This post is one that I wrote several months ago. I decided to post it today because 1.) I am on my way to Hawaii to spend a wonderful week of fun and relaxation with my family so a post on self-care seemed appropriate since that is what the upcoming week will be all about for my clan and 2.) it is about a topic that we women tend to struggle with–we are so good at taking care of everyone else, but we rarely make our own self care a priority. I hope that you enjoy the post and I look forward to sharing my Hawaiian adventures with you once I return to good ol’ Colorado. Mahalo!
It happened. I’m not proud to admit it…but all the denying, justifying and excuse making in the world won’t change that fact that it happened. I (a 45 year old wife, mother and successful career woman) had a melt down. Not just any melt down mind you; I had a full blown, two-year-old-throwing-a-temper-tantrum kind of melt down, complete with tears, slamming doors and a few words that aren’t fit for print.
To be completely honest, I don’t even remember what exactly triggered my melt down. Someone must’ve said or done something terrible…right? I mean…grown women don’t just fall apart like that for no reason do they? Surely someone had to have committed some grievous crime against humanity in order to spark such an epic fit on my part…right?
Unfortunately…no. The reason that I can’t remember the event that precipitated my melt down is because the event wasn’t a big deal. I’m sure that it was something that on any other normal day would have flitted right past me without notice. This however was not a normal day. On this particular day, I was exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out, burned out and at my wit’s end with everyone and everything. What’s worse is…I had no one but myself to blame for my situation. I am the one who had stopped taking care of myself. I am the one who was burning the candle at both ends (and in the middle) and I am the one who allowed my own emotional and physical needs to be put on the back burner so that I could focus on other “more important” things.
I’ve learned the hard way that neglecting my own needs for too long will–sooner or later–lead to disaster. Neglecting my own well being is one of the quickest routes to chaos and the only way to remedy the situation is to make my own self-care a priority again. How about you? Where does caring for your own emotional and physical health fall on your to-do list? As mothers, wives, career women, daughters, etc., we make every effort to care for the people, things and projects that are important to us—isn’t it about time that we add ourselves to that list? Self-care is not selfish—it is vital to our well being and allows us to better care for those who are depending upon us. Ask yourself the following 25 questions to determine if you are in need of some personal pampering…
- Do you get enough rest?
- Do you eat foods that taste good and nurture your body?
- Do you go to the doctor for your annual physical?
- Do you get regular exercise?
- Do you connect with friends on a regular basis?
- Do you have good posture?
- Do you drink at least 6 glasses of water a day?
- Do you enjoy regular quiet time?
- Do you take vitamins?
- Do your clothes reflect your personality and style?
- Do you regularly unwind in a nice buble bath?
- Do you take time to learn about new things that interest you?
- Do you take time to read for pleasure?
- Do you associate with positive, upbeat people?
- Do you have a cute hairstyle that you feel good about?
- Do you make time for spiritual growth?
- Do you make time for hobbies?
- Do you allow yourself to cry when it is warranted?
- Do you set goals and review them regularly?
- Do you regularly treat yourself to facials, manicures, pedicures etc.?
- Do you keep your closet organized?
- Do you splurge on yourself occassionally?
- Do you plan your day the night before?
- Do you keep an inspiring “dream file” or vision board?
- Do you celebrate your successes—big and small?
If your test results indicate a deficit in the self-care department, try a few of these quick and simple ideas to put yourself back at the top of your priority list. Not only will you feel better and get more enjoyment out of life, you’ll also be better equipped to handle crisis situations when they arise and to care for the people who are depending upon you.
1.) Eat a banana. Not only are bananas a great pick-me-up food (they are loaded with quick-fuel carbohydrates), research shows that eating a banana can also elevate your mood.
2.) Call your mom—unless your mom is an overly critical nag, in which case, call your sister, best friend, sweet aunt etc. Fill her in on all of the amazing things that are happening in your life and then listen enthusiastically as she fills you in on hers. It is always good to have someone that you can count on to be your cheerleader and supportive shoulder to lean on.
3.) Belt out a tune. Whether you are alone in your car or taking a shower, singing has been proven to relieve stress, boost the immune system and release the same feel-good chemicals that sex and chocolate do. To compound the benefits of singing out loud, try following it up with some sex and chocolate!
4.) Make time for yourself. Turn off your phone (the world won’t end—we promise), brew some tea, find a good book and allow yourself to just chill for a while. Even 30 minutes of uninterrupted “me time” can make a huge difference in one’s outlook and attitude.
5.) Visit a makeup counter and get a free makeover. Maybe you’ll discover a new lipstick color that you love (and we all know what a good lipstick can do for our psyche!)
6.) Get outside. If you can’t get outside for some reason, open a window and take a deep breath. The combination of fresh air and sunlight will do wonders for your spirit and help to clear your mind.
7.) Lift your spirits with aromatherapy. Try taking a whiff of lemon, wild orange or peppermint essential oils for an instant, mood lifting burst of energy.
8.) Organize your desk or closet. Donate the items that you no longer need or that no longer suit you. Not only will your donation benefit someone else, it’ll help you to make room for items that you truly love.
9.) Take a luxurious bath infused with lavender essential oil and soothing bath salts. To make this a truly decadent experience, light some candles and play some soft, relaxing music.
10.) Ask for help when you need it. No one should have to shoulder all of life’s burdens alone. When things are hard—ask for help. Chances are good that you’ll find others who care about you and who are more than willing to pitch in and lend a hand.
Being good to ourselves truly is the best thing that we can do to be good to others. When we are feeling rested, supported, healthy and balanced, we will be better able to help ensure that those we love are feeling the same way. Don’t put off caring for yourself—make your own self-care a priority in your life TODAY.