I work primarily with women in my practice. Some are moms, some are working professionals, some are college students, some are all three at the same time. No matter who this woman is, where she comes from, or why she is doing therapy with me there is always one thing that these women have in common, all of these women feel the need to justify taking care of themselves. I’m not talking about basic care like take a shower and do your laundry kind of care. I’m talking about taking care of basic things like sleep, alone time, exercise, saying no to that extra assignment at work, taking a lunch break. I meet with woman after woman who expresses “I just don’t have enough time”, “I eat at my desk”, “I can’t remember the last time I just sat outside and enjoyed the sun on my face”. I can’t help but wonder, why is it so hard for us, as women, to take care of ourselves. Not only is it hard for us, we feel like we have to justify it when we do with statements like “I didn’t have breakfast, that’s why I had to have lunch”.
Because I care about you and because I want for you to feel that you have the excuse and permission to take care of yourself I am giving you an assignment. Here is your assignment:
Find a quiet spot where you feel comfortable to close your eyes for just a breath or two. Take a deep breath in, release that breath. Keep your eyes shut while you place your hand on your tummy. Breathe in again and notice your hand rise and fall as you breath in and release your air. Now I want for you to ask yourself; what do I really need? What is my body, my mind craving? Now without judgement, do whatever it is that came to mind. Don’t give yourself time to overanalyze, don’t think about it, just do it. Maybe what came up for you is that you want some alone time with your partner. Maybe you need some sleep. Maybe you need some relaxation. Below are some ideas of ways to take care of yourself.
Massage - Maybe take turns with your partner, giving and receiving massages
Alone Time - Ask your partner to take the kids out of the house for a few hours
Chocolate - Don’t go cheap on yourself, treat yourself to your favorite chocolate or dessert
Buy Yourself Flowers and Make an Incredible Arrangement
Join that exercise class you’ve been wanting to check out
Ask a friend to pick your kids up from school for the day
Go to the movies
Take a lunch break
Say no to that extra assignment at work
If you are feeling guilty about taking time for yourself you can strike a deal with your partner to reciprocate and provide him with a chance to spend some time doing what he loves.