The term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot lately. But what does self-care really mean? Today we’re going to take a candid look at self-care. Thanks to bio-individuality, (“every body is different”) self-care probably means something different for each and every one of us.
So what does self-care mean to you? Do you practice regular self-care? Do you put on your own oxygen mask first, and take care of yourself first, so you are better prepared to support others? Or do you put everybody else first, ending up feeling exhausted?
For me, self-care is definitely about putting on my own oxygen mask first. Taking care of number one so I have enough energy to do everything else I need to do. But sometimes in this crazy-busy work-a-day world, we forget to put on our own oxygen mask first (even me!) And in Western cultures, women especially, and likely men as well, tend to bite off more than we can chew.
We strive to be the super-mom, the super-employee, the super-boss, super-homemaker, and the super-spouse. However, we often end up with the short end of the stick. Feeling like we’ve actually only done a half-assed job at any one of those things, and feeling completely exhausted as a result. As the saying goes, “If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”
Self-care: The Foundation of Your Health
And without proper self-care, over time, running on empty we can actually become really sick. What might start as adrenal fatigue, turns to chronic fatigue, or thyroid issues, or more severe autoimmune diseases. Self-care really is the foundation of your health.
As a holistic health coach, I am seeing more and more women experiencing this downward spiral of health. Women who are so busy, they forget to take care of themselves first. They start eating poorly, stop getting enough physical exercise, their hormones get out of whack, they have poor quality sleep, and the downward spiral begins. These are women who should be in the prime of their life, who should be totally vibrant and healthy and energetic, but are not. (And I’m sure it’s happening in men as well, although men don’t tend to talk about it as much.) Does any of this sound familiar? Does this ring true with you? If so, I’m here to help!
Self-care is NOT Selfish
One thing that self-care is NOT, is selfish. In fact, regular self-care is about the least selfish thing you can do. To be healthy, strong, and energetic enough to help and support others in your family, your business, your community, is not selfish at all. It’s how we were all meant to function and live.
However, most of us probably need to learn to set healthy boundaries on our time. We need to remember to put on our own oxygen masks first. We need to think about what is truly important in our own lives. Those things will be different for everyone. Yet, what’s the same for all of us is that everyone needs to make their own health the top priority! Because no one else can do that for us. When we are not healthy, we cannot take care of our kids, our spouses, our parents, our friends, help our communities, or even get our own work done. Not to mention that disease (Dis-Ease) is much more expensive than wellness.
Say NO to Dis-Ease
Sadly, what we have in America today, as Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. says, is a “disease care system, not a healthcare system.” According to Dr. Hyman, “70% of annual deaths in the US are caused by chronic diseases; these preventable conditions are also the leading cause of disability, and they’re everywhere. The facts are pretty startling: 6 in 10 adults have a chronic disease and we now know that the economic burden of these amounts to more than $1 trillion annually. Let that sink in—our country is spending more than $1 trillion every single year on diseases that could be prevented through the right lifestyle choices.”
WOW! As you can see, we clearly need to step up to the plate and take our own health into our own hands and practice preventative care, so we can avoid “disease care.”
This has hit home for me really hard recently. Even though I’m self-employed, and “should” be able to make time for self-care, I’ve let a lot of things slip. I haven’t been meditating regularly. I’ve only been moving my body 2-3 times a week instead of 5-6 times a week. I haven’t been reading any books for fun, only for work. I haven’t been drawing or coloring, something that I absolutely love to do, and that sparks my creativity. So what gives?
Do You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew?
I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew, trying to grow my holistic wellness business online. Being a solopreneur, a digital nomad, living in a foreign country (and not being fluent in the language!) without the normal support systems I might have at home, has been a lot harder on me than I realized.
I’ve also been dealing with aging parents and trying to help them from afar, which is not easy even when you’re local. And then you throw crazy-mixed-up hormones into the pot, and all bets are off! Can you relate? Does this sound like you too?
Last week I was so stressed out about not having time to write a blog post, or an Instagram post, write a newsletter, or follow up with my clients. My wheels were spinning, I had SO many things I “had to do”, but I didn’t know where to start — which one thing was more important to do? I honestly felt like I was going to have a panic attack! Have you ever felt like that?
Who’s In Control of YOU?
Whoa! Wait, what? I’m a Holistic Wellness Coach, how could this be happening to me? Thankfully I have the tools, I just needed to remember to use them! (The cobblers kids have no shoes… right?)
