How important is it to take time out for oneself? Why are you not at your best lately? Read to find out why self-care is important and how to do it.
Is taking care of yourself the Last Thing on your list?
When was the last time taking care of yourself or doing something just for fun made it to the top of your to-do list?
If your answer is a “long time ago” or “I can’t remember” or even “never,” you’re not alone.
As children, many of us were taught that we shouldn’t “be selfish” and that we should “think of others.” And unfortunately, some of us learned these lessons a little too well.
As women, many of us spend all day, every day, taking care of others, checking items off the to-do list, managing obligations, and doing what we “should” do.
Taking care of ourselves is last on the list – if it’s on the list at all.
The unfortunate truth is that it doesn’t work!
If you ignore your own wants and needs long enough, you’re likely to become:
When you’re not refilling your own personal “gas tank,” it becomes even more difficult to give to others.
Without recharging, you won’t have the energy to be your best self at home or in the world.
Put Yourself First
Many of my clients come to me running on fumes. While they may be searching for how to eliminate extra weight or how to stop eating when they aren’t hungry, they often need to start with self-care. Because many of them are eating BECAUSE they are over-extended and have given too much. Only after recovering, refueling and recharging, are they prepared to create real and lasting change in their lives.
You’ve been on a plane, right? During the announcements, before take-off, you are told how the oxygen masks work. In the event of an emergency on the plane, you must be both present and alive to assist and truly be of service to others. This means putting on your mask first aka you must take care of yourself first. The same is true in all aspects of our lives.
- If you want to be a happier person, a better spouse, a great parent…
- If you want to be a good employee, manager or friend…
- If you want to do what you’re called to do, what your purpose in life is (whatever it is)
You must begin with yourself.
When you make choices that nourish you and fill you up, you’ll naturally be more generous with your time, energy, and resources. And you’ll be more able to create a life you love. This is healthy selfishness.
Make The Most Of Your Self-Care
So, your next question might be “What do I do to take care of myself?”
There are a lot of “shoulds” in the area of self-care – exercise, eat healthy, meditate. The list can be long. All of these would be good for us, so the question often is “Where to start?”
I recommend a different approach to self-care. To get the most impact and the best refueling from your self-care time, do something that makes you happy or lights you up. Choose activities that energize, delight, soothe, or nurture you.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Get a massage
- Sing karaoke
- Read a book or a popular magazine
- Have dinner with friends
- Practice yoga
- Take a ten-minute walk in nature
- Plan a vacation
The list is endless and different for each person.
What is it for you? Take a moment to brainstorm some things you love to do. Don’t forget about those things you never make time to enjoy. Get these ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Better yet, add some of these to the top – yes, the top – of your to-do list. And then do some of them! Notice how your energy increases when you take a little bit of time to do something just for yourself, something that makes you happy.
So go ahead and be healthily selfish now and then. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list. Self-care could be the best thing you could do for yourself today.