I’ve seen a lot of backlash recently against the push for women to practice self care. And even though I constantly remind women of the importance of self care, I get it.
Self care is often portrayed as a necessary luxury – relaxing in a candle-lit bath with a glass of wine or skipping out on the family for a day at a pricey spa, for example. The response from most women is that they’re too busy running their kids to soccer practice, trying to feed their family a somewhat nutritious dinner and checking in on elderly parents to spend an afternoon curled up in a cozy blanket with a cup of tea and this month’s book club pick.
But self care isn’t about aromatherapy and indulgence in the name of wellness. Self care is simply caring for yourself. It means remembering to include yourself in your list of priorities.
Women are typically the caregivers of the family. We make sure the kids are fed, ferried to school and extracurricular activities, seen by doctors, and clothed. We help our aging parents navigate the healthcare system and downsize into our homes or assisted living facilities. We bring loved ones soup when they’re sick. We volunteer for the PTA and the local animal shelter.
And by the time we finish taking care of everyone else, we’re too exhausted and overwhelmed to focus on our own needs.
And that’s why self care truly matters. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
So how should you really practice self care? By refilling your cup. What area of your life have you been neglecting? What could you do to feel more centered, rested and in control? Maybe you need to take a step back from one of your commitments to give yourself more free time. Or maybe you need to let go of perfectionism in favor of being content with certain tasks just being completed. Maybe you need to delegate some of your responsibilities. Or maybe it’s as simple as scheduling a haircut.
I challenge you to take five minutes to think about what you could do to refill your cup. And then do it. Consider it a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself.