Self-Care: Why To Fill Your Cup Before Shit Hits The Fan

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It’s time to stop fooling ourselves that self-care is optional.

We need to take really good care of ourselves during the good times so when the bad shit happens, we have the strength and reserve to handle it.

Notice I didn’t say if bad shit happens. I said when bad shit happens because bad shit happens to all of us.

Our parents die, we lose our job, our business fails, our partner leaves unexpectedly, our kids get sick and end up in the hospital etc. The bad shit list goes on and on and again, it is a matter of time before our bad shit happens and we are called upon to handle it.

Are you ready to handle it when it happens? Or are you currently running on fumes  praying that nothing bad happens?

I get it. I wasn’t always on board with self-care.

When I was a classroom teacher I would routinely work 12-15  hour days, every evening, every weekend. I would only allow myself to rest when I got sick. Then I would start the cycle all over again.

Work, work, work, get sick, rest, repeat.

I believed the constant hustle is what we had to do to get ahead. I believed rest was for the weak and there was something wrong with me if I needed to take care of myself.

What was really happening was I was on my way to burnout. According to Harvard Business Review between 50-85% of workers (depending on industry) surveyed experience some aspect of burnout.  Research has linked burn out to coronary artery disease, hypertension, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety, as well as to increased alcohol and drug use.

Turns out there is a different way to live, a way that can not only make your home life, family life, work life feel better now, but can also help prepare us for the bad shit coming our way.

Self-care is the intentional actions we take in order to strengthen our body, mind and spirit - our whole selves.

Self-care isn’t what most of us think it is. We are sold that the idea of self-care is manicures, massages and weekends away with our friends.

Self-care is the intentional actions we take in order to strengthen our body, mind and spirit - our whole selves.

Self-care is about getting adequate sleep, moving our bodies, quieting our minds, fueling ourselves with high quality food. It is about continually growing and learning. It is about strengthening our relationships with ourselves and others. It is also about being part of something bigger than ourselves and building the future we want to live.

Self-care is universal and individual. We all need it and yet the particulars of what and when is up to each of us.

Self-care is about creating a strong foundation for a life you don’t want or need to escape from. It is a lot like training for a marathon - small actions taken every day with the goal of reaching the finish line without killing yourself along the way.

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What actions can you take today to practice better self-care?

SLEEP: The foundation of self-care.

Are you getting enough? Adults need 7-9 hours each night according to Harvard Medical School. Lack of sleep affects your memory, mood, motivation, judgement and perception of events. Not enough sleep can increase errors at work, decrease productivity and cause accidents. It can even lead to weight gain if you are sleeping less than seven hours a night.

Imagine how much better your life would feel today if you just got more sleep.

Other areas to explore are:

Food/fuel:  What are you feeding yourself? Do the things you eat make your body feel good? Are you eating what your body needs or what is convenient?

Exercise: Are you moving your body regularly? Are you moving your body in a way that feels good to you? Are you listening to your body?

Quiet: How are you resting your mind? Are you taking media breaks? Do you have a meditation practice?

Relationships with others and yourself: Who are your support people? Who do you support? What relationships need some TLC? What does your inner voice say? Are you kind to yourself?

Being a part of something bigger than yourself: What community are you part of?

Taking small self-care steps daily can help you feel better today and better prepare you for when bad shit happens.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tami Hackbarth teaches professional women how to kick ass in their personal + professional lives through 100% Guilt-Free Self-Care.

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