reFORM Studios
The Self Care Crisis

How many women do you know who think nothing of getting up a few hours early to take a friend to the airport, or to help a kid with a special school project?

How many women do you know who will drop everything to go help a friend for a few hours, but they don't ever make the time for even an hour of health and fitness for themselves?

What about you? Do you find yourself saying yes to getting involved in the community events and organization's boards, to putting hours in for work projects and for charities and for family and friends, but you never make the time to take care of yourself?

Why is that?

Why is it that we either put ourselves last on the priority list, or we don’t even make the list at all?

More importantly, how do YOU feel at the end of a day, week, month, year after taking care of everyone and everything but yourself? Tired? Run down? Drained?

I hear so many women tell me they don’t have time to work out, or to meal plan, or to fix a healthy dinner rather than run through the drivethru. The truth is- we all have the same amount of time (168 hours every week!), it’s just that for many of us we aren’t making ourselves a priority. We're at the bottom of our lists.

What you're subconsciously saying to yourself is that you're less important than everybody else in your world. You're living a value system that taking care of everybody else is more important than taking care of you. You are giving to everybody else in your world, and not giving at all to yourself.

The question I want to ask is how long can this go on? If you give give give but never replenished yourself, how long before you don't have anything left to give to those in your life? (There’s a reason airlines tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first, right?)

I think too many people, women especially, get caught up in nurturing and caring for everybody else, say yes to everything and everyone, but do this at the expense of saying no to themselves.

I get why we do this. I do.  It feels really good to help somebody else. It feels really good to do some good in the world, to take care of your friends, family and children, to contribute to the community, and to put something positive out there.

The flip side of the coin though is that we manage to feel badly when we actually do something for ourselves. There's a lot of guilt associated with taking time away from helping everybody else to actually care for yourself, all based on skewed values and perceptions of who we need to be (superwoman!).

How did self-care become a guilt-inducing act? And how can we get away from feeling badly about making ourselves our own priority, about carving out that time and investment to go to the gym, to drop into a fitness or personal development class, to hire that personal trainer or coach? I think if given the choice we would not blink twice to hire somebody to help someone else in our world (kids or spouse? where's my checkbook!), but when it comes our own selves for whatever reason we deem ourselves unworthy, not deserving or not a priority.

It's so easy to come up with a million excuses as to why we don't need to do that for ourselves, or why that time and energy is better spent on someone or something else. We do it when it comes to our actual health too. We delay going to the doctor, checking out that concerning issue or condition, or brushing it off because we tell ourselves it's not important. And yet it one of our loved ones presented with a problem, we’d be insisting that they go get checked out and get help right?

You see the irony.

self care self worth priority system

What would have to change for us to see ourselves as equal or at least on equal priority as everybody else in our world?

How would we have to think about ourselves differently to make self-care be a worthy thing and not a guilt trip or an afterthought?

How can we be okay with taking care of ourselves as well as we take care of everything else?

I'm going to argue that I think part of the problem is that we're using a rationale of “either- or”, that we have to choose between taking care of others and taking care of ourselves. I would challenge you to consider that there are creative ways to do both. There are ways to strike a balance and at times make room for you to be your own priority.

It's not that you have to be the priority a hundred percent of the time, or drop your commitments for 5-10 hours every week to now devote to your health and well-being, but we do have to start carving out a little time for you. What could that look like? 10 minutes in the morning? 30 minutes a few times a week?

What would you be willing to give yourself just to start actually taking care of you?

And what things that are on the endless list of stuff that we take care of could we maybe move down one spot on that priority list (or delegate, or say NO to!) so that we take care of you before we move on to the next thing? Could we wait to do laundry until after you've gotten a walk in? Can we pick up groceries after you go to the gym or personal trainer? Can we find creative ways to work your other commitments around some of the things that you want to do?

I challenge you to explore that this week. And if you want help finding ways to carve 30 minutes out for yourself 2-3 times weekly and make sure it’s put to good use, request a free consultation and I’ll sit down and chat with you so we can problem solve together! -Katrina

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