I admit, I jumped on the self care bandwagon early on because I thought, “I don’t do enough for myself! Count me in!” Part of my story includes a major burnout on all things motherhood, church and work and it took selling a house, a car, moving across town and quitting all of my responsibilities to heal. Prioritizing myself does not come naturally so learning the art of self care was necessary and monumental.
So what’s my deal on no more self care?
If there’s a woman whose lifestyle you admire because she seems to be in balance and to truly enjoy her life, I doubt she’s “good at self care.” She probably doesn’t even practice self care. Instead, I’d bet she’s learned the art of taking good care of herself.
To overcome anxiety, I had to find the balance of checking in with myself to make sure I wasn’t giving too much away with the reality that too much self focus only made me more anxious. Self care meant I could take care of me on a regular basis and prevent burnout.
Years later, “me moments” have become a habit and as much as I love to give, I know when I need to step back and retreat.
I now also know…
- Shopping alone (especially secondhand because I love the thrill of the treasure hunt) is therapeutic to me.
- Working behind the scenes suits me much better than being “up front” all the time.
- A mostly Mediterranean diet energizes me and suits my sensitive stomach.
- Having to-do lists saves brain space.
- Sleep is critical to my well being.
- Taking pictures in nature is equal parts stimulating and relaxing and helps me decompress.
- Negative people make me physically ill.
- I tend to over-give to people who don’t appreciate me so I have be careful of where I invest my time.
It was a process to figure all of that out. Trying things. Over-doing it. Eating wrong. Thinking I had to do things the way everyone else does. And if self care isn’t something you do on a regular basis, you might have to focus on it for a time to figure out what works for YOUR specific makeup. Eventually, however, we all need to move beyond self care as a sporadic or rare event. The fact is…
women don’t need more self care, they need to get better about taking care of themselves.
Self care shouldn’t be a “thing” we have to schedule in once a week, it should guide our day to day lives.
In fact, if we find ourselves needing self care, we’re probably way out of alignment already.
One of the problems is when our loved ones get into a mentality of “Hey, you deserve an hour to yourself this week” as if the other 99% of the time it’s go-go-go with no regard to taking care of your own needs. As if self care is the occasional activity set apart from normal life.
It’s so simple but it isn’t easy.
- Eat well
- Move more
- Rest when you need it
- Get out
- Nurture your spirit
- Be in safe relationships
- Foster your creativity
- Serve others
- Nourish your mind
If you’re thinking these are the makings of a great book….you’re right. It’s what will be a large chunk of my Big, Simple Life book.
True self care means a lifestyle of intentional living so we can be our best selves every day. Why? To better serve others.
We have to stop running ourselves ragged because our expectations on ourselves are too high.
We have to figure out what we’re good at AND where we need help.
We have to fight for what we need, whether it’s closer relationships or more space.
We have to schedule our lives in a way that honors our natural rhythms and how God created us.
We have to figure out where our gifts are best utilized and walk away from less-than opportunities.
We have to surround ourselves with people who point us toward our purpose.
True self care is so much harder than the occasional bubble bath or coffee date and it only happens if we’re purposeful about it.
Do you need to structure your life differently to take better care of yourself? Do you need to reassess where you’re investing your time and energy? Have you used self care as an excuse to push yourself too much? I’d love to know!