Most of us are pretty good at caring for everyone else but ourselves. It is not even that we are being intentionally negligent – it is simply that we are not taught to see caring for ourselves as a necessity until we burn out or break down. People do not tell you to take care of yourself or model ways to take care of yourself.
Most of us have:
- Terrible boundaries
- Constant FOMO
- Unreasonable expectations of ourselves and others
- Workaholic tendencies
- Needs for external validation
- 0 time
Think back to high school. I know for me, high school was a time of wayyyyyyyyyy too much stress for a 14-year-old. I was a bundle of nerves, as a mentor of mine once said. I was so nervous because I was told that I had to:
- Get up at 5:00AM just to make it to school on time.
- Do extra-curricular activities or I would not get into college.
- Be athletic – Because of number 2, I would stay after school and play softball or be at the bowling lanes for practice, go to the National Honor Society meetings, run for president of clubs, complete extra credit assignments, and many other things.
- Be social – Don’t forget you need to be social or else you will be a loser. So, I spent most Fridays or Saturdays trying to have friends.
- Do a lot of homework because AP classes are your ticket to a good school. I would stay up every night until roughly 2:00-3:00 AM. I would sometimes then wake up at 4:00 AM to finish my homework. I remember those calls from my buddies at 12:00 AM like – did you do AP Lit yet?
- Be pretty. Be skinny. Be perfect – It was not enough that I was trying to not be a loser AND get into a great school AND be the best on the bowling and softball teams, I also had to be in shape to be “attractive.”
Yuck. High School was freakin’ AWFUL for any overachiever out there. Then, I go to college, where I am expected to:
- Maintain a 3.8 GPA or higher or else you will be banished to the shadow realm.
- Party hardy because you needed to somehow both study for tests and cripple your brain cells at the same time.
- Have friends and be in a group or else you would not get into the good housing dorm situations. It was like the Hunger Games during the room selection: if you did not socially kill-off the weakest link, you would be the one out of a room.
- Apply for jobs and make sure you get a job before your senior year of college or you will never live a life of happiness.
- Study abroad because that will make you cultured.
- Join volunteer groups because that will make you get jobs. (See number 4)
- Participate in groups on campus because you also needed to be well-rounded,
- Be pretty and fit, still – DON’T FORGET BEING PRETTY AND FIT! That did not go away.
- Date, socialize, make friends, and be likeable.
- Pay for it all, somehow (AKA get a part-time job to make it work)
- Do homework (see number 1)
Bleck. One could only wonder how a person survives through such unrealistic expectations.
Well, here’s the real kicker. Then, you get thrown out into the corporate world, and you learn that nothing above really helps you. In the corporate world, you are expected to:
- Show up at the same time every day.
- Follow someone else’s schedule.
- Solely do one job, not be well-rounded.
- Work, work, work – your social life can wait.
- Make money – work overtime.
- Sacrifice to make it up the ladder because you have to start from the bottom and build yourself up.
Wow. What a damn life let me tell you that. Suddenly, you are 25 and you realize most of your life has been living in the expectations space.
Where do YOU fit in and what do YOU want?
Dun dun dun dahhhhh: Self-Care. People.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is: Finding some time in your day to give yourself space for what does nothing more than boost you up, benefit you, and meets no one’s expectations but yours. This is for YOU and only YOU.
Commonly, self-care includes:
- Walking/Yoga/Moving your Body
But self-care can include so much more. It just has to serve no other purpose than to better YOU.
Other important guidelines about self-care that you might want to consider:
- This should be done solo. You can include others in your definition of self-care (say that talking to your parents makes you feel amazing); but, most of this should be done in your own space so you can really connect back with you. Part of being self savvy is that you have to be checking back in with yourself (Step 5 – To be written next!). In order to keep being real with yourself, accepting yourself, and optimizing your life, you have to have some time alone. There is no other way to reconnect with you and your desires.
- Try to do it in the morning – Most of us can get easily bogged down if we do not do it ASAP. It is best if you do this first thing in the morning to avoid not doing it at all. You know when you say you will do something, then 12:00 rolls around and you are like damn, I missed my opportunity! The day is ahead of me! I have no more time! (Even though you have like 12 more hours of a day…) Most of us feel like we have not done enough by the 12:00-1:00 range, so it is best to stave this off and do your self-care in the morning. Another option is to do self-care right before bed if you are more of a night person, and you get a burst of energy at night. Think of your life like book-ends – you should start it or end it with YOU not anyone else.
- Make it for 10-minutes OR MORE. You cannot achieve anything without at least 10-minutes.
Why is it Important? Why is this Step 4?
Self-care is SO IMPORTANT because did you legitimately read the above horror? To avoid all of that SHIT that piled up, you need to take care of yourself. I did this terribly for so many years of my life. I did not start any of it until I was 27, and I started it pretty terribly. I just kind of forced myself to do yoga everyday, hoping this would get me into a better mindset. I did not know I had other options I could like more (not that yoga is bad, it just was not for me!) This is your winning ticket into sunshine and rainbows, friends. Well, maybe not that level, but it is certainly way better than living a life filling everyone else’s cup but yours.
- Boosts self-esteem
- Boosts energy
- Creates a time of less overwhelm in your day
- Clears your head
- Reduces the chance of burning out
- Makes you less of a grumpy asshole
This is step 4 because there is no way you are being self savvy if you do not take care of yourself.
How to Start?
Get up right now, and get a post-it or a list. Write out some stuff you think you want to do but never have time to do it. Plan to do it today at some point, I don’t care how busy you are.
There… you started my friends. I cannot sugar coat it anymore. You just have to go make it happen now that you know how critical it is!
P.S. – Check out my other blogs for more tips (especially if you missed steps 1-3 of Being Self Savvy)! Or, sign up for my newsletter if you just want fun little tips each week that help you AND make you laugh. 🙂