The crazy season is back. And it’s in full swing. The kids are back to school, our jobs are going full force and the blessed Holidays are just around the corner. October to December is like a thrill ride that just gets faster and faster as we move along the tracks. There is so much fun to be had but we often get to the new year feeling completely drained. And it’s like we have whiplash and motion sickness all at the same time. There may not be much we can do about all the external causes. But there are plenty of things we can do to take care of ourselves as we enter this busy season.
Self care is something we all know we should engage in. But few of us truly understand what it really means or how to do it. When we think of self care we think of long spa days, expensive shopping trips or making more time in our schedule to do nothing but relax (yea right!). With these definitions of self care, I think we’d all be more stressed out. I’m not sure that I would feel relaxed after spending thousands of dollars and seeing my already impossible to-do list pile up for another day.
Maybe you do have the time to indulge in one of the above though. And if so, good for you! However, most of us don’t live anywhere near that reality. What we assume, then, is that we must forgo self care and live an overwhelmed, stressed out life. We hope and pray that one day all the stress and hard work will be worth it. We don’t dare look back, to the left or to the right. We just look straight ahead at what has to be done. We balance a purple shirt day at school for the kids, dinner tonight, our friend who is sick and a big project coming up at work all at once. The margin for error or extra time is paper thin.
What I also know is that most of us are screaming inside for something different. We crave meaning, connection and purpose. Especially now. We (and our kids) have been through hell the last few years and we don’t seem to be out of the woods yet. The major stress and pressure of Covid is behind us. But we now have the continuous worries and stresses of what this recession will look like and how the war might impact us as it goes on. There is always something on both a large and small scale that keeps us just treading water with no time for anything else.
I think what most of us find so difficult now is that we are different people. We have been permanently changed by the pandemic. We feel this pressure and expectation to pick right back up and move on, but our bodies and minds just aren’t letting us. We have a very different outlook on life and all our priorities have shifted. We don’t even really know how or why but we just know that things are different now.
With all this being said, self care often seems like a pipe dream. Self care is something “those people” do. Those who have plenty of income and can hire help wherever and whenever they need it to get some relief.
My challenge today is that self care doesn’t require a lifestyle change. It isn’t about pampering or acting like a princess. Self care is about understanding what your body needs and following through. When our needs and most of our wants are met then we feel inspired and fully alive. When we are inspired and fully alive we are more productive and creative at work. We are present moms who are fun and engaging to be around (aka our kids enjoy us). We are present for our partners and have the energy to invest in keeping the spark alive for the long haul. There are so, so many benefits to understanding our needs and meeting them. You, as a person, become sustainable long term.
Self care isn’t about carving out time to do things for yourself. Self care is about being in a constant state of listening to your body and responding to its needs. It’s about gathering resources to ensure your production and energy levels remain at optimal levels.
As women we are programmed from an early age to ignore our bodies and our needs to meet the needs of others around us. It is present in almost every culture I have ever encountered. We stay in the mindset that setting boundaries and listening to our needs is a bad thing and disappointing to the people in our lives. We get used to disappointing ourselves for the sake of everyone around us. This leads to over worked, stressed out women.
I am sure most of us are doing a fine job as mamas. Our kids have what they need and on a good day they will tell us they know they’re loved. HOWEVER, not many kids I know will say that mom is rested, relaxed, fun and full of energy. When I am with my mom I feel inspired to take risks, love life and listen to my body and what it needs. Isn’t this what we really want for our kids? So often we feel guilty if we need a day off, if we want to do something fun for ourselves “just because”, or set boundaries at work. If we want to inspire the people we love most to take care of themselves, then we have to take care of ourselves.
We take on more because we are conditioned to. Because we are addicted to the “hit” of someone being pleased with what we provide. We are addicted to that moment and seek it with our partners, kids, boss and friends. What I know about addiction is that it never pays off. It always leaves us feeling empty inside and it always demands a bigger hit the next time around. My challenge today is to commit to no longer disappointing yourself so you don’t disappoint someone else.
If you want to get started in self care but have no idea where to start, I’ve created a three-day self care activation challenge. This challenge doesn’t require you to take any days off work, carve out more time to do something, or anything else that would eventually lead to more stress.
This challenge teaches you to think differently about what self care is. It challenges you to incorporate a new mindset while you live the crazy busy life you are already living. You might decide you want to make some major shifts a bit further down the road, and that’s great! However, a great place to start is just thinking differently about what already is. So why not see what kind of relief you can create for yourself there before you commit to a major lifestyle change?
You may find that some of the activations are challenging and need a little more time and effort to process. I’ve got you! Join me on instagram (@janicehollandlpc) as I talk about how to continue to incorporate these ideas into your daily life and what to do with the roadblocks that keep popping up.
You are so courageous and so loved.
Find the self care activation challenge HERE!