I don’t know about you but for me the list of things I’m responsible for seems to expand at a pretty steady rate. Not only my job description, though that is off the chain at the moment too. I’m thinking about the Life responsibilities that creep in and add to an already full plate. In addition to Work, there’s Family – and their schedules, commitments, issues, and need for taxi service. Friends and Colleagues have a similar list. There’s Home – and the Honey Do list, groceries, cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying the bills. As a woman who owns a small business, there is a new pull coming from Social and Cultural – and supporting and participating in the ground swell rising for needed change. It’s an awful freaking lot to juggle.
Still one thing didn’t readily come to mind for my list: Myself. My observation is far too many of us fall into this trap. With so much going on, something must give, and frequently the piece that goes unattended is our own needs. Hmmmm. Not good.
For me two important things come into play: Commitment to Self, which I’ve posted about, and Self Care. I differentiate these like this:
Self-Commitment is recognizing you are worth the time, energy and investment needed for your own happiness and making that a priority.
Self-Care is doing what you need to do to keep yourself healthy – body, mind and spirit. Wikipedia says self-care is any “human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated”.
Both are necessary and need to work together. So much so that they occasionally overlap. Here is the thing, tell someone: “Hey I’m thinking about … going back to school/joining a gym/getting a nutritionist/starting therapy/creating a journaling practice/saving for retirement” (all Self-Commitment) almost universally you’ll hear “That’s great! Good for you!!!”
Now tell someone: “I stayed home from work last week because I didn’t feel well/I’m headed home early to get some sleep/No shoe shopping for me I’m on a budget /I’ll pass on happy hour, I’m not drinking anymore/I’m not following the news it’s too stressful for me.” (all Self-care) you’re more likely to get different response, probably one that is delivered with tone. You know the tone I’m talking about.
According to Margarita Tartovsky from pyschcentral.com “society largely views self-care as selfish, slothful and overly indulgent.” She’s right, we’ve all experienced it, and I think its time we take a stand against it. In order to live well you have to be well and that means committing to and caring for ourselves the way we would others. The research shows by doing this we become more capable, compassionate and caring for others as well. Win – win!
Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.
-Marcus Valerius Martial
So how do we do this? Start small. Step One, prepare to hear and see tone-filled reactions to your self-care actions but carry on anyway without guilt (that’s the mental shift). If you are sick, stay home; don’t spread the illness around. Rest and get well. Period. (Notice there is no mention of email or working remotely in there.)
Next is Self-Connection. We’re so busy sharing/linking/posting with everyone else we lost track of what is happening with ourselves. To embrace self-care and self-commitment you have to know what needs attention. I do a little mind, body and spirit audit. How am I feeling physically? What emotions am I carrying around today? How is my outlook? Be honest. Then accept the answers and start to address them. If you’re overly tired, you need more sleep. If you’re angry, acknowledge it so you can deal with it. If you’re unfulfilled, something is missing, and you’ll need to look for it.
Connecting with yourself is one of the primary reasons we created Maple, because we didn’t feel there is enough support in this area. Plus we believe resources that are easy and fun to use make some of the harder work more manageable. Maple is your resource to enable your own authenticity, insight and motivation and to keep you moving forward in your Self-Commitment and Self-Care. Whether that is Tracking stress & sleep or Journaling or Studying for personal growth – whatever your self-connection activities look like – there is a home for them in Maple.
So take a breath, consider how you feel and what you need. Then charge ahead without remorse. Onward!!
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