Updated: May 17
Self-care is an interesting topic- one that many of us find ourselves feeling somewhat resistant to.
It seems many of us confuse self-care with selfishness, indulgence and luxury. We seem to assume self-care is a series of days filled with fluffy activities like trips to the spa, ‘watching soaps and eating bon-bons,’ or general laziness. While these activities could be part of self-care, we want to be aware of the bigger picture.
So, what is self-care?
Self-care is nothing more than taking care of ourselves. Counter to the idea of laziness, it may require a mindful discipline of defining and living according to our priorities. When we are not willing to prioritize self-care, we might consider that we are engaged in its opposite, self-neglect.
Common Excuses for Self-Neglect
We are remarkably creative in justifying self-neglect. Explanations frequently shared for practicing self-neglect are: ‘I just don’t know when I would fit that in; I am too busy; I don’t have that kind of time.’
According to Stephen Covey, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Perhaps, we need to look at our schedules, and consider what they reflect about our priorities.
How is it that all other tasks have the right-of-way over our own basic self-care and needs?
Caring for Others, Our Stuff, but Not Ourselves
It is interesting that many of us have come to allow more time and care to extend out to others and to the maintenance of our stuff than to ourselves. Consider, for example, how most of us relate to our vehicles.
We would never think of neglecting the basic care of our car, truck, or SUV. We recognize that if we expect our vehicle to run smoothly, we must give it the appropriate fuel, a periodic wash to keep it from rusting, routine maintenance and attend to occasional repairs.
Most of us don’t abuse our vehicles by asking them to perform beyond their capacity. We do not force them into rapid acceleration if the engine is not equipped to handle it or drive a Prius off-road.
Many of us similarly prioritize the maintenance and ‘well-being’ of our homes.
We might even go beyond the basics of caring for our possessions with activities such as detailing our cars, and HDTVing our kitchens, patios, or play spaces. We seem willing to go beyond the basics for our stuff but, when it comes to ourselves, we call the same care superfluous.
How to Begin Prioritizing You!
Let’s start with the basics: Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise. If we build a foundation of health, we can enjoy getting fancy later. Explore the resources below to get started.
Get proper sleep- Not one of us is designed to be in ‘go mode’ all the time. We each require proper rest to restore our systems.
Healthy Sleep Tips
Fuel up- Whether you ascribe to a 3 meals a day system, or eating light, healthy meals throughout the day, make sure you listen to your body’s cues and seek the needed nourishment.
What are the benefits of eating healthy?
Exercise- Our bodies require regular exercise to remain well.
How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit
A Final Word
Remember, Covey’s words, “The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” If we do not prioritize ourselves, we will likely bring a slightly to extremely rundown version of ourselves to our other commitments. We will feel the gap between what we could bring and what we’re able to bring. When we care for ourselves first, we have the opportunity to experience the reward of bringing an energized, prepared, inspired version of ourselves to the rest of our world.