Let’s talk about self-care. What’s self-care you ask? Literally, it means taking care of yourself, making time for yourself, and making your own needs a priority. And let me tell you, it’s hard as hell to practice self-care sometimes. But you guys, self-care is SO important. Because really, if you’re not feeling your best, you can’t really be your best for anyone else, amiright? It’s like when you’re on a plane, and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others. You can’t help people if you pass out from lack of oxygen. Just sayin’.
We live in a world that’s so fast paced, and so much is expected of us. So many work countless hours at a job away from home, then come home and have to maintain a house, cook, clean, care for children, visit with family and friends, run errands, etc. Society makes us feel like we have to be great at everything and we’re pulled in a million directions. Social media tells us we should look better, work harder, have more. It’s maddening. And all the while, we often feel stressed, sick, and overwhelmed.
I spent 10 years working retail management, working nights, weekends and holidays, eating a less than healthy diet, and generally not taking care of myself. When I started seeing a new doctor who focused on functional medicine and holistic health, I realized that if I kept up the same pace and didn’t take some time to work on ME, things were going to get really bad. I have a type-A personality, I like to be busy, I work well under pressure, and I have a hard time sitting down or relaxing. But being diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), adrenal fatigue, gut and immune issues, and borderline diabetes, I’ve realized that I can’t afford to NOT practice self-care. I mean, who was I benefitting really, with all of those health issues in addition to the anxiety I experienced daily? I didn’t even feel like myself most days, but I pushed through because I didn’t quite know what else to do. After a lot of thought, I quit my retail job, took a huge pay cut and leap of faith, and started working on ME. I started a new job I loved, but took on bigger roles in that job very quickly because I was passionate about it. A year later, I realized I was back where I’d started. Last fall, I spoke to my boss about only working one day per week, in an effort to give myself the time to rest more and focus on my health.
I’m happy to report that I feel like I’m really on track this time. I’ve lost 16lbs since Thanksgiving and all I’ve focused on is diet. I eat as much as I want, but I eat clean foods. I sleep a solid 9-10 hours every night. I say no to events and get togethers if I already have too much going on that week. I know that I need a day of rest after I work a day or after I have a full day of errands. I nourish my body with the right foods and supplements. I take the time to stretch before bed every night and practice deep breathing. I drink a green juice or a cup of bone broth most days. If my body says it’s time to rest, I rest. I get my eyelash extensions done every three weeks because it makes ME happy. I blog, I take naps, I get my hair done. I do things that improve my health, and I do things just because I like them. A lot of people feel selfish if they do things for themselves, or spend money on themselves. I figure, if I’m happier and healthier, I’m able to be a better wife, sister, daughter, and friend. So really, me taking care of myself benefits everyone I come into contact with. See, it’s guilt free.
It hasn’t been easy, and I have set backs. My most recent happened around the holidays. I had started the ambitious task of making a quilt for my Mamaw for Christmas, and even though I kept telling myself to stick to my deadlines, sure enough, I was still sewing the day before Christmas Eve. I also waited until the last minute to get a ton of other things done before my cousin and her fiancé came to stay with us for Christmas, and ended up super run down and got the flu. Not only did I have a hard time enjoying Christmas, but I also battled the flu for the next few weeks. I also recently had a day where I knew I had afternoon plans, but I still spent the morning painting a room in the house, shampooing the rug and couch in the living room and doing laundry and dishes. Come dinner time, I almost had a full-on meltdown because I was so exhausted. Disaster. It happens. But I got a good night’s sleep and had a relaxing day the next day to get back on track.
So do whatever fills you up. Get the manicure, massage, facial, or whatever. Go do something fun solo, like hiking, biking, do some yoga or just walking around Target (always more fun solo, somehow). Take a bath, have lunch with a friend, buy special chocolate that you won’t let your kids eat. Meal plan and prep to nourish your body. Apply a face mask and dance around your house. Whatever it is, DO IT. Because you’re worth it! In our office, we preach to our clients that self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity! It improves your mental health and boosts your energy.
What are some of the things you do to practice self-care? Let me know in the comments!