How’s your self-care? I know what you’re thinking self-care… I’m too busy or I just forget to care for me. Between worrying about & caring for the kids, the house, my job and… I just don’t have the time or energy to be nice to myself.
Finding time for self-care is a huge challenge. You spend so much time taking care of other people that there’s no time to take care of yourself. By the end of the day you’re exhausted, and so you either collapse in front of the TV and/or overeat because you forgot to feed yourself during the day. Emotional eating is the only way many women know how to soothe and care for themselves.
If we do find time for self-care we often feel guilty. It’s not our fault we’ve been trained to put everyone and everything else first and told that self-care is selfish. However, self-care is about long-term wellbeing, not short-term pleasure. When we care for ourselves we feel strong, healthy and confident and have the energy to help others and make a difference in the world.
Recently I was coaching a client named, Phyllis a single mom who works her butt off and is always tired. I asked her what are you going to do this week to be nice to yourself? She told me she was going to make gift baskets for several friends who’d been going through tough times.
Here’s what I told her: You deserve love and attention just like everyone else and you need to make time to put yourself first. Self-care isn’t a luxury it’s essential for your health and happiness. Yes, that mani-pedi is a necessity! Before a plane takes off the stewardess tells you in case of emergencies to put your own oxygen mask on first for a reason. If you can’t breath you can’t help anyone else. She got the message and then together we designed a self-care plan.
Today I encourage you to make a self-care plan and start taking care of yourself. If you’re hungry have a snack. Feeling tired? Take a nap. Anxious? Do a grounding exercise like deep breathing or taking a walk outside. Stressed? Exercise, do yoga or meditate.The simplest approach to manifest self-care and self-compassion (treating yourself like a good friend especially when you’re stressed or suffering) is to make a list of how you’d like to take care of yourself. Then do the things on your list.
There are 5 general ways we care for ourselves—physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Here are examples in each category and questions to ask to start your own self-care to-do-list:
- Physically: How do you soften your body?
- Mentally: How do you care for your mind especially when you’re stressed?
Watch a funny movie, read an inspiring book or entertaining magazine, meditate, sit in the sun, climb a tree, listen to music, color, view art, fly a kite, give yourself a break, take things off your to-do list, watch the clouds or stars, listen to a guided meditation…
- Emotionally-How do you soothe and comfort yourself?
- Relationally: How do you connect with others in a way that makes you happy?
Hang out with friends, play a game, give someone you love a call, edit your social media feed to get negative people out of your life…
- Spiritually: What do you do to care for your soul?
Read, meditate, pray, get out in nature, go to church, practice yoga, take a media fast & unplug (i.e. turn off your cell phone)…
Self-care isn’t selfish. Self-care is an act of self-love. It’s a powerful way to strengthen yourself and connect with your inner core so you’re prepared to make the most of your life when it’s wonderful and when it’s messy.
So be a little selfish. Do at least one thing today just because it makes YOU happy.