Or do you even have a self-care strategy? If you don’t, you are not alone. Most women I know, don’t have a self-care strategy!
What I mean by self-care strategy is not your morning shower, your face care and make-up routine. Self-care is spending real and energising time with and on yourself; time that is totally and utterly yours to increase and maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health.
As women we have been conditioned by society that spending time on ourselves is selfish, frivolous or unnecessary. Women are expected and expect of themselves to look after the needs of others first and then, if there is time, consider our own needs. Studies have shown that there are many more
women than men who are stressed, run down or on medication for stress related
Therefore, I would like to you to consider the following: It is selfish not to spend time on your self-care. Because if you don’t spend that time on yourself and your own wellbeing (physical, mental, spiritual), how on earth can you keep up your energy looking after and satisfying the needs of others? I am sure you will have noticed that you can get much more done and to a higher quality, when your energy is a at a peak and you feel great compared to times when you are stressed, run down or have low energy.
Before we look at your current or future self-care strategy, let’s have a look at your beliefs on self-care. So ask yourself, now:
When you think of self-care, what do you associate with this concept?
What did you feel the last time you took time out for yourself? A lot of women feel guilty when they take out time for self-care. Therefore they cannot enjoy their time away from their responsibilities to the full and do not achieve the desired de-stressing or energising effect.
What else comes to mind when you think of self-care? Are your beliefs around self-care even your own? Or are they your parents’, work colleagues’ or even friends’ beliefs? It is useful to write down your beliefs, and for each belief I invite you to leave some space underneath or beside the statement. And when you have listed all your beliefs, pick the ones that are not serving you. For each disempowering belief, write down what you want it to be instead and why the new belief would serve you better from now on. Once you have done that, make sure to cross out (if you like, use a red pen) the old belief.
Do you know what to say ‘no’ to and how to say ‘no’?
“I have no time for self-care activities”, is something I often hear from my female clients. One of the reasons for this situation is, that lots of women find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests from colleagues, bosses, family members and/or friends even if the activities mean that she would have to, yet again, cancel her personal self-care time.
Over the next week, start to notice what your automatic response is when someone asks you to do something for them. Are you an automatic sponge, i.e. ‘no’ is not part of your vocabulary, or are you someone who is comfortable with saying ‘no’ to tasks that do not fit into your already planned day/week or with your goals? Or do you find that you will always say yes to some people, but not to others?
Once you are aware of your automatic responses, I invite you to review those situations and consider whether your responses serve(d) you. For undesired automatic ‘yes’ responses, decide what it is that you want to happen instead. Do prepare your desired response in advance so that you are ready next time you receive a similar request. You will find that cutting down on tasks that do not serve you, will not only make you feel better about yourself but will also free up time for self-care.
Now that you have reviewed your beliefs on self-care and have freed up time for your self-care activities, it is time to review your self-care strategy:
- What self-care activities do you currently do and are those sufficient or working for you?
- What energising self-care activities did you do in the past that could you pick up again?
- What is the one self-care activity that if you did it every day (or once a week) would give you the most energy?
Ideally, take some self-care time every day. Some women enjoy massages, reading a book, listening to their favourite music, going out with girl-friends, taking a walk outside, taking part in a fitness class or meditating. These are just some examples, and you need to find the activities that are right for you.
Key things to watch out for when choosing self-care activities are:
- Are you energised (or de-stressed) by the activity?
- Can you fully enjoy it without complaining or judging yourself?
- Are your self-care activities (as a whole) satisfying your physical, mental and spiritual needs?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, it may not right activity for you and it might be better for you to choose another activity that is right for you. Enjoy creating your self-care schedule.
Have fun and enjoy your self-care time!
- The famous Glass Ceiling! (Part 2) – Crack it, smash it, dissolve it! (beingasuccessfulwoman.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Self-Care (friendtoyourself.com)