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Let’s talk about the importance of self care for women.
You certainly want to nurture yourself and take good care of your mental and physical health. But despite that deep desire, there are things that will inevitably come between you and your best intentions.
Many of these are things you may have not have recognized as obstacles in your life previously. They’re so ingrained in your day to day existence that you haven’t labeled them what they really are – saboteurs.
Whether intentional or unintentional, they act as a barrier between you and your goals to get and stay healthy. They also sabotage your goals to lower your stress and achieve the ultimate in personal satisfaction. So it’s time to gain some awareness of the main things capable of sabotaging self care for women.
Once you identify the things that may be sabotaging you in a sneaky manner, you can fight back against them.
#1 Guilt – The Ultimate Saboteur of Self Care for Women
Guilt is a hidden obstacle that lurks deep in your mind and heart. It’s not something outwardly visible to others or even apparent to you on most days. But it’s there. It might be a momentary emotion or something that nags at you 24/7.
When you engage in any form of self care, it might seem like it’s taking away from your responsibilities to other people or tasks. You always feel like you should be doing something else – working, spending time with the kids, cleaning, checking in with your aging parents, etc.
But as a woman, self care is one of those vital aspects of your life (or it should be). It’s something you ought to be doing so that you can handle all the things on your plate without overwhelm and burnout.
If you’re always run down, grumpy, and emotionally fragile, you are not at your best. That serves no one’s best interests – whether that’s a person or a company or client. So you have to remember that in order to be your best self, it means nurturing your body and mind. That mindset shift is essential when it comes to self care for women.
It’s not really your fault that you feel this guilt in the first place. It’s been marketed to you that way. A guilty indulgence or a splurge on yourself is how people perceive spa or relaxation products and services.
There’s a certain amount of shame attached to anyone woman who is concerned about her own needs. They’re sometimes labeled erroneously as narcissists. But being aware of your needs and taking care of them is not the same as being self centered.
It’s the process of fueling up your body and mind so that you’re able to give back to others. Without it, you’re unable to be the best worker, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, or friend.
#2 Relationships – Don’t Let People Get in Between You and Your Self Care Routine?
One of the toughest things you have to do is analyze the people in your life to see who gets between you and your self care. The goal is to learn how to better manage those relationships to your advantage.
Start with the most toxic people in your life who you need to set boundaries with. This is anyone who encroaches on your time with negativity. It’s for anyone who always leaves you feeling worse than you did before they came along.
It could be your parent, a friend, or anyone – but the boundaries can range from limiting the topics discussed with them to your time spent with them. You might make sure you’re only around them or speaking to them for 10 minutes instead of endless hours.
Or, it might be a situation where the boundary needs to be permanent. You may need to cut off some toxic relationships completely in order to take care better care of yourself.
You might have people at work who get in between you and your self care. It might be a boss who is overbearing. Perhaps she micro-manages you or treats you with disrespect. Maybe she forces you to work more hours than you should.
Or, it could be your coworkers who take advantage of you and dump their projects off on you. And what about that co-worker who stands at your desk complaining every chance she gets, dampening your mood.
In these cases, you have to grow a backbone and set boundaries for this behavior. In extreme cases, you may need to look for another job or work environment. But at the very least, come up with some ways to get out of conversations. Try setting your schedule more rigidly and learn how to say no.
How to Handle Personal Relationships That Threaten Your Self Care
Some relationships often aren’t the kind you can or want to eliminate. Like your spouse or children. Those are precious to you, so you might need to deal with those differently. For example, your spouse or kids may not help with the house. Working fulltime and then having to handle everything at home on your own is exhausting.
You need to take time to have that discussion and set up some ground rules. Get clear on how your family can support you in your quest for self care. Most of the time, they’re simply unaware that you need help. Unless you speak up, the problem will remain unsolved and you’ll wear down emotionally and physically.
Friends are another relationship where someone may be draining your energy. Maybe they pop in unannounced or never listen to you, but always want to talk about their problems.
Make sure you look at the friendship carefully. If it’s worth saving, have the discussion about your needs and boundaries. If it’s not worth it, then remove them from your life. Surround yourself with people who truly care about your well being.
#3 Media Influencers – Beware of the Mixed Messaging On Self Care Advice for Women
If you read, watch or listen to media influencers, you’re bound to see lots of conflicting advice. Especially when it comes to self care for women. Take your health, for example.
There are ads and recommendations for nutritionally sound foods. Other ads promote fast food restaurants and encourage you to indulge in some savory, greasy meal that’s four times a normal portion size.
The way both are presented to you, it’s as self care for women. On one hand, they’re recommending you take charge of your health and feed your body what it needs – foods packed with vitamins and minerals.
On the other, the recommendation is all about self soothing – comfort food that gratifies your cravings. But that form of indulgence isn’t good for you. It’s a temporary fulfillment that could do more harm than good.
One day you’ll be watching a commercial about a new burger and how much “you deserve a treat today” and the next there’s an article telling you how fat society has gotten.
