What is self care, anyway?
There's no denying it - "self care" is trending.
From TED talks to articles in Forbes, The Atlantic, and NPR, to more than half of millennial women making self care their 2018 New Year's resolution, self care is everywhere.
But has it lost its meaning amidst the hype?
What does "self care" even mean?
I talk a lot ABOUT self care, but I haven't done the best job defining it. That changes today! Here are three definitions I find useful and hope you will, too.
Self care is. . . stewardship of your whole self.
Stewardship is "the careful management of something entrusted to one's care". Self care is the careful management of your whole self - the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual parts of you.
(Hat tip to Emily Allen from the Kindred Mom podcast for this excellent perspective.)
Self care is. . . things that require effort that are good for you.
I like this definition because it reminds me that self care can be as basic as that. The popular view of self care is pampering - rosé and pedicures - but often it's doing things that take a degree of effort to do, yet benefit us in the long run.
Self care is. . . building internal resources to face whatever life throws at you.
One of my clients told me, "I want the reserves to respond when hard things happen with my kids." We all know the feeling of racing through the day without extra bandwidth for our kids' meltdowns, sibling fights, or screaming.
Parenting is hard. Self care gives you the energy to do the important work you have been entrusted with.
When your internal resources are built up - through rest, moving your body, being connected to people who love you, and more, you have more to give the people who need you most. You are patient, not irritable. You are present instead of escaping on your smartphone. You can take a deep breath and face hard things.
And why does it matter?
I recently stumbled upon a definition of burnout I'd never considered before:
Burnout is not about giving too much of yourself, it’s about trying to give what you do not possess.
What do you want to give your kids? Your partner? Your community? What do you want to contribute to your field of work?
You can't give what you don't have.
Self care, at its best, gives you the energy for what matters most.
It reconnects you to your truest self, to your gifts, to what makes you uniquely able to make your contribution to the world. Self care helps you to give your best to the people who matter most to you.
Which definition of self care resonates most with you?
What is ONE step that you can take in the next week to experience the benefits of that kind of self care?
For accountability and encouragement, comment below with your step! I read each and every comment, and the simple act of writing out your commitment makes it 40% more likely that you'll follow through.
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