by Denica Bishop
When we think of self-care, we might imagine massages, pedicures, lattes, relaxing baths, or time doing our favorite things. This is energizing for many people and may be just the thing they need to jumpstart themselves so they can be present in work and life. Have you ever considered how you want to show up in your work and life? Sometimes, the reason we feel weighed down is not because of the work that we have to do, but how we are forced to show up. How do you want to engage others? Consider how you can communicate with others in a way that is honoring both of them and you. I’ve found myself in a position where I was not able to speak truthfully, locked in a struggle of power dynamics, and interacting on terms that did not work for me. It has taken me a long time to realize that self-care not only includes pampering and indulging in the things that bring me joy, but it also involves me being able to stand up for myself, understanding how I want to engage others, having boundaries not only for others, but for myself so that I am careful not to allow myself to be harmed or to harm others.
The work I was doing wasn’t difficult. The way that I had to show up to do that work was. I felt like I was losing my autonomy for the sake of serving others, and I needed to find a way to serve myself while I was serving others. It’s time for some soul searching. This is how we care for ourselves. A starting point is to ask yourself questions about… YOU! What do you know about yourself that you didn’t know a year ago? What makes you uncomfortable? What things are you not willing to give up on? Often, we think of work/life balance in terms of the amount of time we have left over to do the things we enjoy. But, the balance also comes when we are able to integrate who we are with what we do and show up with integrity in a way that honors ourselves and others. Self-care involves knowing who you are and taking responsibility for nurturing your gifts and taming your vices. Nobody can care for you better than you can. Why? Because regardless of how you show up in your work and life, only you know if it is in a way that is tearing you down or building you up. There is rest in knowing who you are, even as you seek to find more time in your day. Remember to care for your whole self, so that your SELF is whole!