It’s hard to navigate these conflicting messages you’re inundated with everyday.
Maximizing Awareness is the Best Anti-dote to Conflicting Messaging
You should never just try to ignore messages like this. Instead, make sure you are aware of what they’re doing so your brain can fight back against it.
When you see that commercial for the one-pound, triple cheeseburger with large fries and a shake, have a conversation with yourself internally about why they’re pushing it.
It’s not about self care for women. It’s not to treat yourself. It is 100% for their bottom line profits, period.
Dig deeper if you need to and think about the repercussions of something you see in the media. Use the if, then approach.
“If I have the one-pound burger, fries and shake, what will it mean to my health?”
Sure, you might have a few minutes of having a craving satisfied. But what about the long-term effects for your body?
You can also be scientific about it. After all, there is nothing wrong with indulging every now and then. The key is to be reasonable about how much of it and how often is sensible. Focus on self care for women from a nutritional standpoint.
#4 Your Habits – Has Your Self Care Been Sabotaged By Bad Habits?
Habits are hard to break – even more so when you’re not trying. That’s what happens with most women. We are so unaware of our habits that we never try to change them. And then wonder why our bodies and minds aren’t optimal.
When it comes to self care for women, we might be sabotaging ourselves because of our habits. Take a good look at all of the habits that might be negatively impacting your self-care. Take sleep, for example. You need a good 8 hours of sleep to function properly.
But are you used to staying up late? Do you take your technology to bed and then find it hard to drift off to sleep? Has it been forever since you invested in some quality sleep products like a good mattress, nice weighted blanket and sheets as well as a pillow?
Have you been in the habit of tossing and turning all night? Maybe you’ve been complaining or feeling irritated for months or years about certain noises that keep you awake? Then it’s time to stop being frugal and invest in a white noise machine that could block it all out!
Maybe you have a habit you think is good – like exercising. But you have a habit of doing it 30 minutes before bedtime. Result? It’s negatively impacting your sleep.
How to Transform Change Bad Habits
Habits are something you have to first become aware of and then work on changing. And it won’t happen overnight. You might change your schedule to eliminate a habit, such as the exercise example, but your comfort with the new schedule might take more time.
You might have bad habits in other areas of your life, like cleaning your plate every time you eat. Or maybe you stop off to complain at a coworker’s desk whenever you get up to take a break. Perhaps you give in every time a friend or loved one wants to dump some sort of responsibility on you.
For about a week, take stock of the habits you have. Record what you do each day, every hour. Keep it in a journal. After one week, look for patterns of abusive behavior that you engage in toward yourself.
Anything that doesn’t contribute to your emotional or physical health needs to end. Work on developing better habits. Habits that sustain you and cater to a better overall life.
Of course, some bad habits will be easy to recognize, like smoking. There’s no one on Earth who will advise you that smoking is good for you. But it’s a hard habit to break, so you’ll need to be committed to the process.
The harder ones to spot will be the everyday behaviors and thought processes you’ve engaged in for months or years – sometimes your entire life!
If you start actively engaging in habit awareness, you’ll start catching yourself making poor decisions and be able to rectify the situation on the spot.
#5 Social Media – The Silent Threat
Social networks are wonderful tools for gaining information. They’re also great for staying in touch with people whether nearby or around the globe. But there are drawbacks when it comes to using social that can negatively impact self care for women.
The first problem is that many women waste too much time in their day flittering around social media platforms. The spend endless hours on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter instead of adhering to an emotional and physical self care routine.
They keep saying they don’t have time to exercise or cook healthy meals or even relax. Yet, if you tallied up all of the minutes they spent scrolling down their feed, they would have hours to take better care of themselves. Many women spend hours looking at social media posts that often make them feel stressed.
Social networks have a heavy slant toward sharing. You’re sharing with others and they’re sharing with you. People used to think the stress of “keeping up with the Jones’s” was the worst part of social media.
But in reality, it might be the messages you’re seeing that have the biggest negative influence on you. For example, let’s say you’re battling your weight and you’d like to engage in stress relief so you don’t overeat and you want to exercise more.
On Facebook, you’re going to see several things that negatively influence you. The first is a steady stream of delicious recipe shares, food images and videos designed to constantly cater to your cravings.
Conflicting & Confusing Information
Secondly, you’ll see news stories shared about everything that’s good for you one day and bad for you the next. This will deliver a constant stream of stress as you try to navigate the confusion of so many diet plans.
You’ll also see memes making fun of fat people or dieters. This might make you feel defeated and ashamed of where you’re at. And you’ll see many of your friends sharing their diet victories, while you’re enduring a setback.
There are many influences on social media that detract from what really matters – your own, personal journey. It’s hard to keep blinders on and stay in your lane as you work on your physical and mental health.
It’s best to limit your time and exposure on social media until you feel you’ve mastered a regimen of self care that supports you fully in life.