Self care has emerged as a hot topic for today’s women striving to balance the responsibilities of work and family. I define self-care as combinations of fulfilling activities or quiet moments that allow individuals to rejuvenate their energies and regain their joy for life.
Unfortunately, self-care is not generally supported by our culture, and some people equate self-care with abandoning responsibilities or being self-centered. Women often receive rave reviews for taking better care of others than they do themselves. For example, we might hear someone say, “Isn’t Sarah remarkable; she puts everyone’s needs above her own.” Or “That, Lisa, I don’t know how she operates on just five hours of sleep a night; isn’t she extraordinary?” As a result, many women are suffering near epidemic levels of physical, emotional, and spiritual fatigue.
I believe that taking time for yourself allows you to be a better wife, mother, friend, and businesswoman. Consider the following:
Self care is empowering. When you implement any healthy practice into your routine, you are taking charge of your life. You are the expert on your needs, and if you don’t acknowledge their importance who will?
We are not benefiting our families when we don’t take time for ourselves. Because we are emotionally depleted, loved ones recognize that we are worn out and frustrated. While we do our best to respond to their needs, they often feel guilty for needing us.
When we are overwhelmed, we lack the energy and focus to make the same clear decisions that we normally would. We are unable to problem solve in a purposeful manner. By practicing self-care regularly, we are better able to handle life’s challenges.
We serve as role models for our children. When we take care of ourselves, we show them an example of positive esteem and healthy behaviors.
I recently moved to a new area and have met several of my neighbors. Kerri lives near me and, like many of us, she and her husband are balancing career and family. As we introduced ourselves, I told Kerri that I am a life coach and workshop leader for women, immediately launching into the importance of self-care. Kerri already understood my philosophy and said, “I compare self care to a cup in the sink. As the cup sits there, little by little, it gathers droplets of water. No appreciable stream of water is ever needed to keep it full; there are just enough drops over time to fill it up. That’s the way it is with self care; if I take care of myself little by little, I can then give from my reserves and never become empty.” What a great analogy I learned from my new friend!
If we do just a few things regularly, to renew our energy and revitalize our spirit, we can continue providing for others from a place of abundance. We have, within us, additional resources to share with our family and friends.
I challenge you to try some activities (either calming and reflective, or exhilarating) for the next month. Arrange some time in your schedule for self-care, and notice how much better you feel. You and your loved ones are worth every precious moment you use to nurture yourself.
About the author:
Jennifer Snyder is the author of a self-discovery workbook, The Time of Your Life: A Creative Sourcebook for Women. The Sourcebook can be ordered at http://www.timeofyourlifeafterdivorce.com