One of the most common expressions I hear about self care is “You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else”. While I don’t disagree with this statement and believe that it’s true that you can’t pour from an empty cup, I don’t think that it’s the only reason for self care.
First of all, it makes self care about other people. Which raises the question – what about the mom who’s children are out of the house and now finds herself a widow? Or, what about the 20 something who doesn’t have anyone depending on her, is not a caregiver to elderly parents and doesn’t work at a job where she’s a caregiver to anyone? If your only attitude about self care is that you need to do it in order to take care of everyone else, then you’ll be at a loss when you have no one else to take care of.
Second, it makes self care one more thing you HAVE to do, one more thing on your to do list. It becomes more like a chore instead of pleasure. If your attitude is you HAVE to do this so you CAN do that, then you need to schedule it. If it’s one more thing you HAVE to schedule, it’s probably not going to happen.
Third, if this is your only belief about self care, you will constantly find excuses not to engage in it. You will never feel like you have enough money for it, time for it or feel like you haven’t earned it because you haven’t done enough for anyone else. This thought can lead you to question your worth when it comes to caring for yourself.
What if the belief was different? What if it was more about loving yourself, right where you are, in order to create your best life? What if taking exceptional care of yourself was about allowing you to discover what you’re passionate about? What if it allowed you to have the energy to do ALL the things you want to do, including serving other people.
When I talk about filling your day with self care, I do not mean getting massages and pedicures everyday. Most of what I consider self care costs little or no money such as lighting a candle and putting a small bouquet of flowers on your desk, adding to playlists, practicing a few minutes of meditation, listening to the birds sing in the morning, watching the sunset, sipping a cup of coffee before everyone else wakes up, journaling, going for a walk, going for a run, savoring a meal, aromatherapy or watching a movie at home without folding laundry at the same time.
Here are some simple truths I’ve learned about self care:
1) Self care can help you eliminate toxic thoughts, relationships, habits, commitments, media, and other factors from your physical environment.
2) When you lack pleasure, when you are depleted of what fills you up and brings you joy, you will look for it in places and things where it doesn’t exist.
3) There is a difference between scheduling a little self care here and there and becoming a woman who takes exceptional care of herself.
4) Self care is not selfish. In fact, our bodies are programmed for pleasure, not deprivation.
Infusing your day with self care opens you up to abundance. It can help you set boundaries and turn limiting beliefs around. It can help you discover new attitudes about eating and exercise and taking care of your body. It can help you rediscover things you loved as a child. And when life becomes really stressful, you can handle it better, because your cup will be full for you and everyone else.
And, as an added bonus, you’ll have more love, more energy, more joy to share. Which in turn may help you to become a better wife, mother, employee, partner, daughter, aunt, etc….
What’s one small action you can take today to add a little pleasure into your life?