4 Reasons Why You Don’t Prioritize Your Self-care
A rainy Saturday evening inspired me to ask several professional friends, “how do you prioritize your self-care?” Unsurprisingly, they all had varying answers. Coming from diverse backgrounds and professions, self-care looked different for each of them.
Reason 1: There’s an imbalance in your self-appreciation
One of the more interesting conversations born out of the responses came from friend and Master coach Donna S. Hovey:
Donna’s comments could not be more accurate.
The value we place on ourselves correlates directly with self-investment, self-improvement, and self-nurturing.
An early lesson in self-love
When I was younger, my older sister would often quip at me as she primped her hair in the mirror, “if you don’t love yourself nobody else will.”
My 17-year-old sister didn’t realize that while she was loving on herself (through her hair and makeup), she was teaching my 10-year-old self a valuable lesson. I’ve carried that lesson into motherhood.
Thanks to her, my aunt, my mother and my grandmother I grew up with a strong sense of self. I believe it is one of the reasons why I am disciplined with my self-care.
Reason 2: You don’t make/take the time to prioritize your self-care
In my self-care group, I asked over 80 women to tell me their biggest challenge in terms of self-care. 30 percent of them answered either they don’t make the time for their self-care or they’re inconsistent with it.
It’s unfortunate to see more women consistently prioritize work or their family’s needs over themselves.
There is no law that says we have to choose one over the other. I believe we just need to manage our time more intentionally in order to consistently prioritize self-care.
Finding the time for self-care in challenging times
While caring for my son during his leukemia battle I made intentional choices as it pertained to caring for myself.
Through work, I traveled for self-care. And when I couldn’t get away I maintained my sanity with “at home” activities. Activities such as:
- Managing how much I was on my phone
- Exercising regularly
- and taking care of my beauty needs
It is just as important for us to be accountable to ourselves as we are to our business and our loved ones. These do not have to be competing interests.
There are definitely instances when we have to prioritize our numerous responsibilities. For instance, if we have an important school meeting or client presentations, we arrange our schedules to handle these responsibilities in the time frame allotted.
And since nothing lasts forever, once we handle those responsibilities we move on to the next thing. At some point, that next thing should be ourselves.
Because we all need to seek balance. At one point I argued we should focus less on the term “balance” and focus on the term “management” but I rescind my prior stance.
Balance is achievable
It just takes work.
If you have time in your day to do other things, then you have time to do self-care.
Time blocking 15 minutes for a walk, meditation, a power nap, a therapy chat, a journaling session, reading, disengaging from your phone, quietly sipping a cup of tea or simply sitting still will not harm anything.
- Your family won’t be traumatized.
- Clients won’t fire you.
- Your loved one won’t be neglected.
- You won’t be wasting time.
YOU are your responsibility. As such, you have to include your name on the to-do list.
What you value, you prioritize.
Reason 3: You misunderstand self-care’s correlation to the larger picture
For this example, let’s take a look at how car engines work.
In simple language “car engines turn energy locked in liquid fuel into heat and kinetic energy.” Let’s think of that heat and kinetic energy as productivity.
Now think of your body as the car engine.
Consider all the tangible things that go into your body (the liquid fuel) which you convert to energy. They include things like food, vitamins, water.
Now think of the abstract things which fuel your body: sleep, rest, sunlight, movement/exercise, love, touch, positivity, quiet, spiritual elements, etc.
Just as an engine creates heat and kinetic energy from fuel, your body (a different type of engine) turns all of its inputs into energy. If you avoided the tangible and intangible inputs from your life, you would not have the energy you need to exist.
Notably, you utilize some inputs more often than you do other inputs but the point is:
- you need them
- you never stop needing them
- oftentimes you need more of the abstract inputs on a consistent basis to improve or create additional positive kinetic energy (i.e. productivity) to offset extra strains on your system. The basic inputs can’t handle increased (energetic) demands on their own.
Food, water, and vitamins will not make you more productive by themselves.
They must be coupled with rest, sleep, sunlight, movement, meditation, positive thoughts, etc. When you combine these inputs they can help produce the specific (extra) kinetic energy that you’re seeking.
Reason 4: You don’t believe prioritizing self-care will affect you in the long-term
Self-care as a discipline is a string of consistent self-motivated activities which have positive effects on us physically, mentally, spiritually, and/or emotionally.
The string of activities as a whole can have more lasting transformational effects. Some of these effects are immediate and some are latent.
For instance, exercise on its own will not transform your body in one day. However, exercise coupled with proper diet, sleep, vitamins, and water over the course of time, will transform your body.
Consistent and combined self-care activities such as these lay the groundwork for a future physical transformation. It is one of the easier self-care examples for people to grasp. Hence why it is not difficult for them to adopt a habit of physical self-care.
However, when it comes to more abstract activities (for e.g. journaling, meditation, aromatherapy, spiritual reading, etc.) the concept is harder to grasp. Most people can’t see the future gains they can achieve from a consistent combination of these types of activities.
In his article, “What kinds of people take care of themselves?” Dr. Art Markeman points out that it is some people’s unconcern for their future which affects their present-day actions. That disconnect informs how they behave today when it comes to taking care of themselves.
Citing a 2012 study from an issue of Psychology and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that the people who tend to take care of themselves were “concerned about the future consequences of their actions. That concern influences their motivational state.”
Challenging your belief systems
If you don’t believe that consistent, combined self-care will have any positive effects on you in the long run (whether in your life or your business) as it pertains to performance, productivity, energy, outlook, physical, spiritual, mental or emotional well-being, you will continuously struggle to prioritize your self-care.
And ultimately, it is a question of your value system. The question you should be asking yourself is “what do I value?”
If you’d like to learn more about how you can fit self-care in your busy life, join me for a webinar designed to support you with your challenges. Sign up through the link here or through the form below.