I had a busy weekend, running all over the place to attend events and fulfill obligations- the kind of weekend that leaves you with a long to-do list for the week ahead. As I stared at my 2 page (single spaced) to-do list on Sunday, I fought the anxiety that was creeping in and opened my email. After a couple hours of sending email responses, coordinating holiday arrangements, and researching for clients, I realized that I was slouching. Sitting up, I noticed my back was aching from all those hours driving and I was craving movement. I thought about how great the gentle stretching and breathing exercises of yoga class would feel, but quickly stopped myself- I don’t have time for a yoga class, an entire HOUR to myself, no way there’s too much to do!
When I’m pressed for time I consistently put my work priorities first, friends and family priorities second, and myself last. That’s the opposite of being selfish, right? At least that’s what I learned growing up- put the needs of others before your own to be a good person. While I acknowledge this logic is useful to teach kids important lessons like sharing, I’m not sure it transcends to adults, and here’s why:
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and it will benefit everyone around you. Women have a much easier time sacrificing for their families and jobs instead of taking care of themselves. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be a better spouse, parent, co-worker, and friend because you have more of yourself to give.
We’ve all been “stretched too thin,” trying to keep promises we’ve made, without ever admitting that we just might be “over-committed” (that’s like admitting defeat!). So what do we do? Prioritize others first and stick our own needs at the bottom of our list. When was the last time you scheduled out your day/week/month and included a couple hours of “me” time? Why is it that we don’t think that self-care is important or worth our time? When you feel pulled in a million different directions, remember, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything!”
Self-care is active participation in enhancing the quality of your health. Self-care is an approach to living that incorporates behaviors that refresh you, replenish your personal motivation, and help you grow as a person. Both your energy level and your ability to cope with the external world are renewed when you balance productive time and restorative time. There are 3 components to self-care:
3 Components to Self-Care
- Physical- the importance of movement and touch. We’ve all heard that exercise is great for your health. Moving your body increases blood flow, improves mental clarity, and creates feelings of accomplishment and pride.
- Mental/Emotional- it’s necessary to accept yourself and forgive yourself easily. Set limits to find your ideal balance! Too much work will make you feel depleted and too many indulgences will produce feelings of guilt. Finding the right equilibrium of work and reward will balance challenging yourself without breaking yourself.
- Spiritual- Tap into your spirituality with prayer, meditation, religious services or your own practice that exercises your mind and soul. These practices build up your spirit and allow you to explore yourself and identify values and priorities.
I’m glad to say that I did shut my computer and attend that yoga class. The instructor even began class with a quote about making time for yourself so you can in turn be better for others! I left class with a clear head and the energy to tackle the rest of that to-do list! When did you last spend quality time with yourself? Self-care is the fun stuff! Listen to your body and do what you want without resistance. Nurturing oneself is a key factor in being able to keep up strength, resolve, motivation and the ability to continue to give to others! How will you make the time to recharge your batteries? Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite self-care activity!
Live your WHOLE life,
Shannon + Meg
Information obtained from University of Texas at Dallas and Psychology Today.