When you think about your priorities, where do you rank self-care? In 25+ years of coaching business professionals, I have found that my male clients typically list self-care near the bottom of their priorities. When I ask my female coaching clients to list their priorities, they often forget to even include themselves on their list!
As Maya Angelou so beautifully wrote, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Where on this spectrum between surviving and thriving do you most often find yourself? Thriving requires self-care. If you’re just surviving, you’re likely not doing the bare minimum in terms of taking care of yourself.
If your energy reserves are like the gas in the fuel tank of your car, then self-care is what fills your tank. And if you’re constantly running on empty, you’re neglecting your self-care.
What is the minimal acceptable to even be able to start your engine?
- 6 hours of sleep per night?
- 3 meals a day?
- 20 minutes of movement 3x/week?
What actually fills the tank so that you have reserves? Remember to consider not only your physical wellness, but also mental, emotional, spiritual, connection and communication with others.
- Massages/Spa days/bubble baths?
- 8-10 hours of sleep per day?
- Nutrition plan
- 4 or more solid workouts per week?
- Socializing with friends?
- Date nights?
- Vacations/Road Trips?
- Time to read, meditate, journal?
- The Arts/Culture?
- Identifying and living into your values and your goals?
What would it take for you prioritizing your self-care to be non negotiable? You wouldn’t send your kids to school without lunch or lunch money, right? What has it be alright for you to skip meals when you’re busy? I understand you think you need to put your family, and especially your children first. However, you can’t pour out of an empty cup. When you’re depleted, you’ve gone nothing left to give. You can’t show up for your family or your work if you don’t take care of yourself first.
When you’re taking care of everyone and everything else but not yourself, what are you getting out of it? Are you getting sympathy or making others wrong, playing the role of “Exasperated Martyr”? Are you comparing yourself to others, trying to prove you can be a better parent than Mrs. Jones, or than your parents were for you, when you were growing up? To what end? What’s the cost of trying to meet or exceed these (unrealistic) expectations? What about giving yourself grace and teaching those around you that it’s ok to be human and show up with compassion for yourself and others. As Maya Angelou said, “with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”.
Self-care means not only adding practices to that will support your well-being, it also means identifying and eliminating people or activities that deplete your energy. I highly encourage you to take a moment and make a list of people and things that rob you of energy? Next, write at the top of that list “My Not To Do List!” That’s right, I challenge you to stop doing those things that you know deplete your energy. If there are people in your life that are “Energy Vampires”, stop spending time with them. If certain activities feel like they’re draining your soul, stop doing them. If they must be done, delegate them.
The pandemic has brought about numerous challenges: loss of jobs/income, working from home, home schooling, the whole family being home together (all the time), illness and loss of loved ones. Change is stressful and can lead to frustration, anxiety and depression (to name a few!). If the suggestions above aren’t sufficient to shift your mindset and support your well-being, consider talking to an impartial third party. While credentialed coaches can partner with you to identify and achieve goals or live into your values, if you’re experiencing anxiety, depression or grief, you may benefit from speaking a licensed therapist or counselor.
Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have and most importantly…
Please take exquisite care of yourself!