We’re two weeks into the new year and the idea of radical self-care keeps floating through my mind. In the flurry of New Year’s resolutions and commitment to self-improvement it’s easy for the core purpose to get lost.
Lose some pounds, get the energy back, ingrain healthy eating habits, run a 10K… These are just some of the New Year’s resolutions I’ve seen floating around. The details vary, but at the root of all of these lies one common drive:
It’s a simple concept and yet clearly most – if not all – of us struggle with it. Even (especially?) those of us in the health field. What’s this all about?
Juggling baby and business obligations among all the other to do’s in my life sometimes leaves me feeling a little panicky and overwhelmed. I spend a lot of time wondering how to stay sane, productive, present and healthy. What I have come to is this concept of radical self-care. Not radical because I’m doing anything particularly radical in and of itself. Radical because the idea of truly prioritizing self-care above all of the other commitments seems almost like heresy.
Imagine what life would look like if we all put self-care first… Perhaps for a week or two the spas would be overflowing and your massage therapist would be really busy, but I imagine over time we would all experience a deeper and profounder shift.
Personally, I know that when I’m rested and healthy, I’m at my creative best. The ideas fly, I’m ridiculously efficient, and I approach everything I do passion first. My family benefits because I’m happy and engaged. My business benefits because I’m creative and focused. My health benefits because I’m nourishing myself. Talk about a win-win-win.
And yet, how often do I let self-care slip in favor of meeting some obligation or other. I’ll get up earlier than my body wants just to get caught up on email, or skip that walk because I’ve got too many chores to do at home, or just finish “that one last thing” that takes not the 5 minutes I said it would, but an entire hour or two…
What if I put self-care first in these scenarios? Would my business and family fall apart? Or would I actually be more effective overall?
Now I’m not going to pretend I’ve got this all figured out. Far from it. And my list of goals, aspirations, and commitments for 2013 is long and ambitious. But what I’ve noticed is that if I put this concept of radical self-care into daily practice – if I take that day off, or if I let myself sleep in, or I take a nap even though there are emails piling up and dishes in the sink – the rewards are many fold. If I go to my normal modus operandi of push! push! push! then we all lose.
Here are two new habits I intend to use to ground my self care for the year:
1) Take one full day off every week. No laptop, no email, no facebook, no business conversations. No exceptions.
2) Get outside every day, even in the rain.
Neither of these are particularly radical by any stretch, but if I implement these on a consistent basis in my life, I have a feeling the results will be profound.
What does radical self-care look like for you?
photo credit: John Mayer
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