Why I'm Being More Proactive About Self-Care

What does the word burn-out mean to you guys?  I'm not sure yet what it means to me, because if it has existed in my life, I've previously denied  it.  I tend to continue on with my half-empty cup still trying to conquer the world.  You know how it is, right?  When people ask you how you're doing and you answer, "I'm great," knowing full well you're at 5 miles to empty.  It isn't until times like now when I'm tired, sleep-deprived, and only want to sit alone in my room with my notebook and cup of tea that I realize that I may need some time to myself, for myself.  How many of you often feel this way?

The sad reality of the matter is a large percent of my stress is self-inflicted.  I have the tendencies of a people-pleaser and often have trouble saying "no" to folks.  So those two things lead to my taking on of tasks whether I have time for them or not and often sacrificing my own needs to accomplish them.  And it's no one's fault but my own.  Unfortunately, I'm not quick to admit that in the midst of my frustration with those who I keep saying "yes" to.  In short, I need a refill of me or I'm going to be "tapped out" instead of burned-out.

In an attempt to fill-up, I am attempting to implement more self-care into my lifestyle.  During my first year in the school of social work, my advisor gave her students the task of having weekly self-care check-ins.  At first, this seemed menial and pointless, but before long I grew accustomed to doing something small for myself and sharing the details in class meetings each week.  I realized the activity was much more needed than I originally thought.

Some examples of my weekly self-care check-ins would be things such as:
  • drinking more water
  • exercising daily
  • implementing daily prayer and meditation into my schedule
  • spending an hour alone with no interruptions to look inward
  • visiting the local spa
  • reading a good book
  • trying out a new restaurant in my own company
  • having uninterrupted girl talk with a friend
  • getting a pedicure
  • making something beautiful with my hands
This morning, I stole away to my lonesome and searched for peace.  I wrote and reflected.  Then I wrote and reflected some more.  Then, I examined old journals in hopes of finding some sort of clues about myself that I may have overlooked.  Before my short hour was up, I had an "Aha" moment of sorts and began rebuilding my puzzle, piece by piece.  

How do you practice self-care?  And if you don't practice it as much as you feel you should, how would you like to begin taking better care of yourself?

Ladies and gentlemen, please remember to take care of yourselves.


victory said...

Amen! Thanks for writing this. I learned a long time ago that if I don't take care of me, nobody else will. Always be good to yourself!

in HER shoes said...

i love this post!!! when i was in graduate school, and i was in the counseling field - that's when i really took self-care seriously. i was working full-time, going to school part-time and of course, was in a relationship - there's just too much to juggle on top of pages and pages of readings to do and papers to type.

having my alone time was (still is) a must. i also went to the gym more, ate healthier, etc. to this day, alone time is a part of my self-care routine. i still try to get enough sleep, i drink lots of water, go to the gym, eat healthier (i.e. lots of fruits, less sweets, if i want sweets, it's more of fruit snacks, such as dried food), i like to take long walks with my ipod, i read as much as i can, of course, blogging and tweeting with all of my favorite bloggers is a part of my self-care regimen.

it really is important to do self-care. it feels good and if i take care of myself, then i'm better to care for others, ya know what i mean jelly bean? :) thanks for sharing.

Joey said...

I love everything about this post. I have been trying to implement some practices into my regimen like doing breathing exercises and sitting in silence for 15min/day. Idk its weird but taking the time out to clean and organize my room really helps me. I just lock my door (I have two nieces lol), blast some music, and get to work. I channeled my inner Ty Pennington last week and moved around furniture and all. It was like a mini therapy session and I'm so proud of the outcome. xx

Suma said...

You are so right! Little things like just drinking water I sometimes forget to do! I'm definitely more aware now! Love this post!

New York Girl said...

I must say this post hits home for me because having a 7 month old can sometimes get real hectic. Taking care of a child is a 24 hour job and can be overwhelming at times. I think mothers especially need that alone time to keep their sanity and to stay in tuned with themselves. After having a child i realized how much my alone time really meant before having her. I love my daughter with all that is me but sometimes i just need a "Ahhhhhh" moment. I just need some time to collect my thoughts and let go. Now im working on a schedule for my family as well as myself.This way i can get my... as Whitley would say RELAX,RELATE,RELEASE on lolll.

