If you do a google search on self-care, you’ll get 1.8 billion results in less than a second. There are tons of resources out there about self-care and there are lots of people wanting to know what self-care is.
Self-care is a combination of big and small things that we do to recharge our batteries, uplift our spirit and increase our overall energy (physically, emotionally & mentally) so that we can live our lives.
While there is an abundance of information about self-care, there are also myths about self-care. Here are three myths about self-care that I’m busting for you right now.
Self-care is an escape.
It can feel like one especially if you’re very stressed out and overwhelmed. When you have a million things to do and a million other people (or pets) to focus on, you WANT to escape. I’ve pictured myself running away to a tropical paradise with gorgeous sky views and beautiful beaches. But self-care is more than just an escape from life’s stress.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” I agree with this to a point.
It’s a broad definition and doesn’t show what self-care really is. There is so much that falls under the umbrella of self-care and that’s why the word can be so misleading. People easily get confused by it. This confusion is why I focus on energy. Well, what does energy have to do with self-care?
A Google search shows that energy is “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.” I love this definition of energy because it helps define the point of self-care: to get your energy back.
I believe that self-care is a combination of big and little things we do to recharge our batteries and increase our energy. Self-care helps us get back the energy we need to live our lives. It helps us fill ourselves up so we can take on the busy-ness of life.
But, what DOES self-care look like?
It means going to your annual doctor’s appointments. Or for me…eeek – the dentist! It means taking lunch AWAY from your desk so you aren’t tempted to do any work.
(Tip: Take lunch away from your desk once a week and see how you feel after). Self-care means taking time out of your day everyday to reconnect with yourself. To focus on your wants and needs.
Life is tough – bills to pay, families/pets/parents to care of and work to do. Plus all of the things that we see happening in the world. It’s alot to handle. Self-care CAN be an escape from your life. But it is an opportunity to focus on building up your energy and spirit so that you can handle the toughness of life.
Self-care is the daily process of taking care of you BEFORE putting your focus and energy towards other people, tasks, etc. When you take time for you everyday, you’ll get your energy back. You’ll focus better on work, family/pets and social activities. AND, most importantly, you’ll feel happier.
If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve heard the flight attendants make announcements for emergencies. You need to put your oxygen mask on first BEFORE helping anyone else with theirs. There is no way you can be strong or present for the people you care about forever. You’ll run out of energy. Self-care is YOUR oxygen mask in life.
Self-Care costs an arm and a leg.
Self-care is an investment in YOU. It is an investment in your emotional, physical and mental well-being. It’s an investment in recuperating your energy so that you can maintain the life you have. Caring for family/pets, working and social activities takes a toll on you. We invest so much money in our education, buying a home or in training to advance at work. But, an investment in you is also an investment in your health and well-being.
You ARE worth it! You matter. You are important. You may read this and think “yeah right.” But, I know something you’ve probably forgotten – there is NO ONE like you. You are unique and special and you are worth it. Health is wealth and when you invest in yourself with self-care, your health will give you much more that you could imagine.
One of my self-care tips is easy to do and it’s free. I’m great at getting overwhelmed. I’d be the gold medalist at it if it was an Olympic sport. Everyday, I take a quick walk after dropping my youngest off at school. I just shut up and look and listen to everything around me. My walks help me breathe and re-center myself. I go at a slow pace and take in the city sounds. Look at and take pictures of flowers. This is a grounding technique I use to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed.
While free is great, it isn’t always helpful long-term. Sometimes, getting your self-care requires some cash or a little work that can pay off later on. Just like taking a college class toward a degree, paying for your self-care can motivate you to put time and effort to heal yourself.
Tip: Do some research with your insurance company. You may find it will cover a variety of self-care activities such as going to the gym, therapy or even acupuncture (if recommended by your primary doctor). Some insurance companies will send you gift cards for attending your annual doctor visits.
Or you can try something else, like paying for a life coach or trainer (note: be sure to carefully research these before buying so that you know what you’re getting).
Self-care can wait until later.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women ages 16 and older worked an average of 40.9 hours per week as of 2017. That number is slightly higher for men (43.4) ages 16 and older. When you add family and social activities, you end up spending a lot of time doing things for other people. Then you decide, “well, I don’t have time for this now; I’ll do it later.”
Except that later comes and you STILL put off doing something for your self-care. One of the greatest examples of “I’ll do it later” is my mom. She was a very busy woman with work, church responsibilities and social activities. Mami counted the years to her retirement, often sharing her dreams of traveling to different states and countries. Except that later came and she was gone. She died 19 years ago and that lesson is the biggest one that stayed with me.
Tip: Your time is NOW!!! All of the choices you make for your self-care need to happen now. The best time to take lunch away from your desk is now. The best time to read that uplifting book is now.
All of the choices I’ve made since losing Mami is about focusing on the present moment. What brings me energy now. What makes me happy now. Mami taught me to enjoy the now. Because time is a precious commodity. And tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
Your time is NOW! And what a better time than now to focus on YOUR self-care.
So let’s recap the self-care myths:
- Self-care is an escape. Nope – it is a daily practice to get your energy back.
- Self-care is expensive. Not – it’s an investment of time and/or money in YOU!
- Self-care can wait until later. No way – the time is now!
These myths often stop you from getting the self-care you need. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN have alone time with the support of your family. You deserve it.