“Self care feels like guilt. Do it anyway”.
This is what the sign on the door to my first baby and me yoga class said. It was easy for me to ignore the sign in the moment (after all, it’s easy to not feel ‘mom guilt’ when you’re doing something for yourself and your baby). However, since class this morning I’ve reflected on how often this has been true for myself and for people in the caring professions
As caregivers, we are taught that sometimes caring for others means putting their needs above our own. This often isn’t a conscious choice to completely neglect ourselves so much as a plan to delay what we need until later.
Maybe it sounds like:
“I’ll have lunch after I get Fluffy hospitalized and settled in.”
Only to close Fluffy’s kennel door as the receptionist tells you there’s a walk in emergency in exam room 3 and you know you’ll be needed almost right away.
Telling yourself that you’re going to take that “self-care” bath with a glass of wine that you’ve planned and have been looking forward to for the last week when you get home. Then, as soon as you walk through the door, chaos ensues.
Almost always without fail, we push these things for ourselves off. We have intentions of doing things for ourselves but the reality is that something else more urgent comes up or we commit to something someone asks us to do instead of saying no because we’re worried they’ll get upset. It’s not always as trivial as skipping lunch or a bath. But it’s almost always the result of an inability (often a very real inability) to say no.
Saying no is hard. Self-care is really about setting boundaries and saying no. I challenge you to find places in your life where you can say no to something or someone in order to say yes to something for yourself.
It will feel like guilt.
Do it anyway.