Self-care has become the hot topic these days. You can’t walk around the block (literally or virtually) without having someone tell you about how they practice self-care or telling you exactly what you need to do to practice self-care.
My favorite is when I tell someone about something that has just happened and they tell me how I should take care of myself in the aftermath. Now, I know these people are well intentioned, but I also want to say—“Dude, I’m not like you. I don’t find sitting and doing nothing relaxing…like, at all. It makes me anxious.” I kinda’ also want to say “go SHOULD on yourself.”
Personally, I do believe that a self-care practice will definitely help you be a better mom and a better boss and make you more productive over all. So, I too am on the self-care band wagon. I mean, think about it…if you’re feeling good mind, body and soul…won’t you be better all around? Absolutely—you’ll be like a mom boss ninja.
BUT…I feel like some “experts” are leading us down the path of confusion with self-care and I want to put out there some general characteristics of self-care that I believe are helpful to know if you are planning on incorporating it into your life.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the INTENTIONAL act of caring for ourselves—mind, body, and soul. The definition is pretty simple, but the implementation can be extremely difficult…especially with the busy lives we lead. Whatever you decide to do to care for yourself and whenever you decide to do it, make sure that it meets the definition. Are you taking care of one or more of the following: your mind, your body, your soul?
Four Characteristics of True Self-Care
1.Self-Care is Individual
Now, there are a ton of self-care products and people selling programs about self-care right now—as mentioned above it is the trendy topic of the day. But, I want you to make sure that whatever you’re practicing as self-care is YOUR version of self-care NOT someone else’s. Does it make YOU feel better mind, body, or soul? Yes-great! It works for you
If you take the ideas of other people and insist that those ideas are what true self-care is, and those ideas don’t work for you, you can actually cause yourself more stress. Right? If we think that someone’s idea of self-care is THE way and it doesn’t work for us, then we might a) get stressed out (not self-care) or b) feel like a failure (again, not self-care).
Only you know what feels good for you. Follow your instincts on this one.
2.It takes some trial and error
There are a TON of ideas floating around out there about self-care practices and that is great. I love ideas, especially on the off chance I don’t have 15 of my own already. I would encourage you to think of all these ideas from others as a place to start, and then experiment—take the ideas for a spin. Try them on for size. Do they feel good? Do they nurture you? If yes, keep ‘em. If no, toss ‘em and move on. Trial and error.
Once you have a few good stand-bys you don’t have to look for more. BUT, if you get bored or find that what you were doing isn’t working anymore, just go back to the trial and error phase until you find something new that helps you.
3.It Requires that You Are Checking in with Yourself
In the vein of individuality and trial and error, you must be checking in with yourself. Don’t let the words of others get in your head about how you “should” feel. All you need to do is regularly check in with yourself. Is this making you feel better? Is it nurturing you? If not, chuck it out the proverbial window and find something else.
I also suggest that you check in on old self-care practices and make sure they still feel good. Let me give you an example…
I was in the practice of having a glass of wine at night as a way to relax my mind. Not a terrible thing in general. But then, that one glass of wine turned into 2, then 3 and before you know it…I was regularly having 2-4 glasses of wine. Nightly. NOT such great self-care. I had to do a self-check here to determine if this was really serving me. And…it wasn’t. Now, I’m in the process of breaking that habit and replacing it with other practices that are far more nurturing to my body and mind.
Don’t think that because something once worked, it always will. And, don’t think that because it works for your best friend it will work for you. Check in with yourself.
4.It Requires Intention and Regular Practice
I would encourage you to think of self-care not as an isolated event that occurs after a shitty day. It’s definitely good to give extra self-care on especially difficult days but, in general, self-care is best if it is intentionally thought out and incorporated into your life on the regular.
Think of self-care as a vitamin for your mind, body, and soul. It is preventative medicine designed to help you manage hard times easier and recover faster. It is there to give your body more energy, your soul more joy, and your mind more focus on a regular basis so you can thrive.
I like this formula:
energy+joy+focus=massive productivity=massive impact
You have too much important work to do to neglect yourself.
There is a business to run, a family to raise, and massive impacts to make. You cannot afford to ignore what you need to thrive. So, whatever habits of self-care you choose to incorporate do it with intention and regular practice, check in with yourself, test out new ideas, and most of all, make sure that your self-care practice is serving YOU.
Have some ideas for us to test out? Self-care ideas that work for you? Toss ‘em in the comments below!
For more in-depth information about self-care and other tips for mom bosses, stop by the Moms Making an Impact Facebook group. We’d love to see you there!