When speaking of self love and self care, many women refer to the idea as if it’s a mythological legend- always talked about but ever elusive.
Some may even be defensive when questioned about their own self care. When I ask patients about their self love practices they usually say, “well of course I love myself, but who has time to actually show that kinda love- I mean, I have things to do”.
Women are busier than ever holding down the home front, making strides in the workplace, volunteering and taking on much needed leadership roles. I suppose one does have an argument for lack of time for some self care.
If you give a woman an assignment, she WILL get it done. Now, she may not sleep, eat or bathe but she will get it done.
What’s a motivated, inspired, hard working woman to do? Plot to save the world or stop to make sure her weekly massage is scheduled, affirmations are queued and 8 hours of sleep will be had? Can one be called to take action and also prioritize her self care to the top of her list?
I say, YES! I say, she must! I say, in order for balance to exist in the world, balance must exist within the individual.
So how does one live this charmed life where they are both well rested and highly accomplished? Well, as with many contemplating a mental shift, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Staying open to another way is key. How do you know if you have a problem?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you feel balanced?
Do you take care of everyone else but yourself?
Do you feel depleted and long for rejuvenation?
Do you have health issues that have popped up after stress and/or exhaustion?
Do you have health issues you've neglected?
Is it hard for you to accept a treat, break or special celebration for yourself?
If you’ve answered yes more than once you may have challenges receiving some good ol’ self lovin’. Have no fear, you're in the company of many. Our Western culture praises personal sacrifice and a get-er-done at all costs attitude. Most of us have burned the mid-night oil and have been labeled a GOOD worker. We’ve been trained to "do what you have to do" to produce the goods. We’ve just been following the rules but it’s time to break them.
The fact of the matter is that in America, "chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems", says the Center for Disease Control. Furthermore, stress is considered the epidemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization.On top of it all, the National Alliance of Mental Health says that mental illness is experienced by 1 in 5 adults in the US each year.
We need self care! The essence of health has been reduced to most being jacked up on caffeine after a night of sleeping pills. Some are relying on antacids to keep their stomachs in check. Over the counter pain relievers are always on hand. Is this ideal? Can we let go of the idea that we have to be perfect? Can we get to place where we create healthy boundaries in honor of our personal needs.
“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm”- ANON
The topic of self love and self care is so critical because we can no longer sacrifice our well being and existence for everything and everyone else. Yes, there is much to do but we are no good at getting the task done if ill, in pain of exhausted.
I’ve come across many women who finally come in for my holistic treatments after their bodies have been screaming at them for attention for months or even years. This tells me two things:
they’ve put up with less than ideal wellness for far too long
they feel that life is moving at too fast a rate for their self care to be supported
This is not quality living and more importantly it’s not what anyone deserves. We are all worthy of more but we have to be willing to give it to ourselves first.
So how does one find the unicorn of wellness care? It looks a bit different for everyone.
Self care may look like:
8 hours of sleep
Healthy regular meals
Honoring your authentic voice
Connecting with your tribe where you feel supported
It all starts with awareness and the realization that you are worthy of self care and need it!
You can find the time, you can schedule in what you need, you can ask for support, you deserve a respite! Remember, in order to be strong for others you have to first be strong for yourself.
Sometimes I forget putting myself first isn’t selfish, but necessary.
So what's the magic you get from self love? Self care is the anti-aging, pain manager, happy maker, balanced digestion inducer, anti-inflammatory, hormone stabilizer, energy booster, stress relieving remedy you've been looking for. It's the antidote to chronic disease and it's sustainable. It's necessary, it's essential and it's time you welcome it.
Until next time,