“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week, we wrapped up Pillar #1 of “The Year of the Best You” – Cultivate What Ignites You. Today, we will start on Pillar #2 – Self Care is Never Selfish. As before, we will discuss this pillar a bit more below, provide a printable PDF worksheet for the month and then recap how we made out on February 26th.
What is meant by “self care”?
Self care is really defined by how and what we do to care for ourselves. At a fundamental level, it encompasses our physical well-being, including sleep, and our nutritional well-being. At a more granular level, it looks at things like self preservation and self prioritization. Pillar #2 will address the latter, as the former concepts will be covered under other pillars.
We will look at 3 approaches to self care:
1) Saying ‘no’
2) Slowing down
3) Self indulgence
The benefits of saying ‘no’
In the words of Leo Babauta from Zen Habits, “To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn The Gentle Art of Saying No – an art that many people have problems with.” Most of us would agree it is much easier to say ‘yes’ than ‘no’, especially when the request is in the future. We think we will be okay with it until it approaches. In some cases, we just feel saying ‘no’ will hurt the other person’s feelings or hurt our chances of an opportunity. In actual fact, saying ‘yes’ when we would rather say ‘no’, only hurts us.
In a previous post, I wrote about How to Politely Decline – The Art of Saying ‘No’, and I would like to add another point. If you say ‘yes’, what do you potentially have to say ‘no’ to? Have we really looked at our priorities to know what is most important to us?
Slowing down to refresh & recharge
Our society encourages us to be busy and is often a way one might define as having a “full” life – full of busy is quite different from a full life. As Tim Kreider says in his New York Times article The ‘Busy’ Trap, “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”
Okay, so the truth runs deep here but how do we shift our mindset and drown out the voice that says “we must be doing something all the time to be of value”? Focus on our priorities and what really matters to us. Has your “to-do” list become a shame list? Have you ever considered a “not-to-do” list?
Also, compartmentalizing is a great way to create boundaries between work, chores, play and relaxation. Sometimes it is beneficial to carve out times in our day so work and chores don’t spill into other important aspects such as play and relaxation.
Self indulgence as a norm
What if we just embraced the idea of self indulgence as a normal part of our life? Daily – it might be a bubble bath and a glass of wine, weekly – a massage or yoga class, or every 6 months – a get-away or shopping trip.
Adding a little “me time” is a great way to care for ourselves, and guess what, we deserve it! It also sets a good example for those around us that carving out a little time for ourselves is a nourishing self care technique.
Self care is never selfish! Please print off the worksheet to join in this month’s activity. I will do the same and we will recap on February 26th. Enjoy!