Updated: Mar 20
I'm back, I know - apologies for being distant.
I have been busy, life has been chaotic & it just got more chaotic (obvs). I have been getting more messages from clients in the past 72 hours about their stress levels and feeling overwhelmed. I figured maybe someone else out there might need to hear this too…
Although we can’t change the events that are going on outside in the world/society in terms COVID-19, social distancing, working remotely and essentially hibernating from the world on the cusp of spring, we do have the ability to change our state of mind.
The thing is, many of us don’t practice regular self-care, not because we don’t want to but because we have become accustomed to running off so little (in terms of self-care) that this lifestyle of neglect or running off nothing has become our new normal. In my own personal life, I can identify the busier things get, the more I am doing, the more I am spread thin, the more I am managing, the less I am planning and simply going through the motions. The expectation of the world is that you should be able to juggle multiple tasks seamlessly at one time and be able to complete them in a designated time frame. The reality of the matter is, while you are trying to juggle these tasks you are also trying to keep up a social pulse, trying to be a functioning member of your family, you are trying to schedule in time for extracurriculars, manage the personal things occurring in your life and the net effect is that the time you had allocated for your self-care falls by the wayside, because you have to eat/sleep/relax/decompress.
In social situations, I have noticed a shift in conversation and a shift in myself.
In my 20s I worked myself to the bone, I worked nights, I worked weekends, I worked through nights and weekends and all day. For me, back then, it was a badge of honor and I perceived it would show people how incredibly important I was. I came to a point where my self-care was, so much so, in the negative that my lifestyle had to change.
I run into this theme with clients as well. They are working themselves to the bone and they are confused as to why they are unhappy. Their employers are praising them, they are seen as reliable employees who are thriving professionally. If you put in 100% into your professional life how are you allocating any time to yourself, even if you are putting in 70% how are you allocating the remainder of your time, to family, to social obligations and from that how much time do you even have left for self-care? How long have you been sustaining this lifestyle & how long do you want to be?
In graduate school, they teach that practicing self-care is an ethical imperative. Self-care is defined as providing adequate attention to one's own physical and psychological wellness (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001). Regularly taking care of yourself (aka. Self-care) is known to combat depression, reduce anxiety, improve your overall mood and make you more motivated.
Taking care of yourself (self-care) is a wide topic that entails so much, eating right, exercising appropriately, grooming and pampering, meditation, creative outlets, being genuine, having alone… the list goes on…
I believe that taking care of yourself is a learned habit and in order for the habit to stick it needs to be practiced. Some habits happen naturally, in my own life and experience those habits are typically the negative ones (if I am being honest), and in my own experience the good for you habits that we all desire to create a life long relationship with are harder to stick by - they require discipline, determination, and a set mind.
What does taking care of yourself look like; be honest.
Write a list of what you identify for yourself as self-care items, how often do you practice these items?
How often would you like to be practicing them; be realistic. - we will work up to your dream plan of doing it every day.
Write down how much time you would need to practice the top 3 items of self-care on your list; be realistic.
Write down the things that are preventing you from practicing your self-care
Typically, there is no one around you that is going to diligently stand by you and nudge you saying “have you practiced your self-care today?” but in times like this where we are called to remain home, to practice social distancing… have we any excuse not to be taking this time and investing it in ourselves (other than working remotely or taking care of our families).
SO, what I really went to writing this blog about; here are some things you can do to practice self-care and given most of these are for women:
Read something for pleasure
Watch a movie you want to watch
Treat yourself to a healthy meal
Create a vision board
Spend time outside doing something that isn’t a chore
Listen to songs that make you happy
Work out for at least 30 minutes
Celebrate your wins (even small wins)
Set up goals in writing
Now given, these are not the only things you can do to practice self-care there are endless alternatives. My husband plays video games… it’s all relative.
There are so many corny sayings out there that basically boil down to if you aren’t taking care of yourself how can you take care of anyone else, in a sustainable manner. This week I challenge you to practice more self-care & to practice more and more in the coming weeks.
Very best & be well,