It was a typical summer morning, my three daughters getting ready for camp. While eating breakfast, my oldest asks, “Can you drop me off at my camp after you drop my sisters off so I don’t have to sit and wait so long before camp starts?” Without hesitation, I said, “Sorry, I can’t do that. I have a 9 AM workout class that's important to me and if I make that change, I’ll miss my class. So you can hang there and wait.”
She looked up at me with a dumbfounded face. I’m pretty sure her internal dialogue was something like, "What, are you kidding? You are not going to give me what I want? You would rather go work out and have me wait?! Ugh, what kind of mother are you?!”
I’m the kind of mother who fully believes that in order to care for you, I have to care for me. I’m the kind of woman who knows that for me to possess the energy it takes to give fully to my life, husband, my children, business, my family and friends, I’m putting me at the top of my list.
There’s a reason the airlines tell you to place the oxygen mask on yourself, before assisting others. How is it that they get it, but so many of us still struggle to prioritize self-care? Or what I refer to as, healthy selfish.
Let’s take a deeper look into the 5 most common reasons self-care gets ignored or dismissed:
1. There isn’t enough time. Um... BULLSHIT. There is plenty of time for lots of things. The question is, what do you WANT to make time for? Sure, perhaps something else falls off, but it is all about what you choose.
2. I feel guilty because there are so many other things I should be doing. Can someone please tell me who this “should" police is? We can talk about the shame of "should" another day, but if you would like to start feeling lighter right now, try eliminating that word for your vocabulary. There is no "should". There is "choose to" or "choose not to".
Now, let’s address the guilt part -- that one’s a little more interesting... What is it about putting yourself first that makes you feel guilty? How can you start to know that you are worthy and deserving of self-love and self-care?
3. People will judge me. Whhaaaaaat?????? People judge?! No, never! And if they do, then what? My gut tells me that those who deem it acceptable to judge your making time for yourself are envious of your strength in doing so. I say, help the Judgy Judgersons along and support them in finding their own power and ability to make time for their self-care.
4. My kids will think I’m selfish and will resent me for putting myself first. This one stirs me up the most. I do not believe our sole purpose in life is to live for our children. It is to love them, teach them, inspire them, and bring them up in a way we feel confident enough to let them go independently into the world when it’s time.
So considering that, couldn’t putting yourself first actually teach your child (through action) that self-love and self-care are key? Furthermore, in a society where the current generation is afforded so much, provided endless opportunity, and gets everything they desire in seconds at their fingertips, perhaps not having the sun rise and set over their asses could be a good thing? It may actually teach them patience, perspective, and dare I say gratitude?
5. I don’t even know what self-care means to me or what I would enjoy doing. Self-care is any intentional action you take to care for your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health. Self-care is specific to you and is whatever makes YOU feel refueled, jazzed, pumped, nurtured…
Perhaps it’s volunteering your time, a workout, a yoga class, a fun photo project, a long dinner with a close friend, closing the shades and watching your favorite show uninterrupted, reading a great book, experiencing a cathartic cry, an art class, a nap, meditation… the list goes on and on.
Here’s an easy way that may help you identify what you’d enjoy: close your eyes, smile big, and simply ask yourself, “if I could do anything I want right now, what would it be?" Then go do it.
Adding self-care into our routines reduces stress, increases productivity, decreases the chance of physical and mental ailments, promotes feelings of happiness, and positively effects our overall energy. The best part is how powerful consistent self-care can directly impact your world. So make a plan and try it on. You are more than worth it!
Treat yourself well,