Many women write self-care off as a luxury because they feel as though they don’t have the time for it or they feel that they haven’t accomplished enough to deserve it. In society, we as women are often regarded as less than, inferior to our male counterparts. Though a lot of us work just as hard as men, and in some cases harder, we still deal with this imbalance at work; sometimes it carries over into our personal lives. It’s amazing that we as women fight so hard to prove that we are just as valuable. To those who have significant others and/or children, we work so hard to make sure our families are nurtured. However, when it comes to making sure we ourselves are taken care of, mentally, emotionally, and even physically (sorry to disappoint… this isn’t sex talk) so many of us don’t keep the same energy.
On the contrary, when I think about how men operate, I have yet to see them not take advantage of a responsibility-free opportunity. They don’t hesitate to kick back and do whatever makes them feel good because they “believe” they earned the break, even if they didn’t do much at all. I have yet to hear a guy say, “I can’t kick it with the boys tonight because I need to fold the laundry.”
Now, in case you are a guy and you are reading this, please don’t get offended. I’m not saying that guys aren’t responsible. I am just pointing out the fact that men are more likely to clock out for some much-needed R&R without hesitation whereas we as women spend too much time pointing out all the reasons we shouldn’t.
“Little Lebron needs me…” Girl bye! Little Lebron will be better if you go take a nap from time to time.
We need to intentionally change the mindset we have regarding our identity and worth. We need to set the appropriate tone for how we operate. If we don’t treat ourselves well, how on earth can we expect anyone else to? I have been totally guilty of putting everyone else’s needs before my own, and believe me it came with a hefty price. Allow me to share a redefining moment in my life. I hope that if this resonates with you, you decide to make a change for yourself as well.
Up until here recently, I have been notorious for working in overdrive. I love making stuff happen! Rarely would I ever take a break because I have always been results-driven and wanting to make sure those around me are well taken care of. And guess what? They were, but I wasn’t. I suffered mentally, physically, and emotionally because I didn’t know how to balance my own ambition. Camp burnout is real!
With the burnout came stress, irritability, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and inaccuracy. All of this is a “no-no” for me. I had to acknowledge my own misstep (I worked myself into this vicious cycle) and then I had to do more work (pun intended) to correct it. It sounds simple enough, but when you have created your life around well-cemented behaviors… what’s the saying? “Old habits die hard.” Change can be painful, and it has been painful, but it was and still is necessary. Here are some steps that I took.
I had to think and speak good things about myself.
We all wrestle with negative thought patterns from time to time for a number of reasons. I had to practice telling myself that I am doing an amazing job with what I have. I am extremely valuable and I don’t have to run myself into the ground to prove it to anyone else. Whenever I sign on for the day in any capacity, my intention is to always bring my best to the table and I do! This has always been my standard and I’ve learned to acknowledge that I meet this standard consistently. When I think and speak these truths out loud they overcome anything that would suggest otherwise.
I had to learn how to set better boundaries.
Yes! I am a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, a ministry leader, a daughter, a sister, a friend among other things, but I am not superwoman! I returned my cape because I can no longer be everything to everyone. I recognized the pitfalls that I set for myself by being too available to everyone else. I learned once again how to exercise the power of “no” and “not now”, and it enabled me to say “yes” to the things that were more in alignment with my goals and desires. I had to even learn to say no to myself.
I had to give myself permission to rest.
This one is continually a challenge for me. As I’ve mentioned I am a very active person. Well, to keep me from trying to build Rome in a day, I had to give myself a hard-stop time for all work (this includes home). It could be 7 or 8 in the evening and I’ll be laying across the bed, all fidgety because my mind is reminding me of whatever I didn’t finish earlier in the day. My mind typically says stuff like, “Girl! Now you know you could be doing…” or “Girl!!! You know you have to finish…” But my response has become, If the good Lord wakes me up tomorrow, I still have time, okay!
Though I feel like I am experiencing adrenaline withdrawal, I am respecting this new boundary. I have replaced the extra work with more with my family and time for relaxation, reflection, and solitude. Another big piece to this is learning how to prioritize and plan your day, but I’ll save this discussion for another time.
I learned how to “treat” myself.
As a mother, especially, I used to always guilt myself out of prioritizing self-care because I felt like there had to be something the kids needed that was more important. And I was right, partially. The first thing they need is for their mother to be sane. I had to say, “Brittany it is okay to do something for yourself you know…” I work too hard to not enjoy simple delicacies here and there and the only person stopping me from experiencing it is me.
My family can survive the day if I take a couple hours to myself from time to time. So once I came to terms with my own insanity, I was able to understand that it is acceptable to hang out with the girls on a regular basis. It is also okay to do absolutely nothing for a day. Let that one sink in… I am not Molly the Maid! We are all practically adults here (the kids are teens now), so if you can cook you can clean! I’ve learned to teach them and walk away. I know the kitchen may not be spotless, but I’m certain they will eat without burning the house down. Enjoy yourself, kids, bye! Ok, let’s get back on track.
I was talking about treating myself… It is acceptable to buy something for myself every once in a while. I am so frugal and low maintenance (I think, lol) so I am not going to break the bank in the process of my R&R. It’s called budgeting, pay yourself! Some of my simple pleasures have become walking around Hobby Lobby( I try to wait for a sale which is not hard), eating my favorite Ben and Jerry’s or Haagan Daz ice cream religiously, sitting in peace and quiet in my car, eating from one of my favorite places (I love to eat) getting my hair done on a regular basis, or doing my nails. Most of which I rarely did for years because I was thinking it was being wasteful. Nah, boo! You are the one that is wasting away. I couldn’t keep walking around looking unkept, it is not cute!
But honey, you can’t tell me nothing, now! I won’t commit to the nail shop every two weeks, but at the fraction of the cost, I will buy some press-ons and lashes and look just as good. Judge yourself!
But in all seriousness, if you made it to the end, love, I truly hope you find balance and treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. You are more than a title, you are one of the finest. Go back and find the areas you need to do better in and commit to the change. Take care of yourself…