"Love yourself first and everything else will fall in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." - Lucille Ball
It would appear lately the universe has been sending me a steady message about the importance of self-care. The messages are subtle, but they are certainly not wasted on me. This time of year, I look toward the inevitability of aging another year and what that means for me going forward. I will be 45 on August 11th and for the first time in many years, I was not dreading the wrinkles, laugh lines in the mirror or prospect of having to change the way I dress to what is matronly or age appropriate. Whatever that means. But, just may be I feel this way, because I had not allowed myself time to really look inside. It wasn't until my stylist referred to me as an "older woman" that it really started to sink in. Once he said this, it brought me right back to my singular role of wife and mother. Feeling like a beautiful woman was something I was no longer allowed to indulge in, I have a role to play that does not allow for such luxuries. Right?
My husband consistently reminds me that while we are saving for future endeavors we need to budget our wants and needs to avoid becoming tapped out. The things I find a womanly necessity are of no consequence to him as a man. His haircuts are inexpensive, because he does not have a need for color or the latest trend. He does not wear makeup so $40 for lipstick is unfathomable. He does not get his nails done, so $100 every time I go to the nail salon is unnecessary. Lets not even start on my wardrobe. He is right, we do save a fair amount of cash this way, but my femininity takes a blow. My responsibility as homemaker can feel like a game of "whammy" at times.
In June, I made the decision to join a studio in Cottonwood Heights to offer clients a better service experience. In all transparency, until then I was taking clients part-time while working a full-time position that allows me to telecommute. Creating balance has not been easy for me, but I am getting it done. I love my clients and I do everything I can to give the best service.
In addition to running a business and working a second position, I am a wife, a mother of two; one is a junior in high school and the other is a sophomore in college. I can truly say keeping up with their needs and my responsibilities as a wife can be a challenge. So much so that I began to let my own needs take a backseat to whatever is needed elsewhere in my life.
I had not meditated or had a haircut in a year, I had not had my nails done in six months and I recently put off going to the physical therapist for a Grade 2 tear in my calf, because the time was not available in my calendar. I simply was not doing the things I needed to do to care for myself the way I use too. My stress level was hitting critical levels. I knew I needed to make some efforts to change it and soon; however, I had trained myself to smile and keep going.
I began feeling like I had unrealistic expectations by my friends, co-workers, family and even some clients. I felt like if I didn’t jump when someone called on my I was not being the best version of myself. The fact is I needed to start participating in some self-care. I needed to take some time out for myself daily to decompress from all that is going on around me.
So, I have. I bought a book to read that is not business related, I started watching mushy stories about romance on Hallmark Channel, because I love them so much. I started cutting myself some slack if dinner was not on the table by 6:05 pm, which is literally a expectation I have for myself. I started to break my calendar up into sections so I don’t get overwhelmed and I allowed myself to take a few minutes to sit quietly and just breathe.
I started to wonder if other women are going through the same thing and posted a question about it on my Facebook page. I found women do not practice as much self-care as they need too. While we all have things we want to do when we are stressed beyond our limit, many women are ready to sacrifice their self-care for the needs of those they love. I received comments like getting out into nature, breathing, eating a bowl of ice cream, and not caring about the calories. One gal stated, “take yourself on a date to a movie and don’t talk down to yourself.” It’s like the safety instructions on the airplane we have all heard at least once. “…Put the oxygen mask over yourself first, before you turn to help someone else.” You do not do anyone else any good, if you are not taking care of yourself.
The real importance of self-care is so you pay attention to what is going on with you mentally, emotionally, and physically. While many will reap the benefits of women putting someone else first, it could quite literally be our downfall. Heart Disease and Breast Cancer are two of the biggest risks to women medically. Lack of self-care impacts them both and could cost lives.
It’s important as women, wives, and mothers to remember we have a life of our own to live and not to forget to do things we enjoy for ourselves just as much as we do for others. Altruism is a kind gesture, but not at the cost of our own well-being.
With Love Ladies,