Let’s face it, I think most of us can relate to this concern. There is an inherent irony in this situation that is revealed in the following question: ‘who grants you permission to practice self care?’ The answer is that only you can give yourself permission to do more of what you love – whatever replenishes, relaxes and rejuvenates you.
So why do so many people find it difficult to give themselves permission to look after themselves? The answer is because guilt gets in the way. The Protestant work ethic has a lot to answer for in my opinion… yes it may have encouraged hard work, but it also encourages a belief that if we do something just for ourselves it is lazy – and even selfish! So the fear of being lazy or selfish becomes greater than the need to take care of ourselves in a way that only we can. When we do take self-care action, guilt may closely follow, which negates the benefits of the self-care in the first place! This can become a vicious cycle.
So what can we do? One of the most effective ways to make self-care a regular part of your life is to reframe it. Start seeing self-care as essential to your health and wellbeing, rather than an indulgence. It is an absolute fact that stress causes many illnesses and diseases, so taking action to minimise and manage your stress only makes good sense.
Start thinking about the role model you want to be for your family, your partner, your children, your friends. You are far more likely to positively influence your loved ones by practicing self-care than you are by telling them to do as much when you don’t yourself.
Lastly, choose to see life as being about experiencing frequent moments of joy, bliss and connection. Make this something you want to achieve for yourself and those around you. By setting this intention, it will become easier to implement self-care in your own life.
‘Enjoy life – there are no reruns.’ ~ Shirl Lowry