prioritize self-care girl sleeping

Self-care should never be an afterthought, though modern life offers plenty of excuses to drop it down our list of priorities. When life ramps up its pace, it’s that much more important to prioritize self-care. Holistic life coach and new TCM contributor, Maytal Phillips, is sharing how self-care is not a waste of time, but rather a way to become a more productive and present human. Discover how this working mama makes space for some much-needed self-love…

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with all things in the holistic/self-improvement/health and well-being space. Self-care has recently become a hot topic floated as living a better life, being more productive and/or feeling less stressed. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, especially during periods of stress.

Yet, it becomes optional between work, taking care of families and other priorities. Everyone talks about the importance of self-care but the struggle is real when it comes to actually taking it on. Here’s why we avoid self-care and why it’s critical for our well-being to prioritize self-care…

What Gets In The Way of Self-Care?

The top reasons we avoid self-care begin with these all too familiar words: I don’t have time, which ultimately ends being it’s not a priority. And the truth is, as a mom or entrepreneur or both, you’re busy beyond words and the thought of adding one more thing to the day is unfathomable.

Let’s deal with the topic of time — what I call the vicious time circle phenomenon. We begin our day in a certain mental space, one that we may not be aware of, but probably looks like I have so much to do and I have no idea how it will get done or my all-time favorite I hope I get through today. We’re exhausted and can’t see through what needs to get done, and this is the lens we view the world and colors our actions for the day. So, we’re not present, we take twice as long to complete tasks, we feel guilty and it’s followed by more exhaustion. It’s a self-perpetuating limiting belief — I’m not good enough — and one that keeps us from growing and expanding and, ultimately, living a life that works.

Why Is It Important To Prioritize Self-Care?

What if we injected some self-care into the day? Taking even the smallest amount of time to yourself will break up the vicious time circle and provide the space to rejuvenate, replenish and then go back to what needs to get done. When your mind has space, your physical body has the opportunity to regenerate. Similar to meditation, your brain needs a break too.

Part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is the thinking part. When you do work that requires concentration, this part of your brain keeps you focused on your goals. The PFC is also responsible for logical thinking, executive functioning and using willpower to override impulses, which is a lot for one part of the brain to take on. Working for long stretches without break leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes mental resources and helps with creativity. This, in turn, allows you to be more present during work and taking care of the kids.

What Can We Do To Prioritize Self-Care?

Allowing yourself even ten minutes a day to read, get a manicure, do a digital detox, meditate or whatever it is you need allows for a break in the perpetuation of the vicious time circle. The feeling of guilt and shame around not doing it all takes up mental space and keeps you from being present and productive. Self-care breaks up the self-imposed myth that you’re not enough and, on a physical level, it allows your brain time to reset. It’s not a waste of time — self-care actually creates time.

Keep in mind that self-care requires us to create and engage in a habit that is not only unfamiliar to many of us but seems to be contradictory to the societal pressures of being a badass girlboss. The reality is, however, that self-care is both badass and essential to being your own amazing girlboss.

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