Self-care isn’t frivolous, it is the foundation from which your whole life can have balance, wellness and joy. AND no one is going to carve out time to accomplish this for you! No one. Yet why do we as women have so many struggles with putting self-care on the to-do list?
While all of our lives are different, so much of it is the same. We’re all juggling our households whether we have a family or not - keeping it together, clean, organized, and we’re also typically caring for someone else. Plus, most women have careers and jobs or bosses, or in the case of Moms, their bosses are their kids! They have to drop everything for them at any given moment and tend to whatever the immediate issue is - just like at an office, but they all tell me it is even harder!
So, here are my three tips to help you as you cultivate your own self-care. It starts with a practice, and the more you do this, the more it will help with the feeling of overwhelm, stress, burnout.
MEDITATE OR DEEP BREATHE IF YOU WON'T MEDITATE
I am a huge fan of meditation, but I realize that some of us may not quite be interested in embracing it at this point. No worries - there is something still here for you to do! Please realize that the benefits of meditation are real, even scientific, and the practice of meditation will help you handle stressful situations with more peace, clarity and calm. But you can also benefit from minutes of deep breathing as well. You can practice diaphragmatic breathing, which reestablishes and gets you back into your parasympathetic nervous system versus your sympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system calms you, it is the place from which you can relax and restore. Contrarily, the sympathetic nervous system is where you are when your heart is pumping fast, your overwhelmed or stressed, and it engages the fight or flight syndrome. To move from that space to the relaxation space is triggered from deep breathing or meditative exercises. And, when in this space you can heal, recalibrate and reset, and your body can stop producing cortisol. Cortisol is pumping through our veins during our stressful days, and consistency of that causes disease and bodily stress.
TIP: Meditate via a free app like Insight Timer, Headspace or find videos on YouTube. OR simply deeply breathe in for a count of four, hold for five, exhale for seven. Try this in multiple cycles. Listen to soothing music while you do.
SPA OR DIY SPA TIME - BOTH ARE GREAT!
So many women feel the guilt when they want to pamper themselves, but this is part of the process of self-care. Our moods are enhanced when we feel nurtured, and generally speaking, we are nurturers ourselves. However, if we don’t nurture ourselves, we tend to feel depleted, and as if no one even cares and we start to feel as if we don’t matter. This is when you can turn it all around and replenish your mood, your soul, your ‘tank.’ That’s right - we do it ourselves, for our feelings of well-being.
The act of going to a spa is one where we are physically touched - which can be healing in and of itself, where we re nurtured, and where we feel cared for. Afterwards, in many instances, we look and feel more relaxed, happier. But spas can be pricey, and luckily it doesn’t have to be something necessarily you do at a spa to be pampering. You can ‘pamper’ yourself via a hot bath, epson salts and some essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus. You can pamper yourself by sitting outside with a cup of hot tea. You can light a scented candle and arrange fresh flowers, but mindfully appreciating it as you do. It’s the attitude towards something that you’re doing that can also make it pampering! So, it’s how you approach whatever you choose to incorporate.
My step grandmother was 95 in this picture, and she asked me to go buy her some makeup. And, I did, and she felt - and looked - like a QUEEN!
TIP: At the beginning of the week, write down a few things that would ‘feel’ pampering to you. Commit to doing at least 2 - 3 of these items, for 3 days that week. My hope is that you would work up to 5 - 7 pampering things for yourself shortly after you become used to doing things that fills you.
SOCIAL CONNECTIONS & AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Sometimes just having a friend to talk to, to turn to, can be healing as well. Connection and feeling like you’re a part of something is key. So often we find that we isolate when we are feeling depleted, and I get it. It’s so easy to just stay in our own worlds, rather than reach out, but it is so important! To have a laugh or be able to talk about your feelings to a friend can be so therapeutic.
And, have you ever considered having a friend serve as an ‘accountability’ partner? Someone to make sure that you stick to your own self-care goals or routines? It is easy to slide into bad habits, or go back to putting yourself last and then feeling depleted, but if you can connect with a friend (or coach as that is what most coaches do), then chances are you might actually be able to make real change – a lifestyle change! Maybe talking to your friend openly and safely about what you’re struggling with, and vice versa, and you two can hold each other accountable. Of course, I’m biased and feel that a lifestyle coach who specializes in self-care, health and wellness, is a perfect person to hold you accountable and help you find your way. FYI - I am in school to be a health & wellness coach and self-care is going to be a huge part of my own personal approach to coaching folks. I think it is the cornerstone of our feeling fulfilled and positive!
Or if it feels that you need something more in-depth, a counselor or therapist could be helpful to you - and don’t feel ashamed of that! I’ve loved having counselors and therapists at points in my life. It's a great way to process your feelings, needs and what you want or need at that time in your life.
TIP: If you feel like it’s hard to cultivate a friend, remember that others are probably feeling the exact same way. Especially after this pandemic, our social lives have been pretty non-existent for most of us. So, try not to feel shy or as if you don’t want to bother someone, but they might really appreciate your reaching out. Cultivate a better friendship by being a friend as well.
Love love love
Great information thanks.