You can’t pour from an empty cup. This is the saying I think of when I’m on the subject of self-care. I for one am guilty of neglecting self-care and letting my cup run completely dry. But I don’t think I’m the only one guilty of this! So grab yourself a cuppa and read on as to why I think us women should make time for self-care.
Women take care of everything and everyone from the minute we wake till we fall asleep, most nights from sheer exhaustion. Shouldn’t that be enough? But it isn’t because the most important person in that equation is being the one most marginalized.
Women are predisposed to be the carers of the family, no matter what role we’re playing; daughters, wives, mothers, friends. And it’s sucking the life out of us. Meanwhile, the men in our lives don’t get how much we sacrifice to make sure their lives are running smoothly.
Men’s brains are trained to think differently than ours. They don’t feel guilty when they don’t do something they’re supposed to do. Instead, they blame it on someone else, or quite simply, circumstance. Women, on the other hand, tend to overthink everything, so much so that we lose sleep over it, or wake up suddenly in the middle of the night because we forgot to do so-and-so.
It’s exhausting, and it has to stop!
We have to take a step back and ask ourselves one fundamental question: “If we don’t start taking care of ourselves, who will?”
The answer is, no one!
Almost always, you’ll find women with too many commitments, being pulled every which way. These women know that they should start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. But they don’t know where to start.
And since they’re already overwhelmed with things to do and people to take care, they see taking care of themselves as just another “job”, so they just keep pushing it down the list.
But one of the things we don’t take into account when we neglect to take care of ourselves is that through this behaviour, we’re setting the bar of how we want the people around us to treat us. You can’t expect them to put your needs first when you don’t do the same.
MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
Here are the 4 steps to help you start on the path of some much-needed self-care:
- The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling guilty about taking time off for yourself.
- The second thing you should do is to find the things that you like.
- The third, and probably the most important, is to schedule in time for yourself just like you would any other appointment so you reduce the risk of forgetting or cancelling.
- The final step is putting the plan in motion. Don’t think of it as a selfish act, because when you’re happy and relaxed, you bring a sense of calm and contentment.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do to take care of yourself:
- Take time to do something for you and only you – even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day.
- Meet up with friends and family, or talk on the phone at least once a week.
- Read something that inspires you – it can be a book or even a short quote.
- Don’t be passive. Learn how to be the one in control of your life, not just react to things as they happen. This is a reflection of how emotionally stable you are.
- Stop prioritizing others’ opinions over yours. Don’t allow anyone else’s expectations to dictate who you are and what your likes/dislikes are.
- Make sure you look and dress in a way that boosts your confidence.
- Have goals and work towards them. From the small, daily goals to the big, life-changing ones, having something to strive towards helps keep things in perspective.
- Ask for help. Women see themselves as being able to do it all, with no outside help. But that’s not being realistic and it’s ramping up stress levels like crazy. And you’ll quickly resent those you’re taking care of because the load is too heavy for you to carry on your own. No successful woman ever did everything by herself all the time – it’s just not possible. When you ask for help, it means you’re wise enough to know your limits and you love yourself and your family enough to know when it’s time to take a step back, reassess, rest then come back a happier, calmer version of yourself.
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