“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~ Deborah Day
A friend of mine has finally taken time out from her crazy over-giving-to-everyone-else-but-herself life to focus on her health. She’s run herself ragged, and her poor body is suffering from years of neglect, so she’s taking a month off to go to a health retreat and get some new strategies in place to turn her situation around.
Another friend has recently quit a long-term social group where she has been the President for over fifteen years so that she can spend weekends working on her art.
A mutual acquaintance shocked me when she said of these two women, “It’s a bit self-indulgent, don’t you think?”
Since when has it been okay to forgo your own health, emotional well-being and dreams, forever putting your needs on the back burner while you collapse in a heap from being there for everyone else?
Self care isn’t a natural act for most people anymore. Too many of my friends and clients have confided to me that they feel guilty about pursuing their own interests or taking time for themselves when they have jobs, partners, families, elderly parents and social obligations.
But if we keep drawing on our own energy to support others without ever filling ourselves back up, eventually we end up empty. We lose ourselves. We look in the mirror and don’t know who we are any more. We become little more than machines.
When we don’t make time for ourselves the end result will never be pretty. We burn out, we break down, we stop maintaining the habits and relationships that contributed to our wellbeing, and we often end up walking away from things that were actually good for us or that we were once passionate about. I see this so often that I call it ‘burned out practitioner syndrome’ – people who worked at what they loved so unsustainably that they came to resent their work/art/relationships and became totally disconnected from their passion and purpose.
Self care isn’t selfish. Self care is the single most important gift you can give to yourself and the relationships around you. If you don’t know where to start, here are some simple suggestions: