Recently I've discovered that self-care for me simply means taking my time. A typical working mother and entrepreneur; I'm constantly tearing around trying to slam dozens of "to-do" items into a single day. So when it comes to my own personal self-care - I've realized that taking time to go to a massage, a facial or manicure, while often rewarding and fun, can be anxiety inducing all the same. It's an opportunity cost. It's down-time spent on only myself and sometimes the only pay off my ego gives this 'selfcare' is rewarding it with the ego's favorite weapon; guilt.
Is it just me? No. A brief search on Google shows that there are literally hundreds of resources not just for selfcare strategies, but also with coping with the guilt of selfcare - like this one from Headspace and this one from HelloFlo.
So, I've found that the easiest combatant for feeling this way for me, was to re-tool what it means to self-care. Bear with me here, it may seem pretty simple, but for someone who is constantly putting everyone else's needs before their own (like we Moms) or an entrepreneur who's every hour is a trade off between profit and loss, this kind of strategy can become revolutionary. I started this approach mid-last year when a career change shook my reality; I gave myself a new mantra "No Idle Time". Which at first meant simple things like; limiting my social media consumption, limiting my TV consumption, accounting for almost every hour of every day including how many hours I should sleep. It was exhilarating at first, I was impressed with how much I could get done, but then (I'm sure you know where this is going) after six months, I started to hit a wall. I needed more self-care integrated into my day or risk bombing out completely, and that wasn't an option.
What this meant was, I had to find a way to bring self-care into my days, so I started with simple things like making regular appointments for Thai combo massages, getting my nails done every two weeks, hanging in the hot-tub and suddenly I felt more relief in my day, the trouble was it lasted for the time I was 'self-caring' but that good feeling dissipated once the session was over. My ever-growing list of things I had to do, the trivial, the urgent and last but not least the important were ever-present making me feel wasteful, indulgent and the 'g' word.
It wasn't tenable. So I took another look at what made me feel good, what made me feel strongest, happiest and at my best - surely that was the best self-care I could give myself right? Right. Funny thing is, the exact thing that made me feel good, strong, happy and at my best - was doing my to do list. Getting shit done. The answer was staring me in the face. I had to self-care WHILE I got to work. It had to be mutually part of every thing I did.
Now every 'must-do' task is paired with something inspiring and beautiful and I revel in taking my time in each task, as they're augmented by something that makes me feel like I'm important too, and I think ladies and gentlemen, that's the whole entire point to self-care and lead me 'to do' lists like this:
Organise school lunches and breakfast and listen to Yo Yo Ma
Do school run and listen to this "Breaking Beauty" Podcast
A workout with my business mentor
Take my calls and paint my nails and soak those cuticles!
Respond to all my emails and listen to my wedding night playlist
Add something for me to the 'weekly grocery' shopping cart
Co-cook dinner with hubby and talk about the best part of the day
Pay monthly bills and watch latest episode of Westworld
Light candles for my daily night-time shower.
Add at least half a dozen steps to my skincare regimen; including eye-patches and sheet-mask.