Self-care is a struggle for many women. Between work, kids, spouses or dating, aging parents and all of the other demands we juggle, self-care seems like a luxury rather than a necessity. I learned the hard way that self-care MUST be a necessity, particularly if you are going through a major life transition like a divorce.
“Like many women, I found myself feeling like a doormat to many in my life.”
I thought that a good mother always puts the needs of her children first, and so I did. I felt guilty about my work schedule, so when I was home, I felt that I shouldn’t take time for myself because I was already away from my children too much. When I was at work, I felt guilty that I needed to leave at 5pm to take my children to dance or soccer, while my colleagues worked on in the office. No matter what I did, I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job.
Eventually I got rundown, and started to take on unhealthy habits just to cope with the stress and feeling of not being good enough at anything I was doing. I would overeat, indulge in wine too often, skip the gym and as a result of these unhealthy habits I started to gain weight, lose energy and lose my sense of self and self-esteem. I eventually hit a wall where I had to make changes.
“I learned that self-care is probably the most unselfish thing I can do for my children.”
I can’t be a good mother, if I am run down, unhappy and feeling bad about myself. Nor am I being a good role model to my children by modeling to them that a “good mother” is an unhappy doormat who has an unhealthy lifestyle. I was forced to make some drastic changes and by sharing what I did, I am hoping to save another woman from hitting the lows that I experienced as a result of my self-neglect.
Here are three things I learned:
First and foremost, self-care is a necessity. Like all necessities in life, it needs to be prioritized in your schedule. This means that the time you allot for self-care is not negotiable. Put it in your calendar and practice it daily.
Second, self-care doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Sure, a day at the spa can be a huge treat and stress reliever, but we can’t do that every day, or every week. As little as 20-30 minutes a day devoted to an activity you enjoy for yourself is all you need. It could be reading a book, meditating, exercising, yoga, a walk, a bath…there are endless possibilities. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day. The important part is that you do something you enjoy.
Third, in order to be effective self-care must be practiced consistently. A walk here and there, a meditation once every three weeks, or an occasional workout are not going to make much difference. Consistency is the key. As Tony Robbins, famously states, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” Make it a habit.
It isn’t always easy to find the time for regular self-care. It took me some trial and error before I made it a consistent practice in my life. If you need some help, designing a workable self-care plan for your life, please Contact Me and let’s discuss how to make it work for you.