As women, many of us lead complex lives with multiple jobs, obligations, and expectations. Some women are both a mom and a wife in addition to the roles they carry at work. When you look at how much women multi-task and seem to accomplish in just one day, it’s easy to understand why women end up neglecting self-care.
What Is Self-Care?
As the name implies, self-care is care given to you, by you. Self-care is taking the initiative to care for yourself, taking care of your mind, body, and spirit, and making sure they’re rested and nourished.
Why Do Women Forget Self-Care?
Unlike when we were younger, when there was a parent over our shoulder, asking us if we ate any breakfast or got enough sleep, a grown woman doesn’t tend to have someone constantly making sure her needs are met.
Instead, most women are the ones making sure everyone else’s needs are met. In fact, in a 2013 report by the American Psychological Association, it was found that young women were the ones who tended to meet increased work demands over their male co-workers.
While men tend to feel comfortable spending time doing leisure activities for their own personal enjoyment, women often struggle with the idea of doing an activity that’s just for them. The idea that women commit themselves to work more than themselves is true even outside of the office. A 2014 survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that women are still doing more housework than men.
So why do women take on the brunt of most work, both inside and outside the office, and neglect self-care and personal attention? Speaking with many women, it’s often a combination of innately feeling responsible for others and feeling guilty when they are not fulfilling that responsibility.
Women spend most of their time caring for others, to the point that they’re often left stressed out, overwhelmed, or run down. Even so, spending some time relaxing on the couch or going for a walk can make them feel guilty or like it’s time that could be better spent doing something else.
It’s important for women to learn that they need to include themselves among the people and tasks they’re tending to. Otherwise, women who can’t find the balance between taking care of themselves and others often become unhappy, resentful, and suffer from low self-esteem.
Worse, these women put themselves at risk for all sorts of health conditions that result from stress and an overworked mind and body. Instead, women can practice a handful of self-care tips to give themselves the much-needed rest and attention their bodies need:
- Take up yoga or meditation to regain balance, calm, and peace.
- Make sure you have a well-balanced diet by eating wholesome, fresh food and sitting down for actual meals (vs. snack bars on-the-go).
- Pick up a new book and dedicate a time each day where you can sit down, relax with a cup of tea, and read your new find.
- Take a bubble bath, light a candle, and put on some relaxing music.
- Take up a new hobby by signing up for a local class on art, language, pottery, or anything else that may interest you.
- Sign up at a local gym and attend a workout class, or make exercise a consistent part of your life. Exercise is known to increase endorphins and counteract stress hormones.
- Make sure to get enough sleep by setting a bedtime for yourself each night and sticking to it.
- Go for a walk out in nature and enjoy the peaceful sounds.
- Go for a mani-pedi or a spa treatment to pamper yourself.
“Self-Care for Women: Fact Sheet.” Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, 23 Mar. 2018, www.fgwrc.ca/uploads/ck/files/Resources/Factsheets/FactSheetSelfCare.pdf.
Pan, J. (2017, October 25). What Does “Self-Care” Really Mean? Retrieved March 23, 2018, from http://www.thefader.com/2015/08/11/what-does-self-care-really-mean