Self-care is as intentional as any discipline – working out, eating right, or learning the violin. Too often, we focus on ourselves last, forgetting that we aren’t good to anybody if we’re dead on our feet. Or perhaps we know we should take care of ourselves, and we are totally getting around to it…eventually.
The truth is, there will never be the perfect time for self-care. Have you noticed there’s hardly ever a “perfect time” to do anything worth doing? Between working outside the home, working by staying inside the home, family stress, job stress, life stress…if you have to carve out time just to get groceries, you certainly aren’t going to stumble upon a three hour block of uninterrupted time one day to partake in some much needed rest and recuperating.
Of course, self-care doesn’t have to be three hours. It could be 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, and an hour set apart once a week or at the end of a long day. The important thing is to be proactive and schedule time for self-care so that you aren’t constantly bottling up all the weight of the world and never letting any of it roll off your shoulders.
If the transmission of your car died, you would stop and pour a few hundred bucks into it to get it back up and running. I may have left the “check engine” light on in my ’98 sedan so long it became a cosmetic feature, but I at least made sure it always had gas and everything important was good to go.
Why do you take care of your car better than you take care of yourself?
What happens when you run out of gas? These are the every day things that keep you going.
What happens to your system when you run on empty for a prolonged period of time? These are the things that don’t break overnight, but slowly wear down until you realize you can’t keep on like this.
What happens when you have neglected yourself so long that the pressure builds up, and you overflow and burnout? Would you like your friends and kids to treat themselves the way you treat yourself? Why are we so invaluable in our own eyes that it’s easier to grasp self-care in relation to friends and family than in our own lives?
Plan it. Schedule it. Stick to it.