Self-care is the key to so many things we want in life, yet it’s often one of the things we most struggle with. While juggling careers, relationships, health, family and the other demands of daily life, self-care is the ball most often dropped (or point blank thrown to the floor).
How often do we hear the cliche to “be the best you that you can be” in pop culture – movies, self-help books and yes, even blogs all preach this idea. We can make it an inspirational motto or an ignored platitude. I hope we can choose inspiration more often and embark on journeys to be better partners, family members, employees or bosses; most of all healthier, smarter, more spiritual individuals who take better care of ourselves. The common thread is self-care.
We all know the sayings…put your own oxygen mask on first or you can’t help anyone else, fill your own tank before you fill others or you’ll be running on empty. Yeah, we know them, we quote them and in general ignore them.
There are so many reasons. Some rational, others emotional.
I find rational usually equals excuses. Justifying it in your head? It’s an excuse. Time? Trust me, we make time for what we really want and we make time for reality TV. A little time management, prioritization and determination kick that excuse to the curb. Money? I’m no believer in the latte effect – if I want to buy my damn coffee out everyday I’m going to. The point is that instead of using this excuse we could be more conscious of our money habits and our attitude towards finances. I’m not naive enough to think there aren’t times when money truly is tight, but for those times the creative and affordable ideas for self-care are abundant. Some of the best ones are free anyways! We all have our own excuses and the moment we start calling ourselves on them is the moment we stop making them and start making a life we actually enjoy living without Xanax and a bottle of wine every night. No judgment by the way; we’ve all been there.
The mental blocks and made up stories from our perceived tragedies and life experiences are harder to tackle. The misconception that self-care actually means selfish. The belief that everyone else is more important to take care of. The lack of self-worth that tells us we don’t deserve it. The feeling that pleasure is a waste of time that we should be spending on productive things. I could go on, and I’m sure you can too.
But where does that get us? It leaves us too drained at the end of the day to get in even a few minutes of physical movement, too exhausted to find a meal comprised of actual food and too engrossed in our iPhones and Instagram selfies to have a legitimate conversation with a human we can reach out and touch. It sends us to the McDonalds drive thru with a mile long Target receipt in our credit card filled wallets from trying to find our joy in electronics, clothes, discounted candles we don’t need and a picture frame that will remain empty (because let’s face it when’s the last time you actually printed a photo?). We crash on our couches amped up on caffeine and answer just a few last work emails from our tablets in bed then wonder why we can’t sleep without Ambien and dread waking up in the morning to another day of the same.
This was my slap in the face and this is yours. Does this sound like your life? I love how Gabrielle Bernstein answers people who tell her they don’t have time to meditate. Her response? “Do you have time to feel like shit?”
Is that how you feel most days? Then take better care of yourself. If you’re tired of feeling that way then make time for even the tiniest baby steps. We’ve all got a certain amount of time; its up to us if we’re gonna spend that time feeling like shit or loving our lives.