A few weeks ago, I asked women in the Live Like HER community to email me their questions about self-care.
I didn’t expect such a great response, but I’m so glad many of you chimed in. The questions asked will be used to bless my blog readers with self-care guidance. I believe that if one woman has a question, it’s likely that other women have a similar question that needs an answer. I asked 20 women to weigh in to make sure that I’m talking about what they need to know and want to read, versus what I want to share.
Here are a few of the questions asked and my response.
Question | How do you prioritize self-care when you are busy? I work, I’m a wife and mother. I barely have time for my basic needs. Self-care doesn’t seem realistic right now.” Karla, Marketing Strategist
Answer | Thank you for asking this question! You are not alone. Many professional women find it difficult to prioritize their self-care due to daily demands on their time. My biggest recommendation for this challenge is to do three things. First, determine the current self-care needs that you have by identifying your sources of stress. Next, determine what self-care practices would best mitigate the effects of the stress that you are experiencing. And third, establish a way to build that self-care routine into what you are already doing.
For example, if work is a source of stress, bring self-care tools and strategies to work with you. Incorporate relaxing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations into your workspace. The sights can be pictures or a screen saver. The sounds can be music or a white noise machine. The smells can be an essential oil diffuser or candle warmer. The taste can be healthy snacks, gum, or hard candy. The sensations can be a comfortable chair to sit in or your favorite lotion to rub on your hands. The biggest takeaway here is to incorporate self-care into your daily routines and tasks. We can go in many directions with this question, but I hope this information is a good start.
Question | How do you talk to leadership about encouraging and taking action on a culture of self-care instead of just lip service? I don’t want to seem lazy or like a complainer, but lack of self-care is taking a toll. R.T., SSgt, USAF
Answer | This is a tough issue to address, but necessary if a change is ever going to happen. I would recommend handling this topic strategically and with your end goal in mind. If you want your leadership to be receptive to “change talks” surrounding self-care, address the matter at a time when feedback is requested and welcomed. Many organizations are more willing to discuss mental health and wellness topics during this season of tremendous personal, professional, and societal change. Your feedback may be through a quarterly feedback form, a private conversation with your leadership or supervisor, or another avenue that welcomes this sort of discussion.
If you work in an environment where no self-care or wellness conversations are taking place, you have a decision to make. Do you bring it up? How will you approach it? To whom will you address the matter?
If you are a part of leadership, you may add developing a self-care culture to a meeting agenda. If not, you may take the lead on encouraging wellness routines in your office, department, or section at work. That encouragement may look like posting resources for self-care, talking about tips or strategies that are working for your wellness journey, or being a self-care advocate for others who are having a hard time managing life challenges.
If your suggested changes in your sphere of influence are beneficial, you may choose to bring up the positive shift to your leadership and encourage implementation on a larger scale. I think it’s great that you have a desire to be a catalyst for change in the workplace. Circle back and let me know it’s going.
Question | What if your self-care isn’t working? I’ve tried different self-care practices and I still feel the same. Tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. Is it possible that self-care doesn’t work for me? Sheila R., Educator
Answer | I love this question! Self-care, the purpose, and the outcomes are unique for each person. Sometimes it’s not that self-care doesn’t work, it’s that our season of life has changed and new practices are required to meet the needs of new challenges and circumstances. If a self-care practice is not working, first ask yourself, “Is this the right practice for the needs that I have RIGHT NOW?”
Let me give you an example. If I’m worried about my finances, and money stress is at the forefront of my mind, exercise may strengthen or relax my body, but it may not settle my mind. It’s a stress reliever, but not an effective financial self-care practice. What I may really need in a season of financial stress are self-care practices that meet my money needs. I likely need to create a budget, track my spending, grocery shop with a list and coupons, set money management goals, or hire a financial advisor as a form of self-care.
If our self-care practices are not strategic and tailored to our stress needs, they can feel useless. Don’t give up on self-care, just get clear about your sources of stress, self-care areas of need, and practical strategies that work. I hope this was helpful. Good luck with refocusing your self-care.
This is the first of a series of Self-Care Q&A blog posts.
As the questions come in, I will respond and share them with you. If you would like to be a part of this series and get your question answered, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Self-Care Q&A” in the subject line. Please include your first name and profession. If your question is chosen, your name and profession will be displayed.
I look forward to hearing from you!