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Is Self-Care Selfish?

I have been practicing self-care for so long that I don’t even notice it. Yes, I meditate each day, journal each morning, exercise every other day (now I do), and eat well. I choose the people I want to spend time with and limit my time with those who drain me. It is not always a life in balance, but I feel it is a well-balanced life.

I am taken aback by some people I meet (especially women) who have forfeited their wellness, wellbeing, and dreams by always putting the needs of others first. Oftentimes I meet them here in my office, because they don’t feel good, are stressed, anxious, tired but can’t sleep, are afraid something more serious is wrong, and haven’t been to a doctor in years. Don’t want to know.

And, yes, I have been there too. It is a slippery slope and you get to a point where you don’t even know who you are anymore. You look in the mirror and see this exhausted and unhappy woman, and think “Who the hell is that?”

Of course, you know it is you staring back at you. And, yes, you kind of know how you got to this point. It could be a sick spouse, child or parent. That will do it. The death of someone close, a divorce, a breakup, a job loss. They all pile up over the years and we are left with layers of detritus covering up our hopes, dreams, and fulfillment.

There is a book by trauma expert, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, which I highly recommend for anyone who is interested in finding out how life events and traumas impact us physically and mentally, including literally re-wiring our brains. It includes research on how to change that trajectory through mindfulness, yoga, play and other techniques which are often part of a holistic coach’s toolkit as well. There is a reason there are so many of us wellness coaches out here. We are needed.

From fitness to skincare, with a focus on women’s health, May has been a month of wellness awareness for sure. I hope you take the time to reflect on what self-care might mean to you and more importantly, how you might take some first steps towards taking care of your needs. It may be setting up that long overdue doctor’s visit, or it could be a visit to your local library to check out a book you can get lost in.

Self-care is not selfish. It is self-awareness. It is assertive. It is boundaries. It is necessary.

As for me, now that I am vaccinated, I am going on a trip with my mom and my sister, to visit my other sister down in Texas. Have a great week and I will see you when I get back!

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