Busting the Myth Behind Self-Care

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Doesn’t seem like every time you share about a major life change with friends and family – a new job, getting married, having a baby, or becoming a caregiver for your elderly parent – you are given the same bit of advice: take care of yourself?

This advice is usually accompanied by justification such as:

  • You can’t make others happy if you’re not happy.
  • You can’t pour from an empty cup.
  • Always do what’s best for you so you don’t get burned out.
I used to think I could never practice good self-care as a busy wife, mom, and caregiver. Turns out I was making it too hard! #marriage #caregiving #sandwichgeneration #parenting #selfcare

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And you know what? They were right. It’s hard to pour yourself into taking care of others, whether it’s your elderly parent, your kids, your husband, your home, or all of the above when you don’t take the time to refill your own emotional/mental/physical cup.

Why do we need self-care?

The answer to why need self-care is very simple. We need self-care because it gives us a chance to recharge enough to be decent human beings. We need it so we can continue to trudge through the monotony of everyday. Most importantly, we need self-care because it allows us to flourish and thrive so that we can be our best selves.

Self-care is amazing, when it’s done right. Unfortunately our society as a whole, particularly us women, have bought into a tragic lie about self-care.

Busting the Myth Behind Self-Care

Social media tells us that self-care looks like:

  • Overnight “staycations” at local hotels.
  • Luxury spa packages.
  • Long evenings out with friends.
  • A day of pampering at a salon.
  • Kid-free vacations.

We are taught to believe in order to be fully refilled and rejuvenated, our self-care has to be elaborate, extraordinary, and expensive. We’ve bought into the illusion that self-care has to be complicated.

Along with this myth comes major disappointment and dissatisfaction. How can I as a wife, mom, caregiver, and homemaker possibly find time to indulge in a regular routine of self-care when I can barely manage to get to the bathroom by myself?

It was depressing to believe that I didn’t have the time, energy, or finances to practice self-care.

Simple Self-Care

I tried.

  • I booked a monthly manicure but where I used to love the indulgence, all I could think about was the waste of money and time on something so superficial especially when there were so many other things I could be doing.
  • I tried to schedule weekends away, but something was always coming up.
  • While the idea of an evening out with friends (and without the kids/MIL/hubby) sounded appealing, I really just wanted a hot bath and and uninterrupted half an hour with a good book.

This whole idea of self-care was stressing me out and I resigned myself to the reality that I just wasn’t meant to enjoy self-care the way I was seeing friends/family do it.

I started thinking about other ways I could take care of myself.

  1. I set some health goals and made a plan to reach them
  2. I resumed journaling, creating a gratitude journal, prayer journal, and memory book.
  3. I committed to showering 3 nights a week (moms, you know what I’m talking about)
  4. I started getting up two hours before my family for some quiet time
  5. I bought my favorite sweet treat and hid it where no one knows where it is.

Before I knew it, I was experiencing the same rejuvenation I was hearing about so much on social media but without the hassle.

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    I realized we have to refine our thinking and understand that self-care isn’t as hard as we want it to be. Self-care can be as simple as carving time out of our day to journal, creating positive habits and routines, or just sitting quietly for a few minutes.

    The Lies We Tell Ourselves

    Of course, even when we make it simple, there are these lies that crop up in our minds making self-care seem like a pipe dream.

    1. I don’t need/deserve self-care. Self-care is selfish. Perhaps the most convincing lie we tell ourselves, the idea that self-care is selfish or something we don’t need/deserve is the biggest untruth of them all. Self-care is not selfish. In fact, it is far from it! You as a wife/mom/caregiver are taking care of yourself so you can pour yourself into your family. It is making you into a better, more stable, and much happier person. If anything else, take care of yourself for them!
    2. That’s alright for you, but I don’t have time.

      This is a lie I’ve told myself for a long time. The truth is, I didn’t want to make time to be kind to myself. Try scheduling time for self-care, even if it’s when everyone has gone to bed or you have to get up a little earlier. Make it part of your daily routine. If it still seems like a stretch, commit to spending 5-10 minutes right before you go to bed or when you first get up on something just for you.
    3. I’m living paycheck to paycheck with no money for self-care.

      When you eliminate the idea that self-care has to be complicated and time consuming, you start to realize that it really doesn’t cost that much, if anything at all to recharge.

    4. Self-care is a sin.

      I thought this for a long time. After all, what eternal significance could self-care possibly have? Self-care is really just recharging your emotional/physical/mental “batteries” so you can continue to pour yourself into the lives around you. Jesus even practiced self-care (Mark 1:12-13, Mark 1:35, Mark 6:31-32, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12-13, Luke 11:1-2, Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 14:13, Matthew 17:1-2, , and many others). God calls the body a temple and commands us to take care of it (I Corinthians 6:19-20). And the greatest commandment “…Love your neighbor as yourself…” (Mark 12:31). It doesn’t say pour everything in to those around you while neglecting your own needs.

    It really boils down to this; self-care or taking care of yourself is necessary to your very survival. It shouldn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Find moments in your every day and make them your opportunity to refill. By practicing simple, daily self-care you will be a better version of yourself allowing those around you to benefit as well.

    What are some simple ways you practice self-care? Let me know in the comments bellow.

    Empowering women to THRIVE in their multi-generational homes.

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    I used to think I could never practice good self-care as a busy wife, mom, and caregiver. Turns out I was making it too hard! #marriage #caregiving #sandwichgeneration #parenting #selfcare

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