“When I take time for myself, I feel guilty.”
How many of you can relate to this statement? A client of mine said this to me, and it made me realize how true that is for so many of us. I talked about the importance of self-care in a previous post, but hearing that made me think that it needed to be addressed again. Because, in reality, most women feel this way.
We, as women, want to DO IT ALL! We want to work outside of the home, we want to have and raise children (which includes homework, getting ready for bed, getting them ready in the morning, etc.), we want to cook healthy meals for our family, we want to have a clean home, we want to have clean laundry, we want to work out, we want to be the “perfect” wife…and we want to do it all without any help!! Whew – I’m tired just writing all that! So when you throw in this idea of self-care – you know, taking time out of your day to take care of YOURSELF – women are like, “What?! You want me to do what?!”
But think about it…if you are going, going, going all day, every day, and you have ZERO downtime for yourself, how long do you think you’ll be able to last before you hit the wall, or worse, have a big explosion of emotions (because we tend to hold those in, too!)? If we run ourselves into the ground, we can’t possibly take care of everything and everybody else. Right?
But this is counterintuitive for so many women. We think that we are being selfish if we put ourselves first, and then we feel guilty because something else might not get done. The laundry might not get done; the grocery shopping might not get done; the house may not get cleaned; the beds may not get made; we might not get our workouts in (*gasp*). But let’s really think about this…will taking 5 to 10 minutes a day to have a cup of coffee on your back deck really ruin the rest of your day? Will taking a nice, hot bath at the end of the day when the kids are in bed really set you back?
It’s so easy for me to say to someone, “You need to take more time for self-care.” But how does one actually go about implementing that? I think, for many people, self-care equates to a couple hours set aside just for yourself. When, in reality, self-care can be as little as 5 to 10 minutes just for yourself.
There are so many things one can do to get that much needed self-care – give yourself a pedicure, or better yet, go get a pedicure (yes, this takes a little longer than 5 to 10 minutes, but it’s so very much worth it!); meditate for 10 minutes (there are great apps that talk you through it…no thinking required!); drink a cup of coffee/tea on your back deck as you’re enjoying nature; take a hot bath; read a good book (not for school or work!!); watch a movie (without working through it); listen to music and dance around the living room; get a massage (believe me, this one does WONDERS for you…mind, body, and soul)!!
Self-care is anything that you *love* doing JUST FOR YOURSELF!! It’s time that you set aside for you to replenish your energy, take a breather, calm your mind, and then go back to your everyday life feeling refreshed. Because, let’s face it, we all could use these “breaks!” We give and we give and we give to our families, friends, co-workers, etc. But let’s not forget to give to OURSELVES! We are just as important as everyone else! And believe me when I say that everything else WILL get done! And if it doesn’t get done today, it will still be there tomorrow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should throw everything to the wayside and do nothing, but I am saying that not everything (unless there’s a deadline or a priority) needs to be done RIGHT THIS SECOND. And all of us can spare 5 to 10 minutes to ourselves…because in the long run, believe me, it will be beneficial not only to you, but to your significant other, your children, your friends and family, your co-workers…to everything.
And start small…schedule 5 minutes a day to just sit and be by yourself. Put away your phone, iPad, computer, your electronics…grab your coffee, tea, green juice, and just sit (outside preferably). Smell the fresh cut grass, hear the birds chirping, feel the sun on your skin, taste the yummy drink you’re enjoying. Just be…for 5 minutes. And notice how different you feel when you go back to your daily routine.
What are some of your go-to self-care practices? My latest one has been a hot Epsom salt bath at the end of a long day. It has helped me tremendously since I started doing it. There really is nothing compared to taking time out of your day to take care of yourself…I promise, you will see huge benefits when you start taking care of yourself first!
With love and wellness,
So I’ve been living alone (again) for a week now. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least. For many years, I lived on my own, so that’s not the issue. But for those many years, I had a furry little four-legged friend (or two) to keep me company. And I’d only really been alone for a couple months when I started dating Scott. And then I technically wasn’t alone anymore (I spent most of my nights at his house).
So when we moved in together, I instantly went from being on my own to (every other week) a family of five and a big ol’ Husky to always keep me company. Needless to say, there was always some noise or something going on, so I was never really alone. We made dinner together, we ate together, we watched movies together, etc. etc. And I’ll admit, I got spoiled. He did most of the cooking, while I did most of the clean-up, and we were both okay with that arrangement.
And I think that’s where the biggest adjustment has been for me….having to cook for myself again. And judge how much food I actually need for just one person, LOL. I think in my head, I’m still used to cooking for two (or five, depending on the week), which means I have lots of leftovers. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it makes a difference, LOL.
Plus the silence…I can’t get over the silence. The first night was definitely the hardest in that I didn’t have internet yet (how did I possibly survive??) and it was so silent in the house. Every night since then, I’ve had music playing or a movie or TV show on my iPad to have some noise. I don’t know what that says about me, but it’s nice to have the background noise. And to be honest, I’m completely okay with it :P
I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression though. I thoroughly enjoy my alone time and don’t mind the quiet/silence. But after being with someone almost every day for the past six months, it’s made for a big change in my life. It also doesn’t help that I like to watch scary movies by myself. At least at Scott’s, I had the Husky to protect me :P
I’ve finally gotten into my new routine though…I like it. Actually, I love it. I have so much more time to get things done, and I’m able to take care of myself (by practicing self-care) so much better now. There’s something about a hot bath all by yourself with no interruptions that just soothes the soul.
I’ll admit, I let self-care take a back seat when I lived with Scott. I put everyone else first, especially the kids. And I know I wasn’t technically a “mom,” but I can now see how mothers are stressed and tired and put themselves last all the time. Women, in general, want to take care of everyone and everything, more often than not to the detriment of themselves and their health. Now add in being a mother and that becomes that much worse.
We, as women, need to make sure we take care of ourselves first. And yes, it sounds selfish, but if we are sick and tired and run-down, how can we take care of anyone else? I’m not saying that we need to put everything/everyone else on the back burner, but we have to learn to give ourselves some downtime. And more importantly, to not be so hard on ourselves!!
Our houses don’t have to be spotless, the beds don’t have to be perfectly made, and the laundry doesn’t need to be all done in one sitting. Because if you are happy and healthy, the significant other is happy and healthy, and the kids are happy and healthy, then that’s all that really matters, right?
So I’m off to end my lazy Sunday with an early bedtime (I had a late Saturday night), and to start my week off right. So remember, take time for yourself this week. Have a hot bath, practice a little meditation, take a walk by yourself, get a pedicure, or maybe even spoil yourself and get a massage! But whatever it is, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty for doing it! We all need to learn to love on ourselves a little more!!
Here’s some motivation for you to start your week off right!
With love and wellness,