In theory, self care for women sounds simple. If you believe all the women’s magazines, a long bubble bath and a glass or few of wine should cure just about anything and everything. In reality, it is never as simple as that. Self care in itself is not a quick fix. Instead, it is about meeting your needs – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
As women, we have to fill many different roles. Some of us are mothers. Many of us are sisters, wives, employees, friends, bosses, and caregivers. Most of the time, we need to juggle roles, to the point where we need to be everything to everyone. On the average busy day, very few women get the chance to put their own needs first. Instead, we get into the habit of putting everyone else’s needs before our own. When we do put our needs first, we feel guilty. Over time, this causes us to put our own needs even further down the list.
This is why self care for women is so important. Without it, it becomes far too easy to get trapped in the cycle of guilt, exhaustion, stress, and burnout. This, in turn, makes it far harder to continue filling the many roles we play.
A Guide to Self Care for Women
What is self care for women, exactly? As we stated above, it is not bubble baths and wine o’clock. It is not manicures and pedicures (even if pampering plays a part). Essentially, it is learning how to value your own needs as you would the needs of those in your life. It is treating yourself like a loved one and giving yourself the care you need to live your best life. To achieve this, there are a few things you can do to start prioritising your well-being.
Ask for help.
This is easily one of the hardest things for women – particularly those who already balance many roles. Being able to do all the things makes us feel like we are competent. When we struggle in any way, we begin to feel helpless, which triggers more guilt and shame. Rather than expecting to take on everything and overload yourself, learn to ask for help where it is needed. Look at how you can remove stress. What can you outsource that would make life easier? Who can you talk to or call when you are battling? How can you lessen your load a bit when it all feels too much?
Change the channel.
I know how hard it is to change the proverbial channel. When my thoughts get stuck in a negative cycle, I start to feel anxious and stressed. That makes it harder to change my thinking, in turn, making me feel even worse. And so the cycle continues. It took me *years* to change that channel. I won’t lie and say it was easy, either. It took conscious effort to re-programme my mind. Now, when I find myself on a continual negative loop, I first allow myself to feel what I am feeling, and then I move on. If there is nothing practical I can do, I make an effort to look at solutions or I try to put the worries out of my mind.
Learn to say no.
Another huge one for women, learning how to say no is essential. How many times have you said yes to something you don’t really feel like doing? A party, a project, an obligation… even something that could be fun. Here’s the thing – you are not obligated to say yes to everything. You don’t have to give a reason for saying no. Unless you absolutely have to do the thing, start saying no and give yourself permission to turn down things you’re not keen to do.
Invest in your well-being.
Finally, another vital part of self care is investing in your well-being. That could mean many things for many women. For some, it could mean creating daily or weekly rituals for yoga, meditation, journaling or other practices that help to reduce stress. For others, it could mean setting boundaries. It could also mean therapy, medication, fitness, eating right or anything that keeps you happy and healthy. Whatever well-being means to you, make time to invest in yourself.
Start making time and space in your life for YOURSELF and you will soon start to see the benefits of self care for women.