I’m a huge, HUGE fan of self-care. I think it’s easily the best way to boost your immune system, lower your stress levels, up your energy, and generally, help you feel amazing. Self-care allows you to take your health into your own hands, and to feel empowered about the choices you make for yourself.
So why do so many women skip it?
Unfortunately, society shames women for taking care of themselves, even for a moment.
We’re taught to be caretakers from the time we’re born: baby dolls, playing house, etc. Then eventually, we’re pressured to get married and have kids. Obviously, women are now free to make their own choices, but in a way, we’re still shamed if we don’t follow this path.
And if we do, we damn well better not take any time for ourselves. Otherwise we’re “bad mothers” or “selfish” or “vain.”
Even when women don’t have kids, they’re subconsciously conditioned to care for the people around them. Think parents, partners, friends, co-workers, pets, etc. And don’t get me wrong, there is 100% NOTHING wrong with being a caretaker. I myself am actively in that roll as well, and there isn’t a damn thing shameful about that.
What sucks is, the part where we’re not allowed to take care of ourselves first.
Think about it. How many times has the media called a celebrity mom “vain” for putting any attention on her looks? If she has a full face of makeup on, or goes to get her nails done she’s seen as a bad parent. But, if she goes out with a natural face, messy hair etc, she’s also demonized and called “ugly,” or the tabloids say she’s “let herself go.” Our bodies are policed constantly, in every way.
Ladies, the way things stand now, we can’t win. So what do we do?
Say it with me.
It can be super hard to do this, I know. When we start incorporating self-care into our lives the people around us may fall into that trap that society has created. They may think that we should feel guilty for taking a break. Or that we should be using money and time spent on a massage on our kids, or our work, or our homes.
Say it again.
Now, obviously things need to be taken care of. I’m of course not saying that you should be negligent in anyway. But I just want to challenge you to try to remember the last time you did something just for you. Just for your own well-being. Can you even remember it? And if you do, did you end up feeling guilty the whole damn time anyway?
One thing I work on with my clients is finding ways to incorporate self-care into their lives daily. If this feels too overwhelming, try for once a week to start, and work your way up.
Here’s a list of my top go-to self-care practices:
- Take an Epsom Salt Bath
- Take ½ cup Epsom salt, ½ baking soda, and a few drops of your fav essential oil, mix it all in the tub, and relax. No bath tub? This is also great as a foot soak.
- Book a massage/mani/pedi etc
- Read an uplifting book. I love Cheryl Richardson’s “The Art of Extreme Self Care”
- Try out Community Acupuncture
- In a community clinic, acupuncture is administered in a group setting, which allows the cost to come down significantly. Google community acupuncture or head to pocacoop.com to find a clinic near you
- Check out Hay House Radio for some awesome and relaxing content by some of my fav authors
- Feed yourself nutritious, wholesome foods and drink tons of water.
- And possibly most importantly, allowing yourself to say “No” to commitments, appointments, and other shit you don’t really want to do.
Cait Byrnes is a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach who works with women dealing with exhaustion, fatigue, and burn-out to help them feel vibrant and excited about life through nutritional education, emotional support and radical acts of self-care. Cait believes that women’s health is a feminist issue, because society teaches women in particular that they need to care for everyone else before themselves. To learn more and download your free Food and Mood Journal, head to www.caitbyrnes.com/freebies