I’ve written about and talked about on the podcast about the importance of putting your oxygen mask on first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.
Too often, however, we think of “self-care” as “selfish care”. I’ve known that for a long time, but people, especially women often put off taking care of themselves because they prioritize taking care of others, getting work done, making money, etc. These are all important, but again, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t do them.
Yes, in the short term we absolutely can split our time between work, taking our children to music or sports, and a host of other things the world tells us we must do, without making time to get a good nights sleep, eat a healthy meal, get some exercise, and / or meditate. In the long-term, however, and that long-term might not be all that long, this will lead to us being both physically and mentally unwell. Also, it sets a terrible example for our children and others around us.
Recently I was watching a video with television anchor and the author of Ten Percent Happier Dan Harris and his pal, fellow meditator and writer Jeff Warren. They were having a conversation with others about meditation and Dan referred to “self-care” as “smart-care”. I actually rewound the video a bit to make sure I’d caught it right. Yes, he said “smart-care” and then Jeff commented about him saying “smart-care”.
I love that. Taking care of our physical and mental well-being is smart, not selfish. Just last week I wrote about doing my best to bring my “A-game” for my family and those around me. My wife, my daughter (for the most part), and my friends all recognize that I need to engage in the “smart-care” of being active, meditating, sleeping, even writing this blog to stay health, BUT they also recognize that I need to do that “smart-care” to bring my “A-game” for them and others.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. Say it. “Taking care of myself isn’t selfish.” One more time, “Taking care of myself isn’t selfish.” Really, it isn’t. It’s the smartest thing you can do.