It is one of the most common statements I hear, “I don’t usually take the time to take care of myself there are so many other things to take care of.” When others hear that statement it results in a group nod of agreement. Trust me, I get it. I fall into the same trap at times. But when we fail to take care of ourselves we are not at our best selves to take care of everyone and everything around us.
When I was a kid my big challenge was balancing getting my school work done with having the time to spend with my friends. I preferred the latter if you couldn’t guess. Now life is filled with much more for me to balance and where I used to primarily take care of myself, I now have others I have to, or choose to consider. So yes, there are those days where I say, “I wish I was a kid again.” But outside of dreaming of those simpler days, reality is, I have a lot to take care of.
When the to-do list becomes long, or requests are made of us by others, often the self-care falls to the bottom of the list, or sometimes completely off. The time in the day set aside for exercise, eating well, meditation, reading, anything for oneself can take a back seat. We are often willing to sacrifice what we need, to take care of others.
When this happens we neglect taking the time to focus on ourselves and what we need. What is important to recognize is that when we do take care of ourselves, we become more capable of taking on the things around us.
Think about a car. When a car has routine maintenance it runs smoothly, is dependable and hums right along. When it lacks its regular maintenance, it still runs, but not as efficiently and effectively as it could. Same with ourselves. When we ignore ourselves we can become rundown, achy, grouchy and even ill.
I co-lead a workshop called, “An Afternoon of Self-Care”. It is a four hour workshop where individuals connect with different areas of their lives, explore yoga, meditation and more. When we first designed the workshop we really struggled with the length of the workshop, fearing that people wouldn’t take four hours for themselves. When we hold the workshop and we ask what hesitations people have had in coming, as expected we hear, “taking that amount of time for myself”. Yet it is often followed up by gratitude to themselves for having taken the time, recognizing how much they fed themselves with the nurturing they deserved.
Now we often don’t have four hours to dedicate to ourselves, but it often can be as little as five minutes that can make a difference. Whether it is using that time to follow our breath, stretch, draw,meditate, write, read or anything that helps us feel cared for, it can help set a great foundation for everything else we have to deal with.
I often suggest taking this time before starting the day for two reasons. It sets the foundation of your day and supports you being ready to be more balanced for what is ahead, and second because it is less likely to get knocked down or off the to-do list. Maybe it’s waking up a little bit earlier in your day to set this time aside. If you prefer later in the day, go for it, but don’t let it slip away or get re-prioritized.
So take the time for your self-care and see what a difference it can make. What do you do to take care of yourself?
For free videos and more information on how to explore ways to relax yourself, even in a short-time, explore www.shariczar.com. If you would like more information about the workshop mentioned in this blog, “An Afternoon of Self-Care” and where it will be offered next, please visit: My Workshops