The quote from last week’s Message really stuck with me this past week. I’ve used it numerous times in my coaching, training and in presentations. But more so, I’ve applied it to myself.
In case you don’t remember, it was Katie Reed’s quote, “Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.” It’s a powerful statement that describes me and everyone around me, including you. So if we all know firsthand the truth in the statement, why do we pay so little attention to it? Why do we always find ways to cheat ourselves and the world?
When you are in a lower stressed and less hurried season, you don’t need the disciplines of self-care so much. You have enough bandwidth and recovery time built in to manage yourself reasonably well. And under normal conditions, you can power through your stress with little impact on yourself or your work, knowing that recovery is just around the bend.
But as I’ve written before, these are not normal times with normal time frames. Seasons seem to go on and on, taxing your ability to endure and power through. Without having established your self-care habits in low-stress times, you have nothing to sustain you when you are in lengthened, high-stress seasons.
Yes, self-care is first a habit. It’s kind of like brushing your teeth. Once it becomes a habit under normal circumstances, it easier to brush at night when you are dead tired and just want to crawl into bed. You don’t need the motivation or determination to brush when you are tired. You just do it because it’s what you do. Habit. Personal rule. Routine.
Without established habits and routines, you use your habit of excuses to avoid taking care of yourself. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I’m too busy.
- I have to finish this first.
- I’ll take care of myself later.
- I’m just too tired.
- I’ll power through it.
- Everyone else is ignoring self care, so I should also.
Notice how convincing they are when you haven’t established a habit. They make sense in the moment but take their cumulative toll over time.
The point is that you will ALWAYS have a reason to avoid self-care disciplines. And when you do, the sacrifices are great because after the immediate payoffs evaporate, they leave you in a mess and less of your best.
So make self-care easier by committing to a simple act that you will perform consistently. Plan tomorrow today. Re-prioritize your to-do list. Organize your files. Bring something to full closure. Follow through on your diet and exercise regimen. Take brief moments to clear your head and your heart. Just do something that throws you into the self-care cycle.
Make self-care easier for yourself. You and the world deserve no less.
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