BK Vixen Gone MD said...

I so need to take better care of myself mentally. There are not enough hours in the day and sometimes the phrase "burnt out" is an understatement. One of the things I am excited about trying is meditating. There are several health benefits to it and overall sometimes you just have to learn to quite your thoughts and just breathe. Good luck in your journey for better self care!

IntoxicatingVixen said...

Loving it, I need to make a list of things for myself....I always get wrapped up in my son, keeping up with my social life, and work, that I never just do something for ME

Mimi said...

Great post. Just today I vowed to start taking better care of myself. Drinking more water and taking better care of my skin is first on my list. I have been doing so much that I haven't taken time for myself. I also think I am going to start journaling to sift through some of my thoughts and create my game plan for the next few months.

Nellie said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I do a lot of the things on the list but most of all I need to improve my prayer life. I find that when I stay closely connected the blinders come off with the quickness.

SOJO said...

Great post and great timing, hun!

I've actually been meaning to implement some self-care tips upon myself as of recently due to me feeling a bit "weathered" both physically and internally. A lot of my fatigue and lost-space of time comes from my new work as an editor. As a result, I have been having issues with browsing the blogosphere for leisure purposes as a result of me having to write both for my site and the site of my employer everyday. This has caused me to, at times, to feel out of touch with my network of bloggers and I am practicing on balancing my time so that I can go back to my social dedication of commenting and reading great posts such as yours and everyone else's more often.

It's funny you mention water because recently I have had a bit of dry skin and hair, which is a result of dehydration and neglecting certain parts of my diet. Fortunately, Kim gave me some tips for how to "disguise" water casually into my daily routine without it appearing to be a "16 oz., 4 times a day" burden. I hope to drink more water along with take vitamins daily.

So basically in short (something about your posts always gets me rambling. Lol..) two things I would like to start practicing soon for self-care reasons are:

1) Time management by way of writing more things down and getting into the habit of cracking open a physical agenda daily... versus just hitting the "snooze" on my Blackberry calender for each reminder that DOES come up.

2) Going back to paying attention to my skin and hair. Which is something I was religious about before and have since slacked on since my career. Bad skin and hair is not something that bothers me for vain reasons. It bothers me because that means internally, my homeostasis is imbalanced and that something is missing from my diet and is now only beginning to show on my exterior. I truly hope to stick to vitamins, water and more rest.

Miss Daja said...

This is so necessary and I am THANKFUL that you did this.

I, too, have a hard time saying NO. I've learned that YES is a commitment and NO is a choice. Sometimes, you can't be there ALL of the time and that is okay. That is LIFE.

Some things that I do for a self check in, spend as much alone time as possible. I have people that visit my house daily and although I love these people, I need peace sometimes (we all do). Time to think, smile and be at peace on my own is important to me.
I drink lots of water, laugh often and write down EVERYTHING. I also read or listen to audio books, walk (daily) and frequent the gym. I would love to start adding other fun things to my self check.

cheapfabmom said...

Oh my goodness yes! Hit it for me one more gin'.. Gurl this is so where I'm at right now. I'm so busy with work, school, motherhood, that I have surely abandoned myself. The one thing I did for me, I have not been doing and that is blogging. I wrote a post about it last night. It's been 2 month since I blogged. Downright despicable. I appreciate your candid nature in this, and I'm sure many of us cab relate. I haven't been reading other blogs, haven't been writing, haven't been doing me. But I'm quick to overly extend myself to help someone else. I need balance and this like you, I need self care. Making a conscious effort to check up on me now. Thanks for this awesome post.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty said...

Your self care check ins are right on point. You've covered the physical, emotional and physical.

I need to take more trips to the spa!

OK I am going to finish up my blogger award post. I know I know. I'm crazy late but better late than never right?

Optimistic Mom said...

Love this post. Self care is soooo important we have to make time for self.