When my daughter was in grade school, I volunteered as a Junior Achievement Coach to teach the second-grade class the difference between Wants and Needs. We learned that a brand-new video game was a WANT and not a NEED, whereas food, was a NEED and not just a WANT. It seemed pretty straightforward. A good lesson taught to a great group of bright shining stars.
Fast forward nearly twenty years (yes, I am that old), and I find myself reflecting on that lesson. Not so much in the context of choosing between a new video game or food, but more as it relates to the use of my time.
Let me ask you a question, do you spend your day doing what you WANT to do, or what you NEED to do? Do you fill your waking hours taking care of everyone else’s needs without spending time taking care of your own?
As women, we have a curious bias toward making sure everyone else is taken care of, but we are often not great at taking care of ourselves. We have been taught that if we focus too much on ourselves, we are selfish, or self-centered, or self-serving.
We have been taught wrong.
Focusing on ourselves is not selfish or self-centered. It is critical to our overall health. Self-care is an antidote to stress, and it helps us cope better with day-to-day challenges, by boosting our resilience.
Plus, remember that old saying, “if Momma’s happy, everybody’s happy”?! There’s real wisdom in that saying. Taking time to care for ourselves makes us better caregivers, and often brings greater happiness to the whole family. It’s a win/win.
No matter what phase of life you are in, it is important to give yourself time for self-care each day so that you can maintain (or improve) your overall wellness. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be focused on YOU and no one else.
As a former Junior Achievement Coach, teaching the difference between Wants and Needs, I can say with certainty that Self-care is a NEED and not a WANT.
Here’s list of some ideas:
• Put your phone down. Commit to not picking it up for 3-4 hrs every day.
• Get outside and take a walk.
• Spend time with positive people – not Debbie Downers.
• Stop all negative self-talk. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to your Bestie.
• Do something creative – paint, sing, write, or whatever makes you smile.
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