How well do you recognise when you need to tend to your own well-being? Do you recognise the tiny niggling feeling that something isn't quite right, or do you wait until you crash and burn before taking action?
Self-care has become a very trendy catch phrase or 'movement' but in reality it is so difficult for so many women to do because of cultural conditioning. Do you feel guilty for taking time out for yourself? Do you make sure everything is done on your 'to-do' list before you rest - even though you are tired?
My favourite quote at the moment is.....
"She gave herself permission to rest. It occurred to her that since her to-do list would never end she may as well take purposeful breaks along the way." (A Life In Progress)
You are the only one that needs to give permission to rest or take out some time to do something that nourishes your mind, body or soul. This concept is made a lot trickier when you have younger kids that have their own set of demands, or you are a carer.
Maybe if we re-label self-care as 'taking care' of ourselves, it sounds less 'selfish'. The definition of 'taking care' is to 'treat something so it stays in good condition'. That sounds nice doesn't it! If we don't take some time out for taking care, our condition will deteriorate.
So how do we fit in this magical thing called taking care when we have so many demands? Simply do it. No one is going to create time for this except yourself. This is a skill and a practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
To start with it may be 5 minutes here and there, but increasing this to purposeful breaks will increase your well-being.
I have personally struggled with this concept since becoming a Mum 10 years ago. The guilt is real - but we need to understand this comes from deep beliefs we hold about what Mums "should be" like. What role models do you have in your life advocating self-care? Or is it the norm to run yourself ragged doing things for everyone else?
Create new beliefs for yourself, create boundaries and protect your energy. Practice saying no to things that drain your energy, say yes to taking care of yourself.
Schedule it in. Pick one night of the week, Sundays are usually good - to plan your week. Start with 1 scheduled time-out for you. Eg. Instead of mindlessly watching TV one night, turn it off and pull out a great book to read - or just go to sleep earlier.
Increase these time-outs every week. Let your family or whoever you live with know that this is your time. Protect your energy and space.
Be mindful. Take a few breaths and acknowledge the act of self-care. Feel the para-sympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system take over and enjoy.
Even if you get interrupted for any reason and it doesn't work out, just take a few breaths and schedule in a new time.
Make taking care of yourself a priority in 2021.
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