The prevailing problem of the women that I work with is that they struggle with the idea of self-care because when I say “self-care” they hear “selfish.” I like to use the analogy of the oxygen masks on the airplane. It’s my favorite because it’s so appropriate! Self-care is putting on your own mask so that you can help other people in your family and those surrounding you. If you don’t put your mask on first, you can’t help anybody else; you will pass out and be in need of help instead. As a mom and a wife and a caregiver, I don’t want to be the one on the floor needing help. I want to be the one helping others. I get a lot of my self-worth and a lot of my pleasure from helping others. It makes me very happy to be able to serve others. That joy and happiness will be taken away from me if I don’t take care of myself. I will be the one on the floor!
How is that different from being selfish? A selfish person will not share their mask. A selfish person will not help other people put their masks on. And a really selfish person may steal someone else’s mask. The women I work with are not those people. They’re not capable of stealing masks and not sharing.
So what is self-care? Self-care is meeting your basic needs. Sometimes it’s a simple as using the bathroom when you need to. How many women dance around instead of going to the bathroom? That is basic self-care. The other is eating when you’re hungry and making time to nourish your body. So many women skip meals to make food for the rest of their family and then they don’t eat. Another basic self-care is moving your body when it needs to move, in the way that it needs to move. It does not mean punishing your body, performing some grueling workout that doesn’t serve you. But instead, moving in a way that nourishes you and feeds you. This could be running, it could be walking, or it can be a gym workout, but it should be something that excites you and makes you feel amazing. It is making the time for movement. That is basic self-care.
It is also tending to whatever health appointments you need to take care of, making sure that you go to the appropriate doctor and reaching out for the help you need when you need it. Support and help may be provided by a counselor, a coach, or a good friend. Self-care is getting a fantastic massage, going to an osteopath, or getting acupuncture. Basic self-care can also be 15 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. It can be achieved by turning your phone off, closing your door at the office or just pulling over on the way home so that you can have some time to meditate. For other people, it’s getting a pedicure, having a girls’ night or meeting a friend for coffee. Whatever it is that leaves you feeling centered and rejuvenated and taken care of, is self-care. So, start with going to the bathroom when you need to. You can work up from there, taking it day-by-day, knowing that self-care is not selfish. Selfish is taking when someone else needs. Self-care is taking care of yourself so that you can continue to function effectively and share your gifts with the world.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.