Do you sometimes wish you had a 25-hour day?
Yeah, me too.
Maybe this perception comes with added candles on the birthday cake, but some days, it feels like there's so much to do and seemingly insufficient time. Competing for our attention are valid obligations like caring for loved ones, dealing with demanding clients, or challenging colleagues and choleric bosses. And let's not forget to check our email :-) I mean, isn't that a valid obligation these days? I don't know about you, but an overflowing inbox stresses me out.
Then, we have the optional obligations. Like going to that party your toxic cousin is hosting, doing business with a client who's not ideal. Scrolling the internet streets, engaging with daily social media comments, and trying to catch up with 125 overnight WhatsApp group notifications. Hello, dopamine loop! Getting added to random groups and receiving a barrage of unsolicited messages is one of the reasons I stopped using WhatsApp.
But I digress.
The fact is juggling life's many balls can leave one stressed out and frazzled. Sooner or later, something is bound to give.
According to Wikipedia, self-care "includes attitudes and actions that contribute to the well-being, personal health, and development."
Taking responsibility for one's physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health is an excellent description of self-care.
We are responsible for our well-being, so blame-shifting or a victim mindset won't work here. No one can take wellness actions for you. But your partner, children, loved ones, team, and colleagues will benefit if you give yourself the gift of self-care. Most importantly, you get to reap the professional and personal benefits long-term.
If you and I are going to enjoy the personal and professional success we desire, incorporating some me-time in our packed schedules is not a luxury but a necessity. In our fast-paced, stressful world, putting our needs on the back burner is easy, which can lead to exhaustion and even burnout. I know because I've been there. As a recovering people-pleaser, workaholic, and former hustle-culture practitioner, I come to realize toxic productivity is NOT the way to "success."
Whatever your definition of success, to achieve it, holistic well-being is crucial for this journey called life. You and I know there are many ups and downs, with anticipated and unexpected setbacks that require flexibility and the capacity to bounce back and keep going. Self-care facilitates the grit and mental toughness necessary to enjoy life while sticking with your long-term goals and vision for success.
Self-care is not just about scented candles, facials, and retail therapy. It's also about boundaries with self and others, saying "No Thank you," nutrition, hydrating, and good sleep hygiene. It's about learning to handle toxic people and limiting proximity to folks who make more withdrawals than deposits in your life. Self-care includes processing and releasing painful emotions and memories that, if stuffed down too long, affect our mental health and bodies. Nothing fluffy about that, but this blog post is not about fluffy theories; I'm drawing from personal experience and painful life lessons. And I hope by reading this, you'll glean something that helps you avoid one of the mistakes I made in my early adult years- Ignoring self-care for 40+ years.
I didn't know better.
But as Maya Angelou said, "When we know better, we do better." That's why any day is a good day to look out for your well-being intentionally.
Weekdays can be tricky if you're just starting out with incorporating self-care rituals. For many people, Saturday or Sunday are excellent days to nurture yourself without feeling like you should be doing something more productive. In context, these days should is not a word I particularly like because...
Nurturing ourselves can be fun or thoughtful activities contributing to our holistic well-being. You might be wondering why I add "holistic" to well-being. I mean the wellness of our 3-part being:
Spirit - The invisible part of us having a human experience on earth, and that will live forever after we transition from earth.
Soul - Our mind, will, and emotions. Sometimes, the soul is also called the heart. (Not the physical one that pumps blood)
Body - Our bodies are temples, the visible part of us that we need to interact with this physical world.
Holistic wellness caters to these three parts, but let's get back to simplified self-care. To demonstrate a personal version of holistic well-being, below is an example of what nurturing the spirit, soul, and body would look like for me on an "ideal" Sunday:
I enjoy creative planning and intention-setting on Sundays. It's a fun way to review the concluded week, set goals, and strategize for the upcoming week. Add some journaling and decorating, and it's pure bliss for this planner girl.
Once the planning is done, the weekend usually ends with some Dry Bar Comedy, a documentary, or a German TV series that's been running continuously since 1970.
And there you have it—a few simple examples of how I try to incorporate self-care on an ideal Sunday.
Because there's no one-size-fits-all with self-care, experiment, try a few things, and see what works best for you. There are many ways to nurture ourselves without feeling like we have to add ONE MORE obligation to our already packed schedules. That's why, this being Self Care September, I have upcoming content with practical ideas you can adapt. Be sure to join my email community so you don't miss out on some related resources and special offers I only share with my newsletter readers.
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They do not substitute the reader's need for medical or financial advice from a professional.