Why is it that if you suggest to a woman that she practice self-care that she has trouble with it? Do you know of any guys who have trouble doing the things they like? Self-care to some women sounds like such a luxury that they can’t afford it. Or they may feel selfish for doing it. Who says women have to do it all? My guess is that the norm for you (if you are a woman) is that you put everyone else’s needs above your own.
To better help understand self-care, ask yourself what they say when you get on an airplane and there is a drop in cabin pressure. They tell you to put on your oxygen mask first and then put it on your child. And the reason for that is, because if you pass out, you are going to be of no help to your child. Self-care is like that oxygen mask. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. You will be a much better parent and better partner when you are happy and honoring your needs.
What comes up for you when you think of self-care? Do you think that you don’t have time for it? Do you think others will suffer if you do it? Another question to ask yourself is, what message do you want to give your kids or other loved ones? Do you want your children thinking they can’t take time out to have fun? I don’t know of any kids that really have a problem with this, but how might it impact them when they become adults? If that is the message they get, then who would want to grow up? That doesn’t sound like any fun.
What does self-care mean to you? Are you so bogged down with the things that you need to do, that self-care refers to taking a shower, eating and brushing your teeth? I hope not. Hopefully it means something you do that your enjoy, that is just for you. It may be an activity, or it may be something like getting a massage or a pedicure.
How to practice self-care
The question is, what relaxes you and what do you enjoy doing? If you had a full day to yourself with no other responsibility, how would you want to spend it? Perhaps you are someone who would want to have some peace and quiet. Maybe you’d like the house to yourself, or to be outdoors in nature. Some people enjoy reading a book, or doing some sort of hobby.
Now I get that you may not be able to have the whole day to yourself on a regular basis, but what might it be like to be able to do that for an hour? I’d also recommend that you do plan one full day to yourself every so often. Put it on the calendar. Does this seem too decadent? Do you feel selfish? I hope not.
What would you say if your partner told you he wanted to play 18 rounds of golf, or go hunting or fishing for the day or weekend? Would you think he was selfish? Here’s a way to rid your self of that thought. Suggest your partner do the same thing. It will be good for both of you, and it will be good for your relationship. When you get back you can fill your partner in on your experience.
Perhaps you are someone who would like to pamper yourself. How would you do that? Would you get a manicure, pedicure or a massage? Would you like to go out for a meal with a girlfriend? We all need friends to talk to. The way we talk to our girlfriends is different than the way we talk to our partners or children.
5 Minute self-care
What things would you like to do to take care of yourself? If you can’t take an hour, can you do something that would be helpful if you only had 5 or 10 minutes? It could be as simple as a cup of tea or some deep breathing.
Here’s a great exercise to try. It’s called 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Then exhale, as if you are exhaling through a straw for a count of 8. Do this 5 times and see how you feel. Most people tend to feel more calm, relaxed, and centered.