by Alison Mclean
It’s all the hype right now, the importance of self care. And, for good reason. I heard on a podcast the other day we are becoming a more mature society, moving from survival mode and working for basic needs, to one of seeking growth and evolution. Which brings up the topic of self care, which can be basic needs such as proper rest, and nutrition as well as beyond these basic needs to survive. Filling your cup by investing time,finances and resources into yourself, not only enables you to pursue your visions with more efﬁciency but perhaps more importantly, you can better care for and help others. So self care truly is not selﬁsh.
However, one thing not often pointed out in self care posts or discussions is typically how uncomfortable self cafe often is. Yes, self care can come in the forms of massages and baths which feel good. Those are deﬁnitely needed. What is also needed though, is the uncomfortable form of self care as well.
Here are some examples:
Setting boundaries with yourself and others: This one is super uncomfortable. Saying “no” to someone you care about because a request crosses a line is never easy. But, the minute “no” leaves your mouth it is one way to tell yourself you care about your needs. The more you care about you now, the more you can care for this individual down the road at a more appropriate time. It also gives you the ability to take a step back and notice if saying “yes” all the time is actually not serving that person because it’s inhibiting their own growth and problem solving capabilities.
Carving out time for yourself to do nothing: We are a society that values being busy. Telling others our schedule is packed is normal, and possibly makes us feel important and wanted. In fact if someone were to tell you “I have free time each week to do nothing”, you might view them as lazy, or slacking off, or even a poor parent. However, this time to “do nothing” is so critical. It’s when our batteries recharge, we can sit in stillness and integrate learning and insights. Personally, when I have a day off I make sure to block off time where nothing is in the schedule. Some of the time is spent in quiet meditating or reading a book, and some is spent being goofy with my daughter with no speciﬁc plan. Personally, blocking off this time is super uncomfortable. I value myself more with a packed schedule, so then I “deserve” the rewards. I’m trying to unlearn this because we all deserve good things no matter what our schedule looks like. Plus, I’m always more creative following days of nothingness. It’s like all of a sudden I’m crystal clear about things, and all these ideas seem to materialize out of nothing.
Spend money on yourself: This is one that comes up in the PT clinic often since I don’t take insurance. The initial conversations with some patients is very uncomfortable because they really want to make a change with how they feel. For example, they want freedom to move and live without fear of pain. However they are afraid, or feel they don’t deserve to spend money on themselves. The moms feel the money should go to their kids. The dads feel the time off work to come to sessions takes away from family income. The only people that feel somewhat ok investing in themselves are ones that have worked on or through this issue, or are single. This is not acceptable. As a society we need to start shifting our views and perspectives so it is more acceptable to invest time and money in slowing down and caring for ourselves.
So there you have it. Enjoy your comfortable self-care favorites like baths and massages, but be sure to add in some uncomfortable ones as well!
Alison Mclean, a physical therapist and yoga teacher, is the owner of Ignite Wellness, a clinic where physical therapy and yoga are combined to help active & busy adults get back to their healthy lifestyle, by reducing nagging aches, lowering stress, and boosting energy.
You can learn more at: www.igniteurwellness.com or call (858) 248 2272