21 Feb Is Self-Care Overrated?
As I am in the sky flying to my destination, I am reminded that I must secure my own oxygen mask before I secure my child’s. This of course is a great metaphor and reminder to apply the same principles to our own life. In our society, we are often given the message that self-care is a selfish act and especially women receive the message that they must put themselves last and everyone else first, especially our children. Women in our society tend to run themselves down trying to do and be everything and everyone to everybody. Due to our busy lives and doing more than we’ve ever had to do in our history, such as the working mom, who also is caring for the children, cooking dinner, household, grocery shopping, shoveling snow, paying the bills, kids extracurricular, and the list goes on. It can be easy to just not practice essential self-care.
Debunking the Myths
There is a myth around what self care can look like and what it means. It is not indulging in a binge of snacks, alcohol, or other behaviors that don’t ultimately lead to feeling bad. This type of activity tends to be an emotional escape rather than active self-care. Another myth is that self care is just for women. Men need self care too! It’s conjured up as a feminine act, men are just as vulnerable to being deprived of self nurturance. Another myth is that it needs to be an all day event or takes too much time. This is not true at all. Self care can be incorporated into 10 minutes of breathing exercises or meditation, a special body scrub during a routine shower, a walk on your lunch break. It can be easy to think “I just don’t have time.”
When I am well nourished with what fills me up, what satisfies my ultimate desires and feeds my soul, I feel balanced and am able to give to those around me more effectively and efficiently. But when I feel deprived and depleted, it is difficult for me to feel open, energized and balanced. As Cheryl Richardson states in her book 21 Days to Master Extreme Self-Care “overgiving is often a sign of deprivation— a signal that a need isn’t being met, an emotion isn’t being expressed, or a void isn’t getting filled.” she goes on to say, “Becoming aware of how and why you feel deprived can be a key to recognizing what needs to shift emotionally and physically to achieve Extreme Self-Care.” Finding ways to discover how you can recognize where you need a shift is crucial to creating lasting change and getting to the root of your hesitation and deprivation. What is your language saying to you? Are you afraid to ask for help? Are you afraid to say no? What are you needing in your life? Are you filling a void?
ex: Do you recognize you need some quiet time at night because you’re busy all day with no down time and there’s so many demands for your attention between work, spouse, kids, etc. Choose to give yourself at least 30 minutes per night to yourself to meditate, read, take a bath or whatever makes your heart sing.
Making it Real
It’s important to get into the habit to check in with yourself. You are the only one responsible for this and how you feel matters. If this practice is new to you, you can begin to gauge how you feel and you’ll begin to notice when self-care is needed.
Here are some guidelines and areas that are vital to your well-being. When you can begin to understand yourself and truly listen to your needs, you’ll begin to trust yourself and give yourself exactly what YOU need.
Check in with yourself and evaluate how you’re doing in each area:
Emotional Check in: How do I feel right now?
Physical Check in: What am I feeling in my body?
Mental Check in: What are my thoughts focused on?
Environment Check in: How is my environment affecting me?
Spiritual Check in: Do I feel spiritually connected to my source?
What did you notice? What answers arose? Then ask yourself: What do I need right now to fill this area up or change directions to feed my body and nourish my soul?
Ways to incorporate self-care:
- Take a bubble bath with candles
- Drink a glass of water
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Talk to a friend
- Journal your thoughts
- Read something inspirational. Find some ideas on our resource page!
- Change your environment (get out of the house, etc)
- Go for a mindful walk appreciating the scenery
- Write a gratitude list
- Get up and dance!
- Do some yoga
Resource: Richardson, Cheryl (2012-03-19). 21 Days to Master Extreme Self-Care. Hay House. Kindle
Please let us know your thoughts! Comment below if you had a chance to try this. We want to hear from you!
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