The personal spoke on the wheel of life is so important, yet is one of the most neglected for working moms. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the needs of those around us. We give our best to our careers, make sure our children are fed, clothed, staying alive and then try to be a good partner. It can be utterly exhausting.
At what point are we supposed to take care of ourselves? Do you end most days feeling like the to-do list of demands is much longer than the hours in the day?
Well sister, I’m here to tell you, it’s not optional.
You cannot keep neglecting yourself. It will end up catching up to you in ways that are not pretty. Personally, when I have neglected my self-care, I’ve seen my body shut down, my ability to focus on any task deplete, my relationships get rocky and frankly, my attitude go down the drain. I can become quite cranky when I’m running on empty fumes.
How do you feel when your needs are neglected? Do you feel weak? Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel empty?
In contrast, how do you feel when all your needs are being met? Do you feel stable? Do you feel strong? Do you feel fulfilled?
Now, imagine caring for those around you from each of these places. When you are stable, strong and fulfilled, it’s rewarding to support others, provide for their needs and give. You’re able to give your best both at work and at home.
When you are already weak, exhausted and empty, trying to care for others is a burden you can hardly bare.
Stop what you’re doing right now and say out loud “It’s important that I take care of my needs first.”
How did that feel? Even now, when I say it, it feels uncomfortable.
Our culture has taught us that beliefs like this are selfish. There’s a lot our culture has gotten wrong, and this is one of them. This is the old airplane analogy. You have to put on your mask before you can help someone else with theirs.
The words “self-care” can often be associated with pampering, “me” time or other luxuries. While those things are nice, and they are self-care, there are several areas of self-care that are crucial to our well-being. I’ve compiled a list of 15 essential self-care practices:
- Setting boundaries around your time, energy and resources
- Paying for professional help with a therapist, counselor or coach
- Staying home if you need to be alone
- Making plans with friends if you need to be around others
- Investing time with people who mirror back love
- Allowing yourself to grow apart from people who do not appreciate your worth or are toxic in your life
- Healing from your past
- Extending grace to yourself for your mistakes
- Sharing the stories that bring you shame with someone who is a safe space
- Focusing on something that brings you hope
- Finding a form of exercise you ENJOY doing
- Giving yourself permission to rest without attaching the word lazy to it
- Trusting your intuition
- Taking a break from social media and/or the news
- Unfollowing accounts on your newsfeed that bring negativity into your spirit
These are just the tip of the iceberg in self-care practices, but they are a great place to start. When you read this list, was there one that jumped off the page to you? If so, drop a note in the comments and let me know. I’d love to hear what may have resonated with you.
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