What is Self-Care?
How would you answer that question? I think if I took a poll, there would be many answers to this question. Bottom line – it is personal and unique to each person and it can change from one day to the next.
It could be anything from picking up dinner so I don’t have to cook and clean up, to meditation, to working out, taking a walk with a friend, reading a book, to taking a warm bath and sipping a glass of wine.
Basically, it can be anything that helps you care for yourself in its most basic form. It can be just doing something nice for yourself like the examples just mentioned.
Did you know taking care of yourself involves all aspects of your life? This could mean setting boundaries, saying no, or being honest about your feelings, asking someone at work for help. As you can see, it involves not just your personal life but professional as well.
If I asked you on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 meaning you are the best at self-care, where would you rank yourself? Be honest. Maybe this is the first time you have actually thought about how important this is. But you need to know where you are on this scale so you can determine where it is you want to go.
But before you determine where you want to go, it might be helpful to know some reasons why you should care about it.
First, if you do not take care of yourself, you can’t do life well. Plain and simple! And taking care of yourself involves caring for body, mind, and soul. I understand you may have a learning curve to this because you may be like a lot of us where we have people to take care of. Maybe it’s kids, maybe it’s parents, whatever it is, we tend to put others in front of ourselves.
But I am here to challenge you. When we get burnt out, stressed, it shows! If you never get a break, you become imbalanced. Then, you aren’t giving your all to ANY part of your life.
Let me ask you a question. Whatever ways we give of ourselves, whether it be taking care of kids, driving parents to appointments, what if those people got the best version of you? Isn’t important to give that to them? That’s really what we want for others, right? To give them the best?
Think about it – if your kids, spouse, co-workers get the version of you that is the least stressed out, most present, kind, patient – wouldn’t that be the best thing you could do for them AND YOU? Good self-care means giving the best of you to others!
Now, no one needs more to-do’s, right? Such as, “I have to work out”. You need to think of self-care as getting what you need t revitalize yourself.
I want to challenge you. Think of taking a small step forward. You know that scale I asked you about a few minutes ago? If you were a 3, what is one thing you could do to move that number one notch higher on the scale? You need to do the best you can, take care of yourself, and just focus on one small thing you can do today and throughout this week that will help you take care of yourself. Then, after about a week, add another thing that may help you move one more notch higher on the scale.
Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just moving towards giving you what you need to take care of yourself. Remember, you are worth it! Don’t just run throughout the day with anxiety, fear, and adrenaline. You can manage better by taking care of yourself.
One last thought I’ll leave you with today – the way you relate to yourself is mirrored with those relationships with others. If we want supportive relationships, we have to first be this way with ourselves. Think about what support you need today and start taking a small step towards a better, less stressed you!