Self care is more than green juice and yoga pants.
Self care is a huge buzz word these days. There are more advice out there for women self care than women career advice.
For some people self care only adds more stress to the day and for some people it’s representing the opportunity to slow down, re-charge and connect back with oneself.
This post is not going to end with another generic self care top to-do list that is including advice like sleep more, or eat more raw vegetables, or start exercise more.
This goes deeper.
You will learn the 3 of the biggest mistakes in self care most women make and how to fix them. It’s easier than you think, but oh boy so important.
It’s a game changer!
You are one of a kind. Yes you are! But when it comes to honoring your own self needs you are likely not unique.
It’s way too common amongst busy women to put themselves last, not prioritizing own time, feeling exhausted given all the different hats women wear.
A favorite quote from Jack Kornfield is “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Do you feel stressed about self care OR is your self care your soul’s sanctuary?
The first mistake in women self care is feeling guilty doing something for ourselves in fear of appearing selfish.
Women feel FIRST they need to do something for someone else, THEN it’s justified to do something for themselves.
As a result, self care becomes merely a thought, something to desire and put off into the future and not an action on a regular basis.
Stopping at the thought of taking time for self care creates a sense of disappointment when it’s not happening.
I’ll be transparent, before I had kids I consistently made these this mistake. I was making time for all the To-Do’s first.
I was constantly putting myself last after both work and family… extended family…friends, pets…laundry….when evening came around I was too exhausted, when is it going to be time for me?
The second mistake is that most women want a quick fix and copy what other women do.
Have you ever Googled best self care routine, morning routines and fitness exercises?
Have you every copied a program or a morning routine list and started with #1 on the list Monday morning?
It’s so easy to be drawn to the quick fix and get started. I have done it many times…
Before I became a mom I was going to spinning classes after work, played golf, went on all kinds of diets and so on. But it didn’t feel like self care, it felt like a chore.
I literally had to become a yoga teacher to get to go to a yoga class!!! I am kidding, but it’s also some truth in this.
Self care for women can turn into another way to glorify your busy life, if you let it.
Adopting the latest health routine is great, but is it so that others can complement you for doing it, while you feel deep down that it is just adding to at the list of to-do’s, and more stress and guilt builds up as a result.
How do you know what you are doing is right for you?
It all starts with honoring the fact that you DO have a need to be alone with your thoughts, alone away from others to re-charge, learn and explore, get inspired and connect with yourself, WITHOUT the influence of others.
Your self care routine is anything but a list, a one-time act or another thing to check off.
The third mistake women make in self care is to ignore their self worth.
The point is that without knowing what YOU value, you are never going to truly honor your unique self care needs without striving or feeling guilty.
It seems so abstract for many people to think about self care in light of self worth, but in simple terms, when YOU truly believe that you deserve it it shows up in your actions.
You look forward to it! You long for it and it is not a chore.
Too many overworked women I know push themselves to “just to finish that last email” before bed, or say “I just need to finish cleaning the house” (and all other chores) BEFORE they can take 2 minutes to attend to their own needs. Driving yourself to the finish line no matter what at the price of your own wellbeing is anything but self care.
Self care is the time each day when your soul glows.
Self care is a mindset based on knowing what and why, not copying what someone else is doing because it’s the new thing.
It’s the balance between your inner mental and emotional wellbeing and outer physical and environmental wellbeing.
If you overlook identifying the why part of doing a self care routine, you have stepped over the boundary of self respect. BIGGEST mistake!
So now, let’s get into re-shaping this for you and see what we come up with!
First you have to look at what you really value.
No one else is part of your self care. It’s only YOU that is doing it for YOU.
Some of you may say – well I go to yoga class with my girlfriends every Wednesday, that’s my self care.
As long as yoga is the exact thing that your soul is yearning for, that’s all good. What is not good is if you go to yoga class just because your girlfriends are going.
Look at your Why? What do YOU need? Maybe it’s not yoga, maybe it’s knitting?
Self care is about balance – between mental, physical, emotional, social, environmental, spiritual factors.
Self care can be applied in any of those areas.
The trend in self care is to focus on the external, the body, what we eat, what we do for fitness routine etc. but without focusing on your inner mental and emotional needs you miss the balance.
The clue to your unique self care needs comes from your values.
Women’s self care is built from honoring your values.
Define what self care means to you! Define what success looks like for you? How do you want to feel? Ask yourself, what do I really value? What means a lot to me? Why?
Maybe you discover that it’s not exercise, maybe it’s having time to cook a beautiful meal without stress instead of the regular Mac n’Cheese for the kids?
Maybe it’s having that 45 minutes to yourself every day to sit in meditation and journal.
Only you know what you really value, without involving or get influenced by someone else’s values.
If you want to really go deep with this and only do things you REALLY love, instead all the should’s per logic, check out a previous blog post on tools to use love over logic.
Without action you keep feeding yourself the lack of self worth.
What you want to look for is to make subtle shifts in the way you live your life. Not major shifts.
For example, one thing that been a major shift for me is how I carry out my mornings…
I cannot start a new day right without my morning meditation as the first thing I do.
Before I do anything else I sit up in my bed and meditate followed with writing.
This feeds my soul and helps me get centered for the day and I start my day clear and energized.
Below is an example of a morning routine and how to connect values with action:
By first writing what you value, then matching with an action and feeling you will connect your action back with a value.
I value connection with my partner – I will leave my phone in another room at night because this will make me feel more connected to myself and my husband instead of my phone.
I value eating healthy food – I will start my day with a smoothie instead of black coffee because it makes me feel healthier.
I value a strong body – I will start my day with 15-20 min yoga because it makes me feel awake and strong.
I value a no-stress morning – I will meditate for 20 min in the morning before I see my family
I value my creativity – I will free write for 5 minutes and writing down what I am grateful for because it makes me feel positive and calm.
Now it’s your turn, write down what you value. What activities would honor your values?
How do you want to feel? How can you start do more of that?
Action is essential. Book time on your calendar.
Tell your loved ones that from now on you are taking time to Yourself!
If you would like more support to re-invent your self care and life, get on the phone with me in a mini session that you can schedule NOW here.
Lastly, some wisdom from women before us:
“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.” by Kristi Ling
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” by Eleanor Brown