Put Your Mask on First
Self-care is not selfish
That is the first point I need to get across. As corny and indulgent as the phrase “self-care” may sound, self care can be generalized to simply cultivating habits that are critical to your functioning. We have all heard the phrase: “hard work pays off,” and yes, hard work is essential to getting good, quality results. However, I have learned that sometimes we take that adage too far, so much so that it becomes counterproductive. After my daughter was born and I was home with two kids under 3, I would stay up after they went to bed so I could clean the house, prep for the next day, and maybe get in a quick shower. Then I would wake up early to get breakfast ready, take care of dogs, and get organized for everything that needed to get done that day. My family was happy and well taken care of, I got meals on the table, and the house clean- sort of. But I was lost: exhausted, unhappy, unfocused, stressed, and out of shape. I rarely got quality time with my husband because I was so “busy.” I didn’t take care of myself, and it was starting to show. Running on 4 or less hours of sleep a night, I began to forget important details of my day or to do things I had promised I would. I was working really, really hard, but I was not at all working efficiently. I needed to make a change, so I committed to giving myself an hour a day to focus on me. I realized that in order to be the best possible version of myself, to really give my family the care they needed, I first needed to improve my own physical and mental well being. For me, that meant arranging time each day to get some sort of exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, that hour of the day to spend on myself is hard to come by. I have a list a mile long of things that need to get done. But I make time to get a good workout in. Why do I do this? It is important to me and I make it a priority. What is the result? I am happier, stronger, and go through the rest of a day with a clear head, ready to get things done. It was hard at first, and I had some serious feelings of guilt when I left my kids to go to the gym, but I now realize that was an essential step in being the best possible version of myself. I now have an easier time maintaining order and balance in my life because of the strong, resilient foundation I have created.
Put yourself at the top of your list
Maybe you don’t have kids, but you have a parent or parents you are taking care of, a new business you are trying to get up and running, a difficult job, volunteer commitments in the community, or any number of high stress responsibilities that take up all your time and energy. Today people now feel “busier” (aka more stressed) which correlates to more unhappiness, sickness, obesity, disease, and depression, among other things. The point is, no matter what your situation is, doing taking time to do something for yourself is critical. When we are overworked and overwhelmed, we lack the energy and focus to make the same clear decisions, and are unable to problem solve in a purposeful manner. I get it, exercise is easy to move to the bottom of your list (or off it altogether) because exercise requires time, energy, and in most cases a change of clothes and a shower. It all seems daunting and uncomfortable. I’m here to tell you, make the time. It’s worth it. Even if it moves something else from your to-do list to tomorrow. We know that people who exercise regularly, eat right, and get sufficient sleep have less depression, anxiety, and illness. Taking care of yourself is not an indulgence, it is crucial to your health. You’d be amazed at what taking just a little bit of time to shut out the distractions and train your body and mind will do.
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”
- Audre Lorde
The better you take care of yourself, the more you’ll have to give to others. At Telos, we will help you have the best hour of your day so that you can live a stronger, happier, and healthier life for the other 23. Click below to schedule your free intro to get started.