Self-care is NOT Selfish

I was raised by a woman who always did for others and never took care of herself.

When my sisters and I were young, she cared for us during the day and then went to work at night when my dad returned home. During this time, she also took care of her parents who were both sick. Fast forward 20 years later, my father became ill and she took care of him as well. All this time, she never did anything for herself. Some might say she is a beautiful caring and selfless woman and I won’t deny that she is all those things and more. However, at 74 years old, there is not one left for her to take care of but herself and she has no idea how to begin. She is overweight, has high blood pressure, and is diabetic. She doesn’t even know what she enjoys to do. Trying to get her to take care of herself is a language she doesn’t understand.

 I understand that self-care is tough when you have a job, responsibilities, a spouse, children, household chores, and the list goes on. However, self-care can make you better at all the above. Not taking care of yourself is like not getting an oil change ever! What would happen to your car if you drove it everyday, all day long and never changed the oil. The car will work for awhile, but eventually you will notice that it is going to sound off and not feel right. This is what happens to us over time when we don’t care for ourselves. We get burnt out and wore down. Our relationships suffer because we lack patience, we have less energy to give our job the effort it requires, and then we our mood becomes negative. Taking time for yourself will enable you to show up better in all areas of your life. Your relationships will improve, you will be less stressed, and have more energy. By partaking in activities that make you feel physically and mentally good, you will boost your confidence and feel happier.

What practices are you engaging in daily to support your overall health and well-being? My guess is not enough. Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes and is unique to each individual. Let’s get started on a plan to help you take better care of your needs.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself the following questions.

  •  What are my thoughts about self-care?

  • What happens when I don’t take care of myself?

  • How does this affect my relationships with my kids, spouse, co-workers etc..?

  • What prevents me from taking care of myself?

Step 2: Self-care has many different facets. Take a look at this chart and think about what you are already doing in these areas and then come up with practice that you could do as part of your self-care.

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Step 3: Make a self-care checklist of about 20-30 ideas. Be sure to include activities from all the areas found in the chart above. Below is a link with ideas for self-care practices.

Step 4: Complete this self-care menu of activities that you can partake. Some days you won’t have an hour for self-care, that is why it is so important to have some other options for activities that can be done quickly. This doesn’t mean to forget about those activities that will take up more of your time.

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Please take time to take care of yourself, so that you can thrive and be the best version of yourself! Schedule these as appointments in your calendar and commit to them as if you were meeting with a very important client.

Laura Ciampa