Why You Need to Make Self Care a Priority and What’s Holding you Back with Paula Jenkins (Episode 113 & 182)

This week’s episode is all about why you need to make self-care a priority and what’s holding you back from doing that. Because let’s be honest, real life is hard and if you’re like me, it’s a rare occasion to get your hair cut, let alone find the time to take a nap on a weekend.

You know you want to do the things that would make you feel better, more rested, and better focused.
But, the reality is that if you work and have kids and maybe have, oh, other stuff going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and let those things you know you need to do slide.

Make Self Care a Priority

The thing that strikes me as I look at self-care, or, just the simple acts of taking care of myself, is that as a life coach and someone who talks about joy regularly, it would seem that I “should” have self-care figured out. I know slowing down would help my day-to-day life feel easier and possibly playing some online casino games (look here) with my feet soaked into a foot spa in order to destress and relax from a fast-paced day in a fast-paced world.

But, if I’m being really honest, here’s what I see happening instead, and I’m going to bet you can also relate to one of these two things:

Scenario One: Token efforts that leave you feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled because it’s not a way of life
What does this look like? You do something to pamper yourself every once in a while, but still, run yourself ragged and looking forward to the next mani pedi, green smoothie, or spa day.

Scenario Two: Half Assing self-care, and not really making it a priority
What do I mean? You acknowledge that self-care is a priority, but end up de-prioritizing it because you’re constantly in reactive mode. Think: you pencil in time to work out, but never go because you are constantly running from one errand/event/childcare thing to the next. Since you’re not making room or time for self-care, it slides until you can’t ignore the fact that you’re exhausted/overwhelmed/burnt out any longer. And then, you have to fix it immediately because unless you fix it, everything grinds to a halt. One way to try and reduce exhaustion and stress is by using cannabis. A lot of people do this and they seem to find it beneficial. Some even grow their own medicinal marijuana strains by purchasing some seeds online. Perhaps that would be good for self-care. Sometimes, it’s important to just slow down and relax.

Are you with me on this? Do you see yourself in there, somewhere, at least a little? I know I do. I do both of those, to the tune of OMG spa day in January (hellllllo Sonoma Mission Inn Spa), and then full tilt overdrive for 5 months, and a crash of my energy and motivation by June because there was no mindful slow down built-in.

In episode 102 I said something about “savor the slowness,” and my husband, who is on my email list (bless him), texted me 30 minutes after getting that email and said “I want to savor slowness. How do we do that?”

And that’s truly the question, right?
I desire slowness, I desire the ability to take a nap on a weekend and feel a wave of self-induced guilt, I desire the space that means I remember that on Monday mornings I help out in my son’s class. But, why do I fight it?

Make Self Care a Priority

I think it boils down to two things that influence decisions and when and how we eventually decide to take better care of ourselves.

1. “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. But if you are determined to prioritize your own life, you can.” – Greg McKeown
If you don’t set up and defend your own self-care, something or someone else will. Some people call these setting boundaries (which is a topic for another post). If you don’t literally mark off time on your schedule, and take the mindful steps to practice self-care, it will not happen on its own. You have to carve out the time to take care of yourself, or other things will always get in the way.

2. “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” – Liz Gilbert
And this really is part two of Greg McKoewn’s quote as well – There’s a breaking point in there somewhere around feeling frazzled and not addressing self care, and it’s often that breaking point that means you dig in and become determined to make a change. Sadly, it often only happens when we get to a breaking point, either burnt out from pushing too hard for too long, or, to the point where we are frustrated and can’t deal with ourselves anymore.

My own transformation came when I couldn’t find two shoes that match in the closet, ever, let alone plan a shower every morning (which is my preference, over showering in the evening). I finally got tired of my own bullshit the day that my son got a tardy slip because I didn’t plan in enough buffer in the morning. At that point, I couldn’t hide from the truth anymore; my non-prioritizing was impacting our day to day, and I couldn’t brush it aside. And the thing I had to admit was that it was my own issues around getting up earlier that was causing the problem. I had a whole story built up in my head that I couldn’t get up earlier, because then I would have to get to bed earlier, and I wouldn’t have time to work on my posts and podcast.

So what did I do? I got tired of my own bullshit and set my alarm earlier by 30 minutes. That’s the only thing it took, a change of one thing, and now we are on time, I go to bed earlier, and I go through my whole morning routine, including showering. I made being on time (if not early) a priority, and that is what it took. I got tired of my own bullshit around the excuses I’d been making, and made the active decision to change how I approached mornings.

A friend of mine also had their own self-care transformation. Though different from mine, it is still an interesting way of viewing how someone changes through self-care. For this friend they said that they decided to make small changes such as working out regularly, eating organic ingredients, investing in products similar to clarifying shampoo, making a few extra minutes for themselves each day to relax. They said these small things felt as if they made a difference to their mind and their life perspectives, which is fascinating.

And that’s the miraculous thing. That by changing one tiny thing, you can make an impact on your self-care in a very positive way.
What can you change in your day to give yourself more time, more slowness, and more ease?

Resources for this episode:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (on Amazon)
Andrea Owen: Your KickAss Life episode 181 with Heather Chauvin
Liz Gilbert on Transformation