019. Three Myths about Self-Care
Myth One. Self-Care consists only of bubble baths in soft pink hues, face masks, and takes all your dollar bills.
Don’t get me wrong…I am all for the bubble baths, a huge advocate for them actually. Although, I am starting to prefer the world of bath salts over bubbles these days, but I digress. Self-care can certainly be an investment, but to limit self-care to only things that cost a lot of money and constitute us going to spas and exotic wellness weekends would be to limit its goodness from a lot of us. I work really hard to get my dollar to go as far as possible and I don’t feel alone in that.
Self-care is not just for the elite my friends, self-care is for you and me, exactly where we are.
I adore the concept of self-care is because it feels both simple and illusive at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer the layers and nuances of ideas, theories, and concepts. Self-care is no different.
A starting point of self-care may very well be to take a long, warm, sudsy soak. Overtime, self-care may turn into meditating while you are taking a bath or saying prayers that speak life, love, and gratitude over yourself as you let the healing waters surround you.
(Check out Deborah Hannekamp of @mamamedicine for some of the loveliest medicine bath recipes if you’re curious to learn more!)
We get to bring our unique stories to self-care.
For a woman who struggles with body shame or body dysmorphia, the act of washing her body with mindfulness, slowness, and kindness would be the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest in terms of self-care.
For a woman who is incredibly accommodating and has trouble letting her voice be heard, saying no to a last minute engagement or to handle a party for the PTA would be equally huge for her self-care practice.
See? Self-care gets to be different and unique. Self-care is about honoring where we are and working with what we bring to the table at any particular moment.
Myth Two. You’re selfish if you practice self-care.
Sadly, I hear this sentiment all too often.
“Isn’t it selfish to care about myself more than others?”
“Self-care is ego driven.”
“I feel really guilty saying no to something when I probably could figure out a way to make it work.”
“I would be letting down a lot of people if I started shifting my priorities to be more me focused.”
If you’ve spent any time with me at all you know that I do not hide my emotions well. My face is the opposite of a poker face. So if I heard you say something like this, my face would probably turn a little to the left. I’d scrunch my forehead and you could easily pick up that I disagree with you.
I’d likely share with you that yes, you will absolutely be letting people down when you tell them no.
You will also let them down when you do not overextend yourself to the point of exhaustion.
You will definitely let them down when you choose not to make time to bake gluten-free, dairy-free brownies for your kid’s class.
You may also let your ego down when you acknowledge your limits instead of ignoring them incessantly.
Here’s what I believe is foundational to the principals of self-care…
If you want to succeed at this being human thing in the long-run, you have to spend time cultivating sustainable practices that keep you grounded, refreshed, and connected to your ethos.
You cannot give what you don’t have.
Your family, your friends, your work places, your churches, your community, your charities, your people need YOU. And for them to be able to get the fullest version of you, it’s imperative you take care of yourself.
So my advice to you would be this: please, please, please say no to cooking the pan of brownies or the last minute get-together if it means you getting an hour of quiet to watch the birds play in the trees. Or if it means to take a walk and breathe in fresh air, to mindfully cook a meal with love, or to give yourself the gift of getting bed an hour earlier without turning on the tv.
I’ve found the people who consistently practice a routine of self-care rarely come up in our minds as “selfish people.” Usually they are the people we respect, admire, and want to be more like.
If saying no does indeed bring up a lot of guilt, consider booking a self-care session to unpack your story around difficulty setting limits. We will explore your narrative and come up with intuitive strategies and sustainable practices for you to begin that work!
Myth Three. Self-Care must be practiced religiously, rigidly, and perfectly.
Don’t we all do so well when the standards of perfection are placed on our shoulders? I really feel as though it helps each of us bring our best, most non-anxiety ridden selves to the table.
I’m so glad that trying to be perfect is not the roadmap we have to follow. Being perfect only produces more stress and hypersensitivity to how we are not being perfect in any given situation.
Self-care is like yoga…they call it a PRACTICE, not a PERFECT.
Thank God for that.
Being perfect doesn’t belong on any of our to-do’s. I’m biased and 100% think self-care does belong on all of our to-do lists.
Does self-care take time? Absolutely.
Can self-care be inconvenient? Definitely.
Is self-care worth it? Positively.
When we practice self-care on a regular basis, we get to grow our intuitive muscle. That means that over time, we will learn to work in flow of our bodies natural rhythms instead of against it. We will get to know when it’s best to schedule alone time, together time, work time, etc. so that we can be most present and show up as our fullest, most authentic selves.
I’m a big fan of starting anything small. We all want to set ourselves up for success so when it comes to self-care, we get to begin with things we know we can succeed at.
Meditation for two minutes.
A walk around the neighborhood.
Packing your lunch the night before.
Actually responding to the text message now instead of thinking about how you need to respond.
Greeting yourself with a smile when you see your reflection in the mirror.
Scheduling a walk with a friend on Saturday afternoon.
Not scheduling anything on Saturday afternoon.
As you grow more and more comfortable with your limits and you experience the benefits of slowing down, you will want to practice self-care more and more.
Spend 15-20 minutes journaling your responses to these questions or anything that came up for you as you read this post.
Which myth about self-care resonated most with you? What about that myth connects with any limiting beliefs you have about yourself?
What is the number one thing that keeps you from engaging in a practice of self-care? What’s the “secondary gain” you receive from avoiding self-care?
(Secondary gain meaning that even though we may not like our actions, there is some type of benefit we receive from them that is just beneath the surface.)
If you had a daughter or even if you do have a daughter, what would she be noticing about your practice of self-care? What would you want her to notice and take with her into her own life’s journey based off of how you practice self-care? Based on that, you my friend, may have some clear action points on where your work is.
What’s something your fifteen year old self needed to hear? Write down those words on an index card and hang them up in your closet where you get dressed every morning. When you are getting dressed, say those words out loud. Keep doing it for at least 7 days. Notice any shifts that were made and congratulate yourself for practicing self-care while you were getting dressed all week long!