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Why is self care so hard to remember?

Why do we forget that self-care is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, for our sanity, our well-being, and our health? 

If it’s so important, then why aren’t we all doing everything in our power to relax, chill out, and set aside time no matter what happens? 

Years ago when I was in the midst of parenting my teenage sons, I remember my coach asking me, what do you do for self-care? 

It took me a few seconds to blurt out, "uh, what do you mean exactly"? 

She patiently replied, "you know, how do you take care of yourself? What do you do just for yourself?" 

I was totally blank.

I could not identify one thing. Because I was so busy running a household, working in a mental health clinic as well as starting my own private practice, and trying my best to be a good mom and wife.

It was a lot. 

And in the process...I forgot about me. 

Starting my self-care journey

So I began my journey of focusing on myself after that time. The me I didn't even know anymore.

I started writing morning pages. "The Artist Way" by Julia Cameron seemed like a good start. So I wrote about anything and everything in the mornings. I started learning to be a retreat coach and taking courses that centered on personal growth. 

I was taking care of myself. Finding out who I was after giving so much to everyone else. I was finding me. 

That was so many years ago. I learned the importance of self-care and each time I’d take care of myself, I felt great. I felt creative, free, and vibrant. 

In this process, I allowed myself the freedom to create opportunities and adventures I could only dream of before. I had so many adventures traveling with my work. 

Learning to take better care of myself

But I found myself feeling tired, exhausted, and burned out at times. I knew I should pause and take better care of myself but I'd keep pushing myself nonstop. 

And then I'd realize that I had to practice what I teach... self-care.

Today, I want to think of myself as the Queen of Self Care but the truth is that I forget just like everyone else. 

Even though I practice self-care and know the things to do that make me relax and feel stress-free, I can fall right back into the trap of putting myself last…even now.

Giving too much to other people first

Like many women, I give out so much of myself to others. I sit in front of a computer writing blog posts like this one, overdoing and overthinking.  

I've discovered that instead of taking a break from the computer or all the things that are demanding my attention, I just keep going. 

Because…

I think I have to. 

But I don't. No one has a gun to my head saying...get it done.   

Sometimes I find myself back where I started. 

Burned out. Blank, dull, snappy, and grouchy. 

All because I haven't scheduled my self-care or I've put everything and everyone else first. 

Things that I've learned about self-care

When your to-do list takes over, life happens, someone needs something and you realize that you're back in burnout land, STOP.

Listen to your body, your anger, and your lack of patience. It's saying, take a break and reset. 

There are a number of reasons why we forget about self-care 

1. It’s a sh*t show out there. The world is a mess. We're all spinning, trying to keep up. Our brains are worn down by the bombardment of living in the Age of Worry. 

And no matter how much you try, unless you live in a cave with no contact with the news, computers, or social media, your brain is picking up on all the stories and it's worried. Our brains are overloaded with negativity. 

2. We think we don't have time. 

3. We put everyone else's needs above our own. 

4. We think self-care has to take a lot of time

We must take care of ourselves

Because if we don't we won't make it in this world. 

This is a common issue for all women I know. Until we get on a deep level just how important daily self-care is, we won't remember. No one is going to tell us to stop or that we're doing too much. We have to be in charge of ourselves. We have to give ourselves grace. We do a lot for our families, work, and friends. Why do we consider that we can't put ourselves first? 

Because, when our cup is empty, we're empty and we can't spill it out onto anyone else. 

You need to take care of yourself all the time. 

Watching the sunset on a recent camping trip with my husband. 

Instead of beating yourself up about not using self-care, consider these tips:  

1. Begin the day with a morning ritual. It's a great way to put yourself first. Go here to read my blog post about morning rituals

2. Step away from the to-do list. Even if it's for 10 minutes, find a way to take a walk, a nap, read a book, or watch the sunset. 

3. Listen to a podcast while you're doing dishes or cooking. Watch a movie after the kids go to bed. Have your favorite dessert with a cup of tea, when everyone is in bed.  

4, Practice gratitude. List 5 things on paper or in your head that you're grateful for. 

5. Get your journal and make a list of all the things that make you happy. 

6. Schedule your self-care just like any other appointment. 

7. Say no to the things that don't nourish you and make you feel alive. 

It doesn't matter what you do, make it pleasurable and easy. Find 10 minutes in your day of something that brings you joy and do that. Self-care will save you. It will help you get through the worst moments in life and it will help you be able to show up as the best version of yourself. 

Over to You:

Decide what you will do the night before to take care of yourself the next day. Put it on your calendar. And then do that thing. 

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.