It is Sunday. For many of us, Sunday constitutes a day of rest, be it a religious notion or a cultural one. But take a minute, if you will, to consider the idea that we often ascribe ONE day a week for this luxury, and the remainder for work, deadlines, permission slips, carpools, sports, work, the gym, laundry, meal planning, cleaning, food shopping, alarm clocks, work, and work, and work…
Self-care: the connotation here is indulgence, privilege maybe, or even selfishness. This perception is true for mothers and fathers, perhaps, who take care of children and the household, and it falls low, if at all, on our list of priorities. This is also true for full-time providers who come home to the expectation that they will be fully present—but without a full tank of fuel.
If exercise fills your tank, that’s wonderful. It is imperative for mind and body. But so is rest, so is self-reflection, so is letting your brain sit beneath the swirling thoughts, the pressure and expectations, and all the things that need to be done.
Once a day, at least, these all can wait. Take a moment daily, a Sunday moment if you will, to just be with yourself, to let the rest go temporarily. Just like sleep, this time is as important as exercise, nutrition, and even family. We want for the mental well-being of our children, our spouse, our inner circle. We support them, encourage them, say loving things to them. These are also things we need to do, in equal measure, for ourselves. We need to practice self-compassion, self-worthiness, self-nurture, in order to be our best selves for the rest of the world.
We often talk down to ourselves. We call ourselves failures, a disappointment. We say things like, "I'm such an idiot," " I never do anything right," ..."I'm a lost cause."
Ask yourself if you would say these things to a loved one. Would you call your daughter a failure? Would you say to your spouse that he or she is a lost cause? Then don't say it to yourself. Don't betray your own self-worth, your own personal boundaries.
For some, self-care may entail daily affirmations, or it could be reading a book, maybe 10 minutes at a time, taking a bath, a walk. It could be meditation, an extremely underused method of resetting, of residing beneath the onslaught of “to do’s.” Meditation can simply be breathing and quieting the mind. It can be guided meditation, of which the internet is flooded. Insight Timer, for example, is an app that offers a daily mood check in, then suggests guided meditations to correspond with your current state of mind.
Do yourself, and your family, a favor at the start of this new year. Check In with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Do for yourself what you do for your family. We are our own best friend, champion, and caregiver. Even meditation, or self-reflection, takes practice—so start slowly if you’re new to the concept, but make at least a morsel of self-care part of your routine. Fill your tank a bit every day, early if you can, then tackle one “to do” at a time. Ignore the “hurry up, hurry ups” that are likely to come. The Day will still be waiting for you when you are done.