The pressures of "self care"
I am SICK of self care. A therapist who doesn’t like self care you might ask? What is UP with that? Well, let me tell you.
The notion of self care on it’s own is quite wonderful, but recently I’ve been seeing a change in the way people view self care and it's causing all sorts of problems. You see- the parents I work with feel SO MUCH PRESSURE to engage in self care yet they also feel tremendous GUILT when they do. Know what I mean? Self care has become the new mindfulness, or yoga- if you aren’t doing it in a specific way, people don’t think they are doing it right.
We need to RETHINK SELF CARE! Self care is not a one size fits all phenomena. It can’t be. As a parent, you need self care. You need it for your own sanity but also for the good of your kids. If you haven’t heard me say this before, I promise this won’t be the last time- you must take care of yourself in order to take care of anyone else.
Here’s the thing, in order to do this we have to reframe what self care is and how to do it. Self care is anything you do that makes you feel good. Anything that helps you feel energized, relaxed, more centered, or increases positive thinking and self esteem.
As a therapist it's so important that I practice what I preach, so I want to share some of my own self care routines with you. First of all, I don’t do yoga and I rarely meditate. I’m never going for a 10 mile run and I’m just not a book club kinda gal. And that’s okay. I promise. So what do I do for self care? Well, I go for walks a few times a week and blare whatever type of music I feel like. So this might mean some very calming Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee, or I might be rocking out to Mary J Blige and Jay Z. Doesn’t matter- still self care. When I have a night to myself I binge watch some terrible reality tv #guiltypleasure.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time for self care and I bet neither do you. So what do I do then? I take joy when the person at Dunks makes the perfect medium iced coffee with almond milk and I make sure to enjoy every single sip. Or I deep breathe while I'm walking into my office so I’m centered for my first client. It’s not always easy to remember the little things, but they add up and can change the entire direction of a day by taking 30 seconds to be mindful (I can’t help it, I’m a therapist. I love talking about mindfulness even if it drives me crazy) and appreciate the little wins.
So take some time to reflect today. Take pride in what you already do for self care that you might not have even realized and let go of the pressure to do self care a certain way. Take a deep breathe in and release that guilt for taking care of yourself as you breathe out. And repeat. As many times as you need.
Need some tips for self care activities? Click here for my list of Self Care for Every Type of Busy.