be fully prepared to take care of the people around you. So, now…the hard part. How do you find the time? Well, it’s easier than you think. Self-care doesn’t have to mean taking an hour or two out of each day to get a fully-body massage or take a yoga class, although if you can do that, by all means, DO IT. Self-care can be as simple as making a list of what you’re thankful for when you wake-up or reading a book for fun before bed. I went ahead and made a list for you too!

a self-care help list

Choose the ones you like, skip the ones you don’t and add your own. The important thing to remember is just to take the time to care for yourself. And, remember. Self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care is necessary. You cannot give your best if you’re running a fumes. Fill-up on what heals you and then change the world. Take it from me, you don’t want to wait until your body forces you to take a break.

You can't pour from an empty cup.


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