Self-care or Self-ish?
Everyone was looking sweaty, breathless, and a bit tortured after a particularly grueling sprint in one of my recent boot camp classes, so I started doing my usual spiel on the importance of self-care. I was encouraging boot campers to think of hard work not as torture, but as a form of self-care. Just then, one of the boot campers chimed in with... “self-care is such a millennial thing…” (accompanied by a bit of an eye roll). I know she was just poking fun at me, but I felt a slightly embarrassed and taken aback. (and a little flattered because maybe I can pass as a millennial? The OLDEST millennial - 1982, baby!). I realized in that moment that not everybody has the same perception of self-care as I do. It made me check my opinion on the matter... was self-care a frivolous excuse to be self-indulgent or even selfSH?
Oxford defines self-care as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.”
The World Health Organization calls self-care “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”
Society seems to define self-care as a trendy excuse to pamper ourselves on the daily so we can look and feel our best… time permitting. Things like getting massage, relaxing with a glass of wine, using natural beauty products seem to be a the top of the list…but by the true definition self-care sounds more like a necessity than an indulgence.I witness many of my clients feeling run down, sick, achy, stressed out and overwhelmed. We shouldn’t be living in survival mode at ALL time, people! That should be reserved for special occasions (like the holiday season). When we live like this our bodies suffer. Our minds suffer. And everything we care about suffers too – family, work, friendships, creative pursuits. How do we cope and function and LIVE without letting all these things suffer? SELF-CARE.
So, I’m sticking to it (Millennial mentality or not). I want to enjoy the time I have in this body, and self-care helps me do that. Here are some thoughts on how you can redefine self-care for yourself.
Self-care does not always equal relaxation.
Sometimes relaxation, meditation, and massage are great ways to care for yourself. A cup of tea and a good book can go a long way! But sometimes care equals hard work. Things like daily exercise, getting adequate sleep, and eating nourishing foods can feel like a challenge for many people. YET these challenging endeavors cover the basic needs for a healthy and functional body. From personal experience, once I viewed these tasks as necessary for a happy/healthy life, they seemed a lot less daunting.
You don’t have to feel guilty about caring for yourself.
Sometimes we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves.Time is precious. We all have a lot on our plates, but the thing about guilt is that it often comes in the form of lies. Sometimes I think “Oh I can’t go to that yoga class. My kids will be upset because they want to spend the afternoon with me.” Only to realize my kids don’t really care if I leave for an hour and half . They are too busy doing kids stuff. Or “I can’t go to sleep early, those emails have to go out tonight or the client will be pissed.” Only to realize the client will not give a flying F if the email comes at 11pm or 11am the next day. Stop guilt tripping yourself unnecessarily and start putting yourself on the priority list.
You cannot care for others if you don’t care for yourself.
If you are rundown, sick, unhappy, or overwhelmed how can you possibly give your best? When your energy is depleted you won’t have the reserves to complete even the basic daily tasks.There you are in survival mode again! How does this kind of living effect those around you? Your family? Your co-workers? Your friends? My family knows this point well. If mommy doesn’t go for that run, mommy is not going to be a happy camper. That means more frustration for everyone in the house. By Friday each week they are basically handing me my running shoes and saying “see ya later.” Full disclosure - Sometimes I practice self care just so I won’t yell at my kids. If you can’t do it for you, then at least do it for everybody else. ;)
I hope this helps clear things up... from a Millennial’s perspective. ;)