All my life, I have been the “fixer or caretaker”. It was my job from a young age to take care of everyone else in my life, and I thought my needs didn’t matter! Early on, I put on my “superwoman” cape and set out to take care of the world. I could leap tall buildings, was faster than a speeding bullet and did it all with a smile on my face. However, at night, I would “fall into bed”, exhausted, overwhelmed, overworked and angry, because there was no time for me!
When I had my health scare seven years ago, I begin to learn what “self-care” was about and I knew that I really needed to take care of me. I did a good job for a while, and then the old patterns kicked back in, and I “defaulted” back to what I knew best, taking care of others.
As women, we are taught from an early age, that it’s our job to take care of everyone else in our lives first. If we do anything for ourselves, we are “taking time away” from our families, our friends, our spouses, our kids, our jobs, our pets, everything! How selfish is that….NOT at all. This is an “old wives tale” that we must change. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, love who we are and do things that make us happy, we CANNOT take care of others.
These are a few simple things that I have learned, and have worked for me. I wanted to share them with you so that you can join me on this new “self-care” journey:
- ME TIME – Take some quiet time each day just for you. Add it to your calendar, do it before the kids get up, or when they go to bed, but be sure and find the time. This is just for YOU to do anything you want to do. I started with 10 minutes and that was hard at first. Be sure and keep your appointments with YOURSELF everyday!
- SUPPORT – I had missed my girlfriends, and had not taken the time to get together, do something fun, have lunch, or just enjoy their company. Find your support group and do at least one fun activity with them. This is so critical for taking of YOU!!!
- LEARN TO SAY NO – That was one of the hardest ones for me, but I finally learned that “when you say yes to something, you are automatically saying no to something else”. So, think about what is important to you, and start to say no. When something is not a “clear yes”, I am learning to say, “let me get back to you on that”. That gives me time to think about my answer.
There is an old coaching term, and I love it……”put the oxygen mask on YOU”. They don’t say on the airplane, “put the oxygen mask on your children first”. What I realized is that unless I take care of myself first, I cannot be there for anyone else. I am just too depleted to be able to support or help in any way. However, it’s very hard to see that in ourselves. That’s what this is such an important step for all of us to take.
I have traded in my “superwoman cape” for the “oxygen mask”, and I am learning to take care of me, love myself, and truly celebrate who I am. It’s a “work in progress” for me, and I still fall into my “default”, but I am learning. Come and join me!
I would love to hear about you and your journey and support you in any way that I can, so let me know how you are doing, and if you are ready to take your “superwoman or superman cape off”? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.