So I sat myself down and took a bunch of deep breaths. And then I started to meditate. And I asked myself:
“Why am I feeling all this pressure to produce so much?”
“Because I have all these deadlines!”
“Well, who set those unreasonable deadlines?”
“Oh, that would be my big scary boss. Me!”
LOL!! And then I burst out laughing my head off! In the grand scheme of things, in the big picture of life, none of it was important.
Put Life Back in Perspective
Sometimes when I need to remember to put my life in perspective, I try this trick: I take a step back and consider the Big Bang, the whole 4.5-billion years from then till now. And my life, as important as it might be to me, is nothing but a blip in the grand scheme of the universe! I laughed some more… after all, laughter is the best medicine! And if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?
I had created all the stress for myself! Trying to keep up with what everyone on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or the latest online business course says you “should” be doing — how you “should” be running your business, what you “should do” to be successful and grow your lists and your business online, etc. Instead, I just felt like I was chasing my tail… (My recommendation, ditch the word “should” right out of your vocabulary!)
Ultimately, if you’re not taking care of yourself first, nothing else matters. That’s really the bottom line. You’ve got to keep your own batteries charged up before you can help anyone else or do anything else including grow your business. Because self-care really is the foundation of your health.
Is Your Pace of Life Sustainable?
So while I loved the idea of producing more content to share with my clients, readers, and followers, in reality, blogging weekly, and Instagramming (is that really a word?) daily (even when I schedule them out weeks in advance), on top of everything else I have going on in my life, has not been sustainable for me. It’s not worth risking my health over. I’m grateful that I could see the early warning signs, make some changes, and get the derailed train back on the tracks!
Have you noticed how new technologies intended to make our lives “easier”, seem to just make our lives more hectic and demanding instead? Not to mention all the EMFs from all that new tech! Who even knew we needed a blog post or an Instagram post 10 years ago? Sometimes, keeping up with new technology can be more exhausting than it’s worth.
Does Your Life Bring You Joy and Happiness?
To help recharge my batteries and get my own self-care back on track, I’m putting my own oxygen mask back on! I made a list of as many self-care practices as I could think of (I’m sure there are more!) The things that help re-energize me, help me stay healthy and fit, and bring happiness and joy to my life.
When I think of all the self-care practices I would love to do each day, there are enough to fill up an entire day! However, filling my whole day with self-care practices isn’t very realistic or sustainable in itself, everything in moderation. So I’m going to commit to a couple each day. And if I miss a day or two, I won’t beat myself up. I’ll pick up again the next day.
My Challenge to You
So here is my challenge to you: Join me in making your own list of self-care practices that you’d like to embrace. Then make a conscious choice to make self-care a top priority. Choose one or two of your favorite self-care practices to do each day. And keep a journal of how these practices make you feel.
What do you say? Are you in? What’s on your self-care list? What’s something you would love to do every day, but don’t currently make the time for? Can you ditch 30 to 60 minutes of Facebook or Instagram a day, to make time for something else that really sparks you? Your body will thank you!
If you need more help, let’s chat. Schedule a 45-minute complimentary health coaching consultation to discover how I can help you.
Some of My Fav Self-care Practices
- Nourishing my body with healthy meals (Yummy-licious Breakfast smoothie and Greens juices)
- Ayurvedic Wellness practices (tongue scraping, oil pulling, and Abbyanga oil massage)
- Bodywork (regular Massage, Acupuncture, Cranial-Sacral, Reiki, Chiropractic)
- Watching sunrises and sunsets
- Moving my Body Daily (Foam Rolling, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Dance Party!)
- Enjoying Nature (Sailing, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling)
- Getting Grounded (Earthing, Going Barefoot, Beach walking, Swimming)
- Reading for pleasure (not news or work!)
- Creative Arts (Drawing, Coloring, Painting, Jewelry making)
- Laughing! (Watching funny movies, hanging out with friends)
- Sharing meals or chatting with friends or family
- Sharing time with my husband
- Playing with my kitties
- Getting 8 hours of sleep a night
These are just some of the things that recharge my batteries and make me feel happy, healthy, and whole. I’d love to know what’s on your self-care list?
Please leave a comment to let us know some of your favorite self-care practices, so we can all expand our own horizons. And let me know if I can help you get a bit more self-care back into your own life? You’ve got this!