29 Jan Self-Care: Worth the Effort
Making time to take care of ourselves is challenging in a society that awards being busy with a badge of honor. I like to think that I have become much better at managing my own self-care. Then, I got the oh so fun cold that’s going around and I realized this is still a work in progress. Shocking, right?
A demanding family and/or work schedule, can make maintaining a self-care practice challenging. Not surprisingly, I preach self-care on a daily basis. A self-care routine helps us to be mentally and physically healthy and more present for others. Where there is stress, anxiety, depression, and burn-out there is generally a lack of self-care.
To go back a minute, what is self-care and what is not self-care anyways?
- Getting enough nutrition.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Proper hygiene and pride in presentation.
- Maintaining a work/life balance.
- Obtaining medical or mental health care when needed.
- Allowing your needs to be known and honored.
- Financial management.
- Balance of intellectual stimulation & fun distraction.
- Opposite of the items above.
- Forced or something you do because “they say it is good for you.”
- Over extending yourself – saying “yes” when you want to say “no.”
- Putting others before yourself on a regular basis.
- Self-Care is not selfish.
Self-Care = A Better You
Neither is a complete list, but you get the idea. The result of limiting your self-care is that you eventually feel stressed, over-worked, resentful, and your immune system becomes compromised making it much more likely to get sick.
That’s why building self-care practices into your routine is so important. We’re not indestructible machines and if we don’t take a break we will eventually break down.
So as I was hacking up a lung and clutching my stomach in pain while making my “To Do” list, I was told to take a nap rather sternly by my spouse. I was annoyed, but admitted defeat and went back to bed.
It took me a moment to realize that my body was telling me to rest. Between busier hours at work and multiple projects at home, I’d been neglecting sleep and exercise. Lying between my snoring dogs I actually tuned in and noticed how labored my breathing had become. I also took a moment in the quiet to realize how wonderfully delicious it was to snuggle down with my menagerie. The “To Do” list took a day off and so did I.
It was humbling to notice how stubbornly I refused my own passionately held value of taking care of self. I notice that I like self-care when it’s convenient for me. When I have a lot to do, I too find it hard to accept that I’m human *sigh*. Now that I am feeling better, I took some time to course correct my current schedule so it’s a bit more realistic. Slow and steady wins the race – tough for me – better in the long run!
If self-care is a challenge, a partner would be helpful to you, employ a friend or family member as an accountability partner. A therapist can be beneficial too, especially in supporting you in the belief that you deserve it.
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.