Do you get your car serviced so it runs smoothly, looks good and lasts as long as possible?
How about your bike? Do you get it tuned up when the brakes are squeaky and the suspension is a little leaky?
It’s smart and practical to take care of your stuff so it stays in good shape and lasts.
The same is true for taking care of your body and mind, unless you’re not that concerned with them running smoothly and lasting a long time. And maybe you’re not…
In my experience I would say that a lot of women see more value in taking care of their stuff and other people than taking care of themselves.
Here are the reasons some women give for not prioritizing their own self-care:
- Not enough money.
- Not enough time.
- It’s selfish.
- It’s indulgent.
Let’s talk about the last two first. If you’ve ever flown on an airplane you know that they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first so that you can then help others. Why don’t they tell you to put masks on others first? Because you can actually help others if you’re conscious and breathing! You’re definitely no good passed out in your seat.
For those of you who have taken a first aid, CPR or swiftwater rescue course you also know that the most important person in the rescue is YOU. Therefore you must first put on your PPE and assess the scene so you don’t endanger yourself and potentially make the situation worse by becoming another victim.
The truth is that you can’t live your best life, or help others live theirs if you’re stressed, not sleeping, not moving, and experiencing health issues that are preventable.
Self-care is not selfish or indulgent. It’s an act of empowerment.
I tell my clients this all the time, and when they really take it on they generate incredible results for themselves.
By taking on self-care you actually empower yourself to better serve others. Stop buying into the false narrative that you have to be selfless to be a good person. When you take good care of yourself you increase your capacity to be generous.
Next, let’s take on the no time reasoning.
Here are 5 self-care practices that take less than 1 minute:
- Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning to support a gentle cleansing of your urinary tract, stimulate digestion and help lymph circulate.
- Take one full, conscious breath when you need a pause in your day. You can also repeat the mantra: ‘Inhaling I breathe in, exhaling I breathe out.’
- When someone gives you a compliment or acknowledgment, take a moment to accept it fully by simply saying ‘thank you.’
- If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do tell them no. Setting boundaries is a very powerful act of self-care. AND when you say no to that stuff time opens up for what’s really important to you.
- Become aware of how you’re truly feeling in your body right now.
Growing self-awareness is the most powerful aspect of self care and you don’t need an hour of yoga per day to start cultivating it (although it does help). It’s the small stuff you do on a consistent basis that will generate the best results.
Last, let’s consider the money reason.
If you’ve ever been sick you know that it can incapacitate you. If you can still function, you know that you’re not functioning at 100%. Everything gets put on the back burner. You can’t do much when you’re sick and your quality of life can go way down.
Here’s the hard reality, research shows that 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the US are caused by lifestyle. That means they’re preventable through changes in diet and lifestyle (self-care). They include heart disease, COPD, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer.
Health is wealth.
To me there’s no other way to put it. You can invest a little money now on preventative self care versus more money later when your body breaks down prematurely. Illness can take away everything so why not invest now and receive positive dividends. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and I bet you buy insurance for your car, home and life. Why not also invest in your self-care now? It not only makes you feel good in the moment, but it also pays off in the long run.
I had a client who was a high performing swim coach and teacher who was finding that she was having energy crashes and digestive distress that was negatively impacting her ability to do her job and connect with her athletes/students. She felt tired all the time and pretty miserable. She was resistant to investing in herself and her health because of all the reasons we’ve discussed here. After just 30 days of working with me she declared that it was the best thing she’d EVER done for herself. She felt lighter, had sustained energy all day and no more digestive distress. She was thrilled to feel great and be able to be her best self with her athletes/students. It turned out to be more than worth it for her.
I’ll say it one last time!
Self-care is an act of empowerment. Take back your power to feel good and focus clearly on what’s important to you.
If you want to learn more effective self-care strategies, including how to increase your stress resilience, transform negative thinking, and learn to ground yourself during fall season, join me and my friends Sommerville Johnston, a Somatic Experiencing therapist for our upcoming Virtual ReTreat! November 13 – 15, 2020. CLICK HERE to learn more and resister!