Self-care. It’s all over the internet: I see dozens of self-care infographics on my Pinterest feed and I hear it being discussed on afternoon talk shows (which are just on in the background while I’m busy doing other things). I even saw a thread on Twitter just yesterday about the importance of self-care to physicians. Is self-care just another fad that will lose popularity in a few months?
Will you lose interest in your kids or partner in a few months? Will your health be less important in a few months? I’m a mom to two very busy little spitfires. I’m married to a military man and I’m a business owner and teacher. There are lots of people and things that seem to come first. I’ve struggled with the advice that suggests I take care of myself first, so I can better take care of others. I’ve struggled, but I’m getting better at it because after I taught full-time last fall and let everything else come first, I came to appreciate how important prioritizing myself actually is. Also, how important it is to actually do it not just talk about it.
My fitness routine suffered. It was so easy to skip a bootcamp class or stay home from a run because I had marking or chores to do. It became easier to pick up fast food than to cook a healthy, balanced meal. And it became way too easy to tell my kids I was “too tired” or “too busy” to play. Imagine my shame when I heard my 3 year old talking about himself being “too busy” to do such-and-such while playing pretend with his sister. Ouch!
I rededicated myself to my fitness. I started practicing yoga. I plan my day to allow time to run or get to a fitness class. I try to include more veggies and whole foods in our meals. I try to make playtime a priority, for my kids and myself. Today, right now, is a play day at our house. We’re not running errands or rushing around: the order of the day is to play and read and play some more.
Why is self-care important for doctors? teachers? moms? dads? kids? Checked your Facebook feed or Twitter account recently? What’s it full of? Information that wants to drag you down. We are called upon to meet the demands and needs of everyone around us but we need to take care of ourselves. If you feel guilty making time to read a book, quietly by yourself: don’t. Stop feeling guilty! You will be a better spouse, business owner, co-worker, employee when you are happy and healthy. Think of the positive example you are setting for your kids and friends.
Self-care means taking care of yourself. That’s nothing to feel guilty about.