My life was over the top busy. I was a single Mom and had a business that demanded lots of my
attention. Between making time for family and work, I had gotten lost. I as in me, myself, and I. What was I doing for me?
Like the slow movement of sand in an hour glass, the things that fed me personally like friends, spiritual reflection, physical exercise, adequate rest and fun, had slowly eked out of my life. I had long given up juggling the conflicting time demands of life and had settled instead for a life of work and family.
Now my daughter had grown up, seemingly overnight, and her life had become more focused on friends and school than being home with Mom. I found myself at home, by myself with time on my hands. It was a whole new world!
Self-care. From the dictionary, Self, a personal interest or advantage. Care, regard coming from desire or esteem. Self-care is then treating yourself with enough esteem to honor your personal interest and needs.
In the last 30 days I have listened to two reports on NPR about sleep deprivation in the US. The first was Arianna Huffington talking about her new book, The Sleep Revolution, in which she discusses her career journey that was so engulfing she collapsed one day from sleep deprivation. The second was about sleep deprivation and its impact on work. According to recent studies, 30% of the work force is seriously sleep deprived; creating an environment that fosters mistakes in judgment.
Listening to these reports, I know I was not alone on my journey to re-discover self-care. Just as lack of sleep has become a chronic condition in the US, lack of self-care, which includes sleep, is even more prevalent.
At Mackey Advisors as we think about prosperity, self-care is essential in the equation. Prosperity is about being successful and thriving. While many associate prosperity with economic well-being, we think of wealth not as the end goal, but rather one of the key tools in your prosperity basket. Part of what that tool helps you do is take care of yourself.
Take a moment to reflect on your life. What have you let drift ever so slowly out of your life that it is now like a faint memory? When you give yourself the gift of a moment to sink into yourself, what is missing? What shows up in your life, like a craving in the way thinking about your favorite desert makes your mouth water? What one new thing do you most need to add to your life to take care of this one precious self, you?
Addressing these questions may take some time. It might not be a simple fix. If you’ve let friends drift out of your life, it is going to take time and energy to win them back and make new ones. If you have let your physical body suffer, you may need to change your diet and your relationship to exercise. If your spiritual life has fallen away, there are many paths to reignite it. What feels like the most satiating? If you have let fun evaporate, it may give you pause to think about what is fun to you. Things lost take time to rebuild. They also take a commitment. Are you fully committed to find the space in your life for you?
As I began my journey to re-engage self-care in my life, there were so many gaps; it was overwhelming to know where to begin. As with all changes, I knew I had to focus on just one thing at a time to achieve my new big goal of self-care. A regular massage seemed self-indulgent. Given my propensity to frugality, it also seemed financially indulgent to me. All in all, this was a great place to start since it pushed my comfort zone in more than one area. I chose a rhythm of every three weeks. Every two weeks seemed too often and every month to long. But every three weeks having a massage gave me a reset on the stress that I had let build up in my body. The results of having a massage on my well-being were undeniable. It felt honoring of myself and my body and in the long run, it gave me more time and energy.
Once my every three week massage became part of the fabric of my life, I rebuilt the other areas that I had let slip away, friends, spiritual reflection, physical exercise, adequate rest and fun. It wasn’t always easy, but as I look at my life now, I am so happy that I made the journey to self-care.
If you have taken the time to read this article, I hope you will take a few more minutes to sink into yourself and reflect on your relationship to self-care. This is your one precious life. Make it a prosperous one.