Is your juggling and lack of focus on yourself damaging your relationship?
Life is demanding. You’re juggling lots of balls! Home, work, kids, family, your relationships, plus all that life admin that seems to soak up so much of your time! You’re running on empty! It often feels overwhelming. You’re tired, drained and completely exhausted! So where on earth do you summon up the energy to invest in each other? Does this sound familiar?
So now consider this question.
‘Do you see practising Self Care as selfish of essential?’
Firstly, let’s look at what does self-care actually mean? I guess it will mean different things to different people, but in a nutshell, it is just about anything we do be take care of ourselves. It is about being kind and treating ourselves as we would treat the people in our lives we care about. It focuses on behaviours that we do deliberately, in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
When we disregard our self-care, we can repeatedly find ourselves heading towards burnout, where we feel exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. We can find we have an inability to say no to others demands, but by doing so, we are actually saying no to our own needs.
I see so much of this in my therapy room in Lytham St Annes, where I work as a couples therapist. When couples come for relationship counselling, they often don’t think about the consequences that neglecting their self-care can have on their relationship.
How can we give to our partner if we don’t give to ourselves first. It’s like the age old saying ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first!’ Why? Because when we do, we make an investment in ourselves and begin cultivating positive behaviours that impact not only on us, but everyone around us. As soon as we start to take time for ourselves in order to meet our own needs, we become more resilient and able to handle life’s stresses much more effectively. We feel revitalised inside and out and feel better about ourselves and less resentful of others. We begin to have a deeper value of who we are and feel calmer and more empowered. Through this, we then find we have more energy to invest not only in ourselves, but also in our relationships.
Imagine that! EVERYONE benefits!
I’m curious, what does YOUR self-care looks like? In the past, I spent years neglecting mine and as a result, I often felt low, drained, and completely overwhelmed, especially when life threw extra obstacles and challenges in my way.
I felt utterly depleted with the stresses of everyday life, but the concept of putting myself first, felt utterly self-indulgent I had so much to take care of in my life, I just didn’t have time for me. Inevitably though, my lack of focus on myself, meant that I often felt stressed, worn-out, irritable, and completely run down. I was just not coping, and felt I was failing as a mum, a wife, in my job and well, in just about everything.
My lack of focus on myself led to stress and burnout and in order to begin recovery from this, I was forced down the route of self-care. I had no other choice!
I learnt that by looking after myself and making time for me, in fact made me a better and more patient parent, a more loving and connected partner and a much more cheerful person for people to be around. I started to move myself up my list of priorities and really consider my own needs. I took time out to invest in the things I enjoyed outside the pressures of everyday life, and as I did, I was able to successfully manage my stress. My relationships with everyone in my life improved!
Therefore, when you look at self-care in this way, it’s actually selfish NOT to look after yourself. Eleanor Brown sums it up beautifully, by saying ‘Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish yourself, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
I would like to conclude by asking you to consider 2 things. Firstly, after reading this, what do you believe now? Is self-care selfish or essential? Secondly, what will you take from this, about your own self-care that will positively impact on you and those around you and give you that energy you need to invest in your relationship!