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Self Care Isn't Selfish. It's a Necessity.

Do you secretly wish you were able to self-care without feeling guilty? Do you run the narrative that you are too busy to self-care? What about grinding through your overwhelming schedule hoping you are super productive? If so, keep on reading because the way you are working might be quite dysfunctional.

Self-care has been put aside by women, especially, for far too long! And we are seeing that burnout, irritability and depression are becoming more prevalent than ever as a result. But, what if I told you that self-care actually contributes to being more productive, creative, clear, energized and healthy? Would you then take the time to include some “renewal” time to your day? What if I told you self-care isn’t selfish at all, but more about giving you the ability to be the person and have the demeanor you need to sustain your lifestyle and achieve your goals. That being said, self-care can look differently for everyone – there is no ‘one size fits all’ form of self-care. (Note: you might have to tap into your self-discipline in order to create the space to fit self-care in.) 

But why are we still stuck in this vicious cycle of doing more and not fueling our body and soul properly? Some would say that’s just how they’ve been raised. Many say they feel the need to impress their employer or family or friends. Others are realizing that if they stop, they might just crash. Then, some of my clients will admit that they fear feeling bottled up emotions during moments of stillness and self-care. 

Journal prompt: What’s your reason for not taking the time to self-care? What is the impact on your professional and personal life? What types of things truly feel like self-care to you? 

The one thing that has helped me engage in self-care is not only my burnout phase a few years back (used to run from one thing to the other), but following this simple statement. ‘Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others’. All to realize that if I don’t self-care (if I don’t put my mask on first), then I will end up being sick or irritated and not be able to truly be there (at my best) for others. My deep desire to be there for others, to be of service to others would be fulfilled IF I add self-care into my life. 

For me self-care looks like carving out 15 min to 1 hour towards my morning routine, where I consciously connect with my soul, set my intentions of the day, stretch and do Qigong to activate and circulate my energy.

  • Self-care is also going outside on most days and connecting with nature or simply breathing in the cool fresh air.

  • Self-care for me is also going to bed early enough that I get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep.

  • Self-care is definitely going to the Spa 2-3 times per year.

  • Self-care is making a fire and sometimes taking an afternoon nap on the weekend.

  • Self-care is also setting boundaries and saying no to things that I don’t truly want to engage in.

I could keep going, but I’m hoping I’m inspiring you to do big or small things to nurture your self-care.

So here’s a helpful fact to encourage you to add more self-care in your life. In order to function in the best possible state, it’s good to know that the ultradian rhythm runs in the background and controls the levels of energy we experience throughout the day.  Our body reaches the bottom of its own “energy tank” after about 90-120 mins of doing something. If our goal is to have enough energy, focus, and be in a good mood for the rest of our day, we need to capitalize on this knowledge and take a break when the energy tank is almost empty. During this restful period, stress hormones flush out of our system, our nervous system resets, our minds calm down, our body relaxes and our energy tank fills up again to fuel us for another 90-120 mins… that simple!

If you have habits like pushing through your fatigue by having coffee or sweets, or distracting yourself with social media or emails, or choosing another task instead of taking a break, I encourage you to replace that habit with one of these suggestions or come up with one of your own. 

Every 90-120 mins throughout your day, consider stretching your body, bounce and shake to release stagnation, go outside for a walk, do some breathwork, do Qigong activation and flows, relax and read your favorite book, chill and listen to some feel good music, drink some water and have a nutritious snack, take a nap, hang out and chat with friends, laugh. The goal is to give yourself the time to feel relaxed so your body can reset, renew and provide you with the energy you need to keep going in the best possible way.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What would doing a little less in my day look like for me?

  • What would doing a little less at work look like for me?

  • What would doing a little less at home look like for me?

  • What energy depleting habits do I have and what could I replace it with?

  • What are different ways I can rest and renew?

  • What would change in my life if I had more energy, patience, focus and inspiration?

Burning out, running non-stop, feeling overwhelmed and scattered is old news. It’s the old way of doing things, where we thought that was the solution to success. How about we balance that out to include self care and time to reset and renew, so we can be at our best?! Our best not only for ourselves but for others as well.

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