I’ve come a long way with self care, and have a long way to go yet!
A few years ago, self care was a concept that made me squirm. For two reasons.
First, I believed, deep down, that I ‘shouldn’t’ need self care. I felt that ‘needing’ self care was a weakness – that if I was ’normal’ I wouldn’t need to spend time looking after myself. I thought that wanting or needing to do things to look after myself more must be because I’m ‘overly-sensitive’, ‘just can’t cut it’, or even ‘a bit mad’!
Second, ‘self care’ was synonymous with ‘selfish’ in my mind. For me, self care is often not a sociable affair! I’m an ‘expressive introvert’ – I love connecting with people through ideas and talking, but I really need time alone to recharge. Taking time alone involved saying ‘no’ to other people, or not being at the end of the phone any time they need me. And that meant putting my needs over theirs. Which is selfish right? That was my train of thought anyway!
It shocks me now to remember these underlying beliefs I had around self care. No wonder I didn’t do it! (And no wonder I burned out.)
Now I know these things to be true:
1) Everyone needs self care.
2) Self care looks really different for different people. Those people I saw at work running marathons in their spare time, those who could ‘cut it without self care’, were doing self care. Tell me that exercise isn’t self care!
3) You are the only one that can truly take care of you. Others can help, but they can’t do it for you.
4) Choosing to take care of yourself demonstrates wisdom and strength, not weakness.
5) Self care is not selfish. By looking after yourself, you give others the best of you rather than what’s left of you.
I still need to remind myself of these truths. Self care still isn’t a strength of mine. But remembering how much progress I’ve made feels pretty great.
If my old beliefs around self care resonate with you, know that you’re definitely not alone. If you’d like support, just get in touch. Coaching can help you pinpoint what unhelpful beliefs you might have, and start to develop beliefs that serve you better.
Take care of you x