We are constantly running and serving others. We have partners (both business and personal), kids (four-legged and two!), relatives, clients, vendors...that we all try to take care of and keep happy. And it is exhausting!
Often times the last person on the to do list to take care of is ourselves. And when you are last on the list - it comes as no surprise that that to do doesn't usually get done. Which has big consequences.
Women are constantly reminded that we need to practice self-care. And there are many quick fixes and products that will help us do that. But maybe it isn't as easy as that.
Self-care often comes up as an issue to discuss at our Circle meetings. And what comes out in that conversation is that self-care isn't all about "treating yourself" and an hour of "me time." Doing something that you enjoy, taking a class, tackling something you have never done, and challenging oneself are all ideas that are given - those things that help you grow. It seems even Mr. Rogers supports that idea of self-care.
At the same time, other ideas that come up are about the things you do to make a better life. In the article This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake, Brianna Wiest says that "Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing. ... True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from."
This approach to self-care is the harder one. It's the one that requires you to look at what's not working and tackle it. It's about saying no to things you think you should say yes to. In other words as Wiest says it "...often takes doing the things you least want to do."
So maybe self-care is about identifying what you are trying to escape from in the first place and dealing with it. A good friend of mine always says that we make our own choices and that we have to live with the results - that it is not someone else's fault we are dealing with the consequences of those choices - it is our own. So we have the power to choose whether we need to chase self-care or we will create a life of it.
Wiest says it best:
"It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.
It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it."
And once you decide how to tackle your self-care - your circle is there to support you and hold you accountable to creating that life you want to live.
Want to understand some of the science behind stress and more tips to manage? Check out the new book - Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle