Today I’m taking the opportunity to write about one of my all-time greatest fails in self-care: waiting until it’s convenient to take care of myself! So, why is it so hard to make time for self-care, vacations, or other activities that help recharge our batteries? For me, I think it has a lot to do with my high need for external validation(i.e., I need regular reinforcement from others that I am liked, valued, and successful). In other words, being successful and meeting milestones is really important to me because it is a primary way for me to measure my self-worth. Spoiler alert: this is not a healthy way to think about your self-worth!!
What happens is that I’m reasonably good at self-care until I get busy (I am always busy). When I’m busy, work is automatically the first priority and things like exercising, socializing, and even taking a break get pushed to the back burner where they are only attended to if convenient. The problem with this approach is that once it’s convenient, I’m too burned out and exhausted to do anything because I’ve overworked myself. I’m realizing that the worst thing I can do is continue in this very busy and stressful time without making space to attend to my own needs. I love what I do and I really do want to be good at it, but I won’t be good at it if I’m burned out. I won’t be a good colleague, friend, family member, or partner if I’m burned out either. And when I think about it from this perspective, it’s easy to see why self-care needs to be higher on my priority list. This week, I want to encourage you to think about what factors (internal and external) get in the way of your self-care. What’s your plan for addressing these?