One of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and others is to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.
As women, we have a tendency to be care takers, and we do a darn good job at it too—for everyone but ourselves.
*Gasp* What do you mean everyone but ourselves?
I mean just that!
As much as we think we might be taking care of ourselves, we often take better care of others than we do ourselves. For example, maybe you have a child that you spend most of your time shuttling around to school, soccer, play dates, birthday parties, and ballet rehearsals; or perhaps you have an elderly parent who you care for, accompany to medical appointments, arrange meals for, etc. Or here’s another one: perhaps you have a hectic job which requires lots of meetings, appointments, travel, coordination of schedules, and a boss who expects you to do everything because you are the strong, powerful, capable woman on the team. Any of those sound familiar?
As women we often place ourselves last on the list of people to pay attention to and take care of. Perhaps while you are off taking care of everyone else, you neglect eating your meals on time, forget to take bathroom breaks when you should, don’t get in your own physical exercise, let your hair get so many split ends that you look like you’re growing a rat’s tail, let your nail polish chip so badly you look like you’re a teenager with a nervous habit of picking your polish off…
We tend to think that we don’t need to take care of ourselves, or that we will get to ourselves once everyone else is taken care of, but that never happens because there is likely a never ending cycle of people who need to be taken care of. When one person’s needs get resolved, another person’s needs arise, and so the cycle continues. Before we know it, we are tired, have bags under our eyes, have frayed hair, start becoming irritable, lose pleasure in those things that were once pleasurable, and maybe even lose desire in being intimate with our partners.
How long can you truly live like that? How long can you go before you finally crash a burn?
My job is to tell you that YOU CANNOT GO ON LIVING LIKE THAT!
The best way that you can take care of others is by taking care of yourself first!
I know that the idea of taking care of yourself first may cause a lot of guilt for many of you. Some of you might be thinking, “I can’t do that! How selfish!”
The truth of the matter is: Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is the most selfless thing that you can do!
The simple act of taking care of yourself and your needs first puts you in a better position to be able to take care of others. Think about it: when you take care of others’ needs first, you end up tired, irritable, and burnt-out in the long run. However, if you were to first take care of yourself, you would be refreshed, vibrant, and more fully present to be able to take care of the needs others present to you. Rather than becoming annoyed when another need is placed in front of you by your children, you could calmly tackle the next request with a more peaceful approach—which might in turn help your children see a better side of you.
I have often heard my clients share with me the involuntary feelings of annoyance they get when their children place yet another request on them, or when they have to accompany their elderly parents off to yet another medical appointment, and what then follows is the feeling of guilt for having gotten annoyed. When they start to take better care of themselves, placing themselves at the top of the list, they tell me what a difference it makes and how their children no longer view them as “mean mommy,” or how other loved ones notice the peaceful and calm demeanor.
Below you will find a list of a few of my most common suggestions for self-care:
- Eat your meals on time
- Use the restroom when the need arises
- Spend a couple of minutes during the day in which you are by yourself, whether it be to drink your coffee while watching the sunrise, take a few deep breaths to ground yourself, or to say a little prayer
- Schedule time with your partner so that he or she can have a shift to take care of the kids/family while you take some much needed “me time”
- Schedule yourself a haircut or a massage
- Go for a mani-pedi
- Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily
- Coordinate babysitting with another couple so that you can switch off taking care of each others’ kids to allow time for much needed date nights with your partner
- Plan a get away (even if only for a few hours) with some of your girlfriends—let your partners handle the kids for a while
- Remind yourself daily that the best thing you can do for others is to take care of yourself first, and give yourself permission to do so.
There you have it: The permission to take care of yourself first and foremost and a few ideas on how. Now, go out there and take care of yourself lady! You owe it to yourself and those around you. :)
If you are ready to make change in your life, contact us today for your free initial consultation. By phone at 408-502-6790 or email here.