How’s your self-care? I know what you’re thinking self-care… I’m too busy or I forget. Between worrying about & caring for the kids, my parents, spouse, the house, my job, the yard, the dog and… I just don’t have the time or energy to be nice to myself.
Making self-care a priority is a huge challenge for many of the women I know and coach particularly at midlife when there’s so much on your plate. You spend so much time working and caring for others that there’s no time for you. 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 often the way many women try to soothe and care for themselves.
If you do find time for self-care you often feel guilty. It’s not your fault you’ve been conditioned 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. Caring for yourself helps you to 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 affection just like everyone else, and you need to make time for you. 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. 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.
Simple Guide for Self-care
There are 5 general ways to care for yourself: physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Here are examples for each category and questions to ask to start your own self-care to-do-list:
- Physically: How do you soften your body?
Exercise, get a massage, take a bath, make a cup of tea, eat a healthy meal or snack, stretch, dance, go for a walk or bike ride, nap, do the yoga pose legs up a wall….
- 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?
Get a hug, cuddle your fur baby, read poetry or write a poem, have a good cry (watching an emotional movie helps), talk to a good friend, journal, garden, play, cook…
- 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.
Please share what you will do for YOU today in the comments box below!
I so needed to read this! I never make time for myself to exercise or do yoga or to give myself a desperately needed mani-pedi. I put everyone else first. I don’t know how to make time for myself. I keep telling myself I need to, but then I throw myself on the back burner. I feel I am losing myself because I’m not caring for myself nearly enough. I feel like this article was written just for me!
Thanks for sharing. It’s good that you recognize that you want more self-care. What’s one small step you can take in that direction?
Growing up in the church as a Pastor’s child I was expected to work a lot and hard. Self care wasn’t part of the equation. When I reached mid-life I had a total mental breakdown. After 10 years, with much support and prayers from loved ones I started on an authentic faith journey where Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest for your soul; my work is easy.” And ,”When you learn to receive freely you will be able to give freely.” I also learned that God is eagerly waiting and longing for us to come and receive from him mercy, loving-kindness, victory over challenges and struggles, his favour, his love, his peace, his joy, and, his matchless, unbroken companionship! Today as I continue to receive from God everything I need, I am able to care about others with real compassion .
Thank you for sharing your wisdom Karla. Beautiful words and it’s wonderful that you discovered this truth and are living with more self-love and self-care.
Thank you Dr. Ellen. This is a very important message.
Glad it resonated with you, Leslie. Thanks for commenting.