The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself to Stop Thinking That Self-Care is Selfish

A friend of mine who owns a yoga studio remarked to me the other day that even though she’s at the studio several days a week, she struggles to find time to go to class. “Do you have it on your calendar?” I asked her. “Well, no,” she admitted, reinforcing in my mind that if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. (It’s her studio!) Why has not prioritized her own self-care practice?

Because she’s juggling her job, her relationship, and her kids, and still sees her own mindful movement practice as a privilege: something that she gets to do once all the work is done, and everyone else’s needs are met. This is a trap a lot of Earth-type people – especially women — fall into: believing that their worth is tied up in how much they do for other people. They tend to discount and override their own needs, and their joy, in favor of taking care of others.

And then it’s easy to feel resentful, like life is just one relentless cycle of responsibilities, and like you’re missing out on having fun.

The guy on the mat next me gets it, though. “I was grouchy this morning. My wife said ‘get outta here. Go to yoga, and come back different.’ That’s why I’m here.”

One question that helps me hold myself accountable to sitting in meditation when my mind tells me I’m too busy, or to having the discipline to enforce my own bedtime even when I’m in the middle of a good book is “who needs me on my A-game today?”

It’s a good reframe. Because if I don’t tend to these self-care basics, I’m more likely to snap at my husband. I’m less present for my coaching clients and patients. It takes me 3x as long to get anything done. It’s like showing up to class without having done the homework: it feels awful.

How about you? Does your stress, anxiety, and frustration get displaced onto the people you love most? Is it perpetuating things like hormone imbalances, more frequent digestive or immune challenges, or having trouble sleeping? Those can all tank your mood, your focus, your productivity, and your self-esteem – not to mention your relationships.

And they’re not likely to get better until you take a serious stand for yourself by establishing rock-solid routines that will allow you to move through life from a place of ease and capability.

Let’s fix this. Check out my Level Up page to see if it’s a good fit.

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