Let us look at how women are impacted by self-care today.
When you consider that the average woman in America will spend more time taking care of her home and family than she will have spent in obtaining formal education, attending religious services, or participating in recreational activities with friends and/or family during her entire lifetime you can begin to understand the vital importance of self-care.
Self-care is a basic need. How can you take care of others if you have not taken care of yourself? Far too often women prioritize their responsibilities over themselves, going without things that they need and want just to get by. For a woman who has lost hope of any change in their life, the insurmountable list of things that have gone undone can often feel overwhelming.
What is worse is when you consider how many women have been impacted by self-care deficits for so many years, it becomes difficult to get back on track. What results is a habit of living that leads to ever-increasing self-care deficits and if this cycle isn’t broken it can lead to feelings of worthlessness.
If you are reading this article, I am going to assume that you have at some point lost hope of finding your way back on track with practicing self-care.
If so, I also assume that you are tired of feeling like an impostor, or you are tired of sacrificing your own well-being for the sake of everyone else.
It can be incredibly exhausting to live in a pattern of self-sacrifice while letting yourself down each time.
Before you allow yourself to feel overwhelmed with learning about new ideas on how to take better care of yourself, I want you to know that we have all been there.
Sometimes we just need a little perspective and direction as we begin our journey back to living a life based on self-care.
This article contains five tips for women who have lost hope when it comes to their own well-being. Consider these ideas to be a guide for getting started on your journey of taking better care of yourself.
1. Do Not Make Any Major Life Decisions for at Least One Year
If you are dealing with extreme stress, overwhelm, or depression it is not advisable to make any big life changes soon. I understand that this might seem counter-intuitive but making life-altering decisions when you are feeling overwhelmed can lead to even worse consequences than just spacing out your choices.
When you are stuck in a cycle of stress and depression it is critical that you do not make any changes until you have learned better coping mechanisms. You will likely need professional help before you are ready to make big decisions, so please do not feel ashamed about seeking help.
2. Practice Mindfulness Every Day for at Least Ten Minutes
If you have never learned to practice mindfulness meditation it is time to learn. Download the free app Headspace or find a class near your home that teaches this simple but effective technique of relaxation and stress management.
Following these simple steps, which you can practice in the comfort of your living room or anywhere that feels safe and relaxing to you:
-Begin by focusing on your breath as it goes in and out.
-Breathe deeply and slowly. Imagine each time you take a deep breath bringing clean air into your lungs and letting go of every bit of stress that you are holding onto.
-When your mind wanders, simply bring it back to focus on your breath. If you find that thinking about something stressful is interfering with your ability to calm down and relax, write out what is bothering you in a journal and then set it aside until another time when you feel better able to deal with the issue.
3. Allow Yourself to Be Happy Without Feeling the Need to Apologize for It
If you have lost hope of ever being happy again, it is time to allow yourself this luxury without any guilt or shame.
There are plenty of women who have big responsibilities in their families who take care of themselves while performing these obligations admirably. If you want to be one of these women, stop apologizing for taking care of your needs and start enjoying this part of your life again.
4. Follow a Self-Care Calendar and Allow yourself to Have What You Need
This can include breaks from work or other responsibilities that will allow you to take care of yourself without feeling guilty about it.
If you are the sole provider for your family, I understand that this might feel like an irresponsible act. If you can afford to take off one day each week for self-care without sacrificing the well-being of your family, I encourage you to do so.
5. Allow Yourself to Be Kind to You
During times of extreme stress and depression, it is all too easy to treat yourself as your own worst enemy.
If you have been forcing yourself to follow a set of rules that you cannot always live up to, learn to love and care for yourself in the way that you would if your best friend was struggling with depression.
Why not be kinder towards yourself than you ever have been before?
Don’t wait until you feel like it, make this happen now by doing things that you enjoy and telling yourself all the positive things that you would say to your best friend.
The most important thing to remember is that taking great care of yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary. Don’t wait until you feel like it, make this happen now by doing things that you enjoy and telling yourself all the positive things that you would say to your best friend.