Does your self-care strategy consist of an occasional trip to the spa?
That may not be enough and here’s why…
Is this you?
Are you a busy professional woman juggling personal and work commitments and seemingly never having enough hours in the day to complete all that you have to do?
Does your endless “To Do List” sometimes impact your ability to be present in the moment and really appreciate life?
When you’re with friends, family or colleagues, do you sometimes feel resentful that they seem to be able to relax and enjoy themselves while you keep thinking of all the things you really should be doing?
Have you been promising yourself for what seems like forever, that you’ll begin an exercise routine and stick with it and yet somehow it just doesn’t happen?
What exactly is self-care?
It’s simply setting aside time to take care of our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
It requires us to pause and set aside time in our hectic lives to do things that support our overall wellbeing.
The Impact of Ignoring Self-Care
When we fail to make self-care a priority, everyone suffers.
We can end up feeling tired, grumpy, resentful, impatient, stressed – in short, we’re really not showing up in life as our best selves.
Even worse, over time it can lead to burn-out and when that happens, it can take a very long time to recover and have a huge impact on both our personal and professional life.
Five Simple Steps to Self-Care
If you’re ready to make self-care more of a priority, here’s what you can do:
1. Create time in your calendar each week dedicated to self-care
2. Find a physical activity you enjoy and set aside a regular time to do it each week
3. Create a space every day where you’ll do absolutely nothing – you’ll just be present
4. Identify activities that uplift your spirits and add them to your calendar
5. Keep a daily or weekly gratitude journal
Tips to keep you on track
Remember why you’re doing this – remind yourself daily that you’re committed to doing this, so that you can show up each day as your best self for yourself and others.
Find the best time – when you’re most likely to be able to follow through on your commitments without interruption or demands from others. That may mean going to bed a little earlier and adding 15 -30 minutes at the start of your day dedicated to your own self-care. It may mean leaving the house or office and finding a peaceful and uplifting place to take a little time for yourself.
Tell others – let your friends and family know what you’ve committed to doing and ask for their understanding and support. You may be surprised at how supportive they will be – after all, they’ll benefit from a happier and more energized you in their lives.
Start small – even 5 minutes a day dedicated to self-care will reward you with noticeable benefits in your overall sense of well-being and you can gradually increase this over time
Find an accountability buddy – invite someone you trust to be your ‘accountability buddy” and regularly report in to them on how you’re doing. Having someone to hold you accountable can make a huge difference in helping you stay on track and follow through on your commitments.
Get back on track – refuse to let one missed commitment be an excuse to stop altogether. Make adjustments until you find a schedule that works for you.
Invite a friend to join you – if your physical activity of choice lends itself to this – it will help you resist the urge to make excuses for not doing it.
Notice and appreciate the benefits – take time on a weekly basis to take note of the difference practicing self-care is making in your life including how you show up in the lives of others and be grateful.
You are not alone
As a former self-diagnosed “workaholic” I’ve personally experienced the impact of failing to take care of my own emotional and physical well-being. I was “on” at work in my IT career and yet would often collapse and fall asleep in front of the TV after cooking supper in the evening and then find it hard to sleep at night. I didn’t make time for any physical activity and I felt exhausted most of the time.
Everything changed when I started to make swimming a regular part of my life. I now spend 60 minutes in the pool every other day and I feel fitter and more alive now than I did 20 years ago. Of course, it also helps that I transitioned into a new career as a professional life coach and have enjoyed the tremendous sense of fulfillment that comes from doing something I love for a living.
Think you may still need some additional support?
I often work with women in technology and other STEM careers. These women are immersed in a fast-paced and ever-changing world where it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling pressured to put work ahead of everything else in their life.
I offer one-on-one coaching in-person and over the phone to professionals across Canada and around the world who want to integrate more self-care into their lives. Please contact me for a complimentary consultation if you feel this could be exactly the support you need. When we connect, ask me about Gretel’s story and you’ll understand why there’s never been a better time than now to begin to practice self-care.
I’m fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the world and I enjoy conducting small group self-care retreats in Victoria, BC upon demand. If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver Island with some girlfriends and would like to explore inviting me to hold a 2-hour mini self-care retreat or a full-day self-care retreat while you’re here, please reach out to me and let’s find the perfect time to make it happen.
On occasion, I’ll offer self-care workshops and retreats that are open to individuals – I have one scheduled for June 16, 2018 and here’s a link with all the details if you’d like to learn more: http://bit.ly/DesignYourCustomSelf-CarePlanJun16
Love the sound of this and would like to attend on a future date? Send me an e-mail and I’ll keep you posted on future self-care workshops.
Self-care can help us show up in life as our best self every day.
Self-care is NOT selfish – it’s a gift to ourselves and everyone else in our lives.
Commit to making self-care a priority and you can begin to make the rest of your life the BEST of your life.
Sue Maitland PCC
Life & Career Transitions Coach