Practising self-care and taking time out for yourself is something everyone should be doing.
The importance of “Me Time” should never be underestimated. Yet so many women in business fail to take care of themselves first and foremost.
It makes no sense and yet it is such a common practice.
Why is this?
We operate in a busy and demanding world. I understand the outside interferences that can make it tough to carve out time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day. And then what happens is that we often put ourselves last on the list of important things to take care of.
I’ve been there myself and it’s definitely not a good way to operate.
Making yourself a priority is not a luxury. It’s an essential.
So why do we do this?
Feelings of Guilt & Fear
At a subconscious level, you may be experiencing a feeling of guilt. And of fear.
For instance, it’s common for working mothers to be feeling that time at home needs to be spent with their kids, or doing something for the family – things like cooking, baking a batch of cookies etc…you get the picture.
And, dare I say it, a sense of inability to leave “the team” to cope? I mean your family, your staff and colleagues.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone!
But, guess what? They’ll manage. You are not indispensable – no one is.
Yes, we are each unique and valuable, but that is not the same as being indispensable.
The world will go on without you
Yes, it really will.
I learnt this first-hand many years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Before my diagnosis, I would feel guilty of leaving the family. I felt I needed to be there for them all the time.
Time to pursue my own activities would be once they grew up; my daughter was 3 and my son 12 at that time.
I was a mother, a businesswoman and a homemaker. My life was busy and I was needed everywhere – I was the glue holding everything together.
Being diagnosed was a slap in the face and a case of a very rude awakening. The reality that I might not actually live to see my children grow up made me realise…
I was doing them no favours by making myself indispensable to the family.
Plus, I was also cheating myself out of my life. All those things on hold might NEVER happen. A very frightening thought!
Suffice it to say I went through an emotional roller coaster over the course of my treatment. It was no picnic.
But… as I emerged out the other end of the treatment tunnel – a dark and lonely place – I knew that I needed to make time for me. For lots of different reasons.
The world will not end if you step away for a few days.
In fact, being constantly “on” does no one any favours. Not you, not your Board, not your team, not your clients and definitely not your family.
Sure you might be there in body.
But being present means a lot more than just your physical presence.
You need to be there in mind too – to be able to enjoy and concentrate on the moments you are in.
Being on auto-pilot is cheating both yourself and those who you are with.
Taking time for your own self-care is absolutely essential. It’s not always easy, but you know what?
Where there’s a will…there’s a way.
Nurturing yourself makes sense on so many different levels.
After all, if you’re not in tip-top condition – how will you service your clients or look after your family?
Making yourself a priority is fundamental to being happy in your life.
Happiness comes from within
No matter what surrounds you externally, it is how you feel within that makes you happy. It is not about money, other people or possessions.
People, places and things do not make you happy.
Yes, they might be giving you a short boost but it does not last…because it is driven by external factors. If you do not value yourself enough to create “Me Time” and practice self-care, you may appear outwardly happy, but internally it is a different story.
Part of being happy, at least in my experience, is making a date with yourself for “Me Time”.
It comes down to making a conscious effort to devote a part of each and every day to self-care. Time dedicated to you.
Using Your Me Time
How you choose to use that time is very much a personal decision.
It’s got to be a space or activity where you get to still the chattering monkeys in your mind and replenish your energy.
Speaking personally, I have a very busy schedule that includes travel, family to care for and a business to run.
This means I need to use a range of techniques that are quick and easy to practice depending on where I am. It’s not a lot of time, but it is some time each day and that is the key.
My Personal Practices
I usually practice 10 minutes of meditation when I first get up, go walking or paddling. Depending on where I am and what my schedule is like that particular day will determine my daily practice.
I never listen to music, podcasts etc as I walk. I like to be in the moment and absorb what is around me and allow my mind to just be. Nothing to think about.
I journal and write regularly as a way of clearing the brain, and I also take time out to sit outside for lunch whenever I can.
Working across time zones makes routines a challenge so I need to maximise my business days. My small daily self-care activities keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to rest and empty my brain sufficiently to have the space to give more of myself to those I am working with and looking after.
Need help getting started?
So often I hear “It’s alright for you Michelle, but I can’t do that”.
My answer is “YES, you can – if you really want to. ”
It all begins with EMPOWERING YOURSELF! If you need help understanding HOW to do this – reach out to me for some additional tips.
Are taking care of yourself first and foremost? Let me know in the comments.