Me First

"Self-care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel." - Eleanor Brown

I recently had a private training session with a client and friend and she mentioned that, at this point in her life, she spent more on herself than she ever has. And she was completely unapologetic about it. I absolutely loved it!  

It also made me really stop and think.  As a woman/human/businesswoman/what-have-you, I find that it's socially expected that we are constantly on some sort of "grind." "The Grind," should it be defined in Webster's dictionary, is utterly an American construct. The "American" way of life has always been 100% go, go, go. That somehow, if we just work longer, harder, faster and spend less time doing the things that we enjoy, we will somehow be fulfilled in our lives. The more hours you work, the more money you will have. The more money you have, the more happiness you will feel. Happy people don't kill their husbands!  They just don't! Hmm... 

I knew this was the making of a really great blog. All of these thoughts were mulling in my head, and I couldn't believe how many times it came up in conversation this week alone! Success!   

I heavily believe in the Myer's-Briggs personality test. I think that everyone should take it at least once in their life and (for heaven's sake!) answer it honestly!  You'll learn a lot about yourself -- I promise!! 

I'm an INFJ - one of those rare personality types that lives for (and loves!) "the grind." As such, I am heavily subject to the counterpart of the grind -- the burnout.  I love a cause; I love a mission; I am heavily passionate for what I do in life. So much so, that I don't see my car careening Thelma & Louise style towards a cliff. Free-falling baby!! 

If anything, I'm the poster child for why self-care is so important.  And why I loved the idea of being so unapologetically spendy on one's self.  Here's the thing.  We don't utilize self-care. In fact, if I said, "I'm going to go spend an entire day at a spa for myself," how many of you would say that that is selfish? That there are better uses of money? If you fall in that category - what would you rather spend your money on? If the answer is bills, this is exactly the blog for you! 

Now, before I get too carried away, I do understand that everyone is in a different position in their life.  It's easy for me to say, "YES! TREAT YO' SELF!" because my business is doing well, I live modestly by myself, with no kids, no husband, and only an oppressive amount of student loan debt that I like to think I'll pay off one day.  Should my situation be different, I might view money differently. However, the true identity of self-care isn't money driven.  In fact, it's exactly the opposite! It shouldn't be about money! 

Here's the kicker:

Self-care is directly correlated to the amount of happiness derived from an action. 

Everyone has a different idea of what makes them happy.  I have a close friend who is a big foodie (you know who you are!), who would trade most things in the world for a fabulous meal. I'd ruin a fabulous chef-prepared meal by dumping a ton of salt on it. To me, running 10 miles on a Saturday morning, surrounded by hundreds of my Rogue Running peeps is spiritual, cleansing, and cathartic.  To others, I'm insanely crazy and those hours could better be spent sleeping in. But that's exactly my point - what makes YOU happy? Whether you have the spending money to pamper yourself weekly at a spa or you go on a completely free Greenbelt hike, what heals your soul? 

When was the last time you gave yourself a compliment? 

This is a good one.  This came up in a discussion this week.  How is it that you can give your friend a compliment, but you can't give yourself one? How can we look so negatively on ourselves, yet shower others with lavish commendations? The idea of a daily affirmation is self-care.  When is the last time you looked at picture of yourself and said, "I like this one." I bet it's been awhile... 

"I like this one."

"I like this one."

How much better would we feel if we sat down at the end of the day and said one good thing about ourselves? What is one thing that you like about yourself? What is one thing that you are proud of yourself for accomplishing that day? You are enough. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after me:  I am enough. I am doing a damn good job.  

Money doesn't create experiences. Money pays for them.

Have you ever just wanted to quit your job and leave it all behind? I would say that 90% (and that includes myself) could never be in the financial or social position to just leave it all behind. But what if you could? Would you go? If someone gave you the opportunity to explore the world, experience new things, and finally find yourself, would you leave? Or would you be too afraid to take that chance? Sometimes, self-care comes in the form of self-enlightenment.

I think that too many of us find ourselves in dead-end jobs, or at least jobs that no longer spark our creativity. But why do we work? I know that we surely don't work for the enjoyment of it.  "They" say that if you enjoy what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.  Most of us aren't that lucky and, even if you do enjoy your work, do you not sometimes need a break to escape the mundane? So if happiness isn't derived from working, but money is, how can I best use that money for happiness? What can I see? Where can I go? How can I make my heart full? Go on that trip.  Disappear. Experience. Live. 

Money can't replace memories. 

No matter how much I work, or how much money I have, nothing will make up for the memories that I miss. Keep that in mind when you're thinking about your own self-care.  Does your life start and end around the hours of your work day? When you look back on the week, can you think of a single time that you felt fulfilled? Was it spending an hour each evening playing with your children, seeing their smile? Did you spend a quiet evening catching up on a good book? Spending it laughing with friends? Playing with your dog? How about taking a step outside to breathe in fresh air? 

Be present. Be selfish. 

Allow yourself to enjoy the moment.  Do one thing a day for yourself. Allow yourself to experience the day; breathe in the air. Buy the coffee. Go on that trip.  Sell all your things. Get a massage. Eat a good meal. Go to a yoga class. Take a long bath. Eat a donut. Smile. Take a picture.  Don't take a picture. Be. Present. 

Whatever that means to you. Be mindful.  Allow yourself to be selfish. Because, truly, self-care isn't selfish. It's what nourishes the soul. And we all need more of that. 

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