When you think of self-care, what comes to mind? Long baths, spa days, and cocktails with girlfriends are a few of the trendier images that may pop into your head. Self-care is more than just bubble baths though. It is more than just pouring into yourself every now and then. Self-care is when you intentionally make yourself a priority in your life. It is all the ways you nurture, care for, and show up for you.
As a child, I don’t ever remember being asked, how did you take care of yourself today? I definitely don’t remember being taught to put myself first. All the messages I received informed me that I was supposed to nurture, care for, and show up for everyone at the expense of myself. I was conditioned to believe that self-sacrifice was the ultimate form of love.
Many of us sacrifice for others at the expense of ourselves every day. We believe it’s the only way to be good parents, partners, family and friends. That is what I believed for soo many years. I spent all of my teenage and adult life (until recently) sacrificing myself EVERYDAY for the people I love. My needs, wants, desires, and goals were at the bottom of my list of priorities, and that was ok with me. I would build everyone up around me, pour into their dreams, and nourish their souls with ease, but when it came to taking care of myself, I couldn’t do it. Just the thought of taking care of myself and putting my needs first seemed like an act of betrayal. I would give until I had nothing left, and then give some more. I was literally living my life on energetic fumes, and it wasn’t until I ended up in my therapist’s office on the verge of a nervous breakdown that I realized something needed to change.
The sad truth is that many of us pour from an empty cup every day. Because we weren’t taught to take care of ourselves first, we give even when we have nothing left for ourselves. The burn out that results leaves us feeling depleted physically and energetically.
Let me ask you this…if sacrificing yourself for others is the ultimate form of love, why does it leave you feeling depleted? Love isn’t supposed to drain you, and it doesn’t require you to abandon your own needs.
The idea of self-care may seem radical to you. It definitely was to me. However, what I’ve learned is that when you take care of yourself first, you live from a more connected, grounded, and full space. When you nurture, care for, and show up for yourself, you live more in tune with whom you were created to be. Self-care isn’t selfish. When you take care of yourself, you signal to others that your needs matter. When you take care of yourself, you give permission for others to do the same.
So, if you need to take a bubble bath one day and focus on your career the next, do it. Self-care is all the ways you nurture, care for, and show up in your own life-from healing your trauma to making sure you get enough rest every day and everything in between. You are a priority in your life, so please prioritize and normalize your self-care every day.