I think and speak the phrase “self-care” so often right now that it’s starting to sound a little like indistinct sounds that have lost their meaning. That’s because I suck at self-care and most of the women I know suck at it too, so I spend far too much time thinking about a topic that would ideally be a natural part of our daily routines.
What is self-care? Why is it so important? And why is it so damn hard to do?
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Self-care is the act of caring for one’s self physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s identifying what you need to operate optimally and making it a priority to meet those needs.
Self-care is important because without it we are continuously “emptying our cups” without doing anything to “refill” them. You are left at a deficit and cannot fulfill your obligations to yourself or the people who depend on you. When I don’t take care of myself, I turn into a cranky bitch. I snap at my husband, have little patience with my kiddos, and then I ultimately end up really disliking myself. Nobody wins in this scenario.
So if self-care is best for everybody, why is it so difficult? The million dollar question. I’m not the first person to suspect that it has to do with how women are socialized. We are often brought up to first think about how our actions affect the people around us, so we find it difficult to make choices that put our own needs above the needs of others. And you know what? I don’t think this is a horrible thing. Just imagine a world where everyone stopped more often to consider how their actions could affect others. This is a good mindset to have if it’s approached with balance. The problem comes when women and mothers approach caretaking without balance and proceed to deplete themselves.
Yesterday I wrote about the importance of women connecting with each other. Today I urge you to prioritize connecting with yourself. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we cannot be in strong, connected relationships without first being in a strong place as an individual. Romantic relationships, family relationships, friendships – it doesn’t matter. You will hit obstacle after obstacle if you have significant self-growth that you’re avoiding. You need to feel secure and confident in yourself before you can be genuinely open to loving and supporting the people around you unconditionally and without judgment.
So in addition to exploring ways for women to connect with each other, the main purpose of this blog will be to explore ways for us to connect with ourselves. Because a woman who loves and takes care of herself is in a position to be a life-changing partner, mother, daughter, and sister. And if we have enough sisters out there changing people’s lives for the better, eventually that translates to changing our whole world for the better, too. And I think we can all agree that we need some of that right now.
The fabulous Mama Gena wrote a great post about her morning self-care rituals. Check out her post 6 Practices I do every morning.