By Danielle Reile,
Marriage and Family Therapist
July 3, 2019
Permission Slip Granted: You do You!
In our world, we hear various statements regarding self-care. Statements like “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Or, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first”, and “If you’re busy caring for others, who is caring for you?” When it comes down to actually caring for ourselves we often feel a sense of guilt. A feeling that we must earn it before we allow ourselves something. It’s as if we need a form of justification in case someone asks. In reality, you don’t need any of this to allow yourself to take care of you. You’re deserving just as you are! As cliche as those first statements may sound, they’re true! We often learn these lessons the hard way when life smacks us hard and then we realize it may be time to care for ourselves.
Relief is Necessary
How did this begin? Each of us possesses an interpersonal relationship where we decide what we allow and what we do not. Why not allow you to be your top focus? As adults, we play many roles in our lives and often hold several jobs spanning our professional and personal lives. Each role and job has several responsibilities included within it. The stress and level of expectation can be monumental at times. This calls for relief, decompression, and relaxation; not only as needed but as often as possible. I’ve noticed the permission to decompress and practice self-care often comes after the load we’ve been carrying has become almost unbearable. It seems that’s the time when we deem that we are deserving of care.
Burnout is Real!
Burnout is a real thing! Having a pattern of not decompressing or caring for yourself can easily lead to a feeling of burnout. With burnout, we usually cannot just push through it—although we try! This space usually requires big changes and a much larger form of self-care in order to get us back to baseline functioning. In these moments, we have to get back to baseline functioning before we can expect any more of ourselves. This can be a challenging concept to face and, even worse, accept! We have to face the fact that burnout began all those many days, months, or sometimes years ago when we didn’t listen to our mind and body telling us that we needed a break. That we needed to give ourselves the time to recharge the ol’ battery to reach the same levels of expectation and functioning.
Where does lack of self care come from?
Let’s take a quick dive back to when this may have started. As kids, we may have learned by direct lesson via modeling self-care. There is often a big underestimation of how much modeling can make an impact on our childhood as well as our adult life. We may have seen a caregiver in our life working tirelessly to help the family or those around them forgetting about their own needs. Or we may have been told directly to not “be so selfish” when we stated something we wanted to do for ourselves. There are also the peers in our lives that can have an influence as well. We see others around us working so hard and not needing a break, why should we? Regardless of where you learned this message or similar ones, it’s time to learn a new way!
So now what?! You may begin to think about where you learned this or how you’ve gotten off track, but now what do you do? Now it’s time to act! Notice your thought process when it comes to caring for yourself. When an opportunity arrives or a break comes up, I want you to notice what you tell yourself. This is often subconscious and we don’t realize that we automatically think/feel/react a certain way. Do you tell yourself you deserve this time and to take it? Or do you tell yourself that you should be doing something more productive with this time? Your inner voice is the one that speaks the loudest. More than likely, whatever you say in that moment will have an action that aligns with it. I want you to begin to add pieces of worthiness. To begin to speak to the fact that you DO deserve to take this break in your day to spend on you, just you. That taking care of yourself is productive and healthy. We must notice that pattern first in order to begin to show up and tell ourselves something different.
Time for Action
Now that we’ve addressed what may come up within, it’s time to address the action behind it. First thoughts, feelings, then action! Since prioritizing self-care may be new for you, let’s make it easy! Try to come up with a list of activities that you enjoy. It can be helpful to include activities you can do away from home, and those that you can do easily from home or work. For example: go for a walk. Keeping this list close by is important. The notes app on your phone is a great place for that! The idea is that you don’t have to think on the fly about what you want to do. You’re making it easy to just pick something off your list. When life is made simple we are more likely than not to oblige.
In the end, we must not only recognize that we need breaks in life, but that we are also worthy of it! Ask yourself this question: would you tell a dear friend that they didn’t deserve or work hard enough to allot themselves time for self-care? I’m assuming you wouldn’t. Let’s begin to internalize the advice we often so freely give to others. This is your friendly reminder: you always have permission to care for yourself. You’re a worthy human being that deserves great care. Because you matter!
Danielle Riele is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice with an office in Roseville, CA. She has worked as a therapist in the area for the last eight years and has been licensed for close to four years. Helping & encouraging people has always been a passion of hers. After becoming a parent several years ago, it pulled on her to make even more of an impact. She is now branching out to do more motivational speaking. This year she created new professional accounts on Facebook & Instagram called @youfingmatter, where she gives daily inspiration and encouragement to live your life in alignment with your worth. Late this year there will be a blog attached where you