Me Too: Why Self-Care is for Everyone
Because you matter, too.
Are you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just plain burnt out? If so, I’m here to tell you you're not alone. Life can be hectic and demanding, especially when we're all so busy with work, family, and other responsibilities that require our attention. As a result, finding the time and energy to prioritize ourselves can quickly become challenging and make us feel guilty or selfish for putting ourselves first.
What a great segway – self-care is not selfish.
This is a statement that I often myself repeating in my head time and time again, yet it's still difficult for myself and others to fully embrace. Why? Societal norms. We live in a society that often glorifies overworking and neglecting our own needs, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty for taking time for ourselves. But the truth is, self-care is not only necessary, but it's also essential for our overall well-being.
We become more prone to stress, burnout, and physical and mental health problems when we neglect ourselves. It's like trying to run a car on an empty tank - eventually, it's going to break down. The same goes for our bodies and minds. Therefore, we need to take care of ourselves to function at our best and live a fulfilling life. Doesn’t that just sound like pure bliss?
Now self-care doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. It can be as simple as incorporating one thing into your day just for yourself. Now sure where to start? That’s where I come in and share some simple tips on a subject so near and dear to my heart that will hopefully help you start or refurbish your self-care journey that will leave you feeling re-energized and ready to take on the world.
So, sit back, relax, and let's chat self-care and why it’s not selfish!
- Start Small: Starting small can help make self-care feel more manageable and less overwhelming, and not like another thing on our forever-growing to-do list. For example, if you're feeling stressed at work, take a few minutes to step away from your desk and stretch or take a quick walk outside before returning to what made you feel stressed. Or, if you're feeling burnt out at home with loads of laundry and clutter everywhere from a get-together with friends, try taking a relaxing bath or doing some gentle yoga before bed (I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne). These small acts of self-care can add up and make a big (and positive) difference in how you feel. The main point here is to find your stressors; what stresses you out and how can you either eliminate those stressors from your life entirely, or how can you better manage how you react to them.
- Make Self-Care a Priority: Let’s put a big ‘!’ on this one. As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest barriers to self-care is simply prioritizing it. It's easy to put ourselves last on the list when we have so many other responsibilities and obligations. But the truth is, self-care is essential for our overall well-being. Sleep is the easiest place to start. So make sure for the majority of the week you are getting enough rest each night. How do I make self-care a priority in my life? I schedule self-care on my calendar just like I would any other client meeting, gym session, or coffee/happy hour date with my people. This not only helps keep me accountable, but it helps me show up as the best version possible for other items on my calendar each day. So how can you start small if this resonated with you? Try setting aside a few minutes daily to practice mindfulness or blocking off an evening each week for a relaxing activity, like reading a new book, listening to a Serial podcast, or taking a bubble bath. Penciling this time in can help ensure it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of our busy lives. The other important thing to add here is to set boundaries, set boundaries, set boundaries. Be an advocate for your own self-care and mental health and get comfortable with the word no. Say no when you need to. Say no even when you don’t need to (it helps getting used to saying it). And don’t feel guilty about saying it. Why? Saying no helps you learn to prioritize your needs and depriortize things that don’t align to your values and joy. Try it this week and let us know how it felt.
- Practice Mindfulness: The yoga instructor in me highly suggests to give yourself permission to take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness. The important thing to note here is that mindfull looks a bit different for everyone and if one thing doesn’t work, don’t give up. Find what act of mindfulness works for you and leaves you feeling calm and centered. Some of the ways I practice mindfulness include taking silent walks (that’s right, put the Airpods down), journaling, or simply sitting in silence and focusing on the rise and fall of my belly and noticing what I notice and where I notice it in my body, usually my hips (that’s another blog post for another day). Just know, the options here are endless, but finding what works for you is worth it because incorporating mindfulness into our self-care routine helps us to stay present and calm in the midst of stress and chaos; which we all have in our lives whether we notice it or not.
- Focus on The Things That Bring You Joy: Self-care is all about finding the things that immediately make us want to say ‘hell yes,’ a.k.a doing things that make us feel good and re-energize us. What I focus on when it comes to this tip changes weekly, sometimes monthly, but the constant is always being sure I get daily movement. I find that at least 30 minutes daily fills my cup, keeps me in a positive mindset, and helps me stay energized for activities ahead. It might take some time, but find your form of ‘movement’ that works for you. This could mean taking up a dance class, going for a walk, trying out a new hobby, or spending time in nature. The key here is to find activities that you genuinely enjoy, help you feel more connected to yourself, and simply bring a smile to your face.
- It’s Okay to Talk About It: Remember, we don’t and can’t go at this journey alone. I used to struggle with this concept and thought it would be a sign of weakness if I admitted I was running close to empty. But I’m here to tell you that concept is entirely wrong AND semi-old-school because we all need that release, whether that includes reaching out for support from friends, family, or a professional or journaling it all down first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed as a brain dump. Know that talking about it is all a part of the self-care journey. And who knows, by talking about it you might help someone else on their own self-care journey or help them get comfortable by opening up on the subject, too. The key here is we can support each other in our self-care journeys and lift each other up simply by opening up.
Remember: Self-Care is NOT selfish, AND it looks different for everyone. It’s not just about taking bubble baths or getting massages (although those things are great too). It's about setting boundaries, saying no when needed, and prioritizing our needs. It's also about recognizing that we are valuable and deserving of love and care just as much as anyone else. If we run our car on an empty tank - eventually, it's going to break down, and no one will benefit, especially ourselves. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Why? Because you are worth it.