Together my family and I just concluded our third vacation together since I officially hung up my running spikes in February. It was much needed.
And let me be the one to say, more often than not, the time off to recharge is necessary.
In this age of “every day I hustle” and “team no sleep” I think it’s important that we push back on these narratives and remain intentional about prioritizing rest when we can. As a mom, entrepreneur, self-proclaimed perfectionist, and woman who naturally wears several hats, I know first hand how tempting it can be to adopt the “go go go” mentality.
But I’m here to remind you, and myself, of the importance of slowing down and making room for self-care.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
1) Your work doesn’t define you
Whether you’re a brain surgeon, pilot, chemical engineer, stay at home mom, or are anything in between, you are so much more than your job title. Yes, we all have very important roles to play, and often times they’re a huge part of our identities, but it can be problematic when you’re so invested in or committed to a job that it begins to affect your health.
Our society celebrates grind culture so much that people who take regular vacations and value self care are seen as weak, or even worse lazy. You can spot a person who honors their work by them always giving their very best, and this is not necessarily displayed as the person who prioritizes work over everything else.
In the words of Nigerian aunties around the world: “I can’t come and kill myself”.
Now I’m not a proponent of the whole “quiet quitting” phenomenon or doing the bare minimum at work, but I do encourage people to strike a balance of work and play.
I’m here to say: you are not your job and you deserve rest.
Take the vacation.
2) You can’t fill from an empty cup
This saying is often used, but less often truly understood/adhered to. This is especially true in mom circles. When we are running on fumes and barely surviving, it’s significantly harder to show up for other people, let alone be happy about it.
There is nothing noble or praiseworthy about working yourself to the point where it affects your physical or mental health. Being committed to periodically nurturing yourself to recharge is just as (if not more) important as giving your all with the daily tasks we are called to do.
And self-care doesn’t need to be an elaborate vacation abroad to qualify as high quality me time!
It can look like:
- Taking a bubble bath with scented candles instead of the rushed shower.
- Finding a sitter to watch the kid(s) while you catch a matinee at the cinema.
- Taking a detour on your way home to grab that delicious overpriced coffee.
- Treating yourself to a relaxing pedicure despite the fact you can easily paint your own toenails.
Whatever it looks like for you, big or small, always remember that prioritizing self-care will help you be the best version of yourself.
3) Saying no is sometimes very necessary
As easy as it is to be a people pleaser, it can be empowering to know exactly when it’s more important to say no. I get that it feels good to be liked, and it’s natural to want to be the favorite, but I’ve had to learn to be secure enough in myself not to worry about what other people think about me. The truth is, you can’t please everyone, so let’s get comfortable with saying no when something won’t work for you.
And saying no doesn’t only apply to your boss asking you pick up that extra shift when your schedule doesn’t allow it. We may sometimes have to say no to our spouses, children, friends, coworkers, siblings, or even parents, if it means doing so can protect your peace and/or preserve your mental health.
Sometimes I feel like I harp on the importance of self-care a lot, but I have seen and experienced how detrimental it is when it’s neglected. When I was a world class athlete, rest was an intrugal part of the equation, and I’ve taken that mentality with me now that I’ve retired.
And no, I do not feel bad about it (even when mom guilt attempts to rear its ugly head).
I get that every season of life is different, and your self-care regimen can evolve with time, but it’s still important nonelthess.
Let’s make time for self-care.