Self-Care Takes Work

3 Minutes Read

IMG_5042At the beginning of last month, there was a day I was awake for nearly 24 hours straight. 

You might read that and think,

"Gee, Erin why would you admit that while you are trying to teach me about self-care?"

Well don't stop reading just yet. I wasn't staying up late to meet a deadline, or missing a night of sleep worried about something, I was travelling with my family to Hawaii where we spent a month together.

The way it all worked out, we left our home at 8am and arrived at our hotel about 22 hours later.

The weather, the land and the people are incredible and I feel so lucky that we were able to go back to one of our very favourite places on earth with both of our kids.

As one would expect Hawaii to be, it was magical.

We had beautiful days on the beach all together and I was able to carve out solo time to attend amazing classes and get some much needed mental space to think about how I want to shape the next few years of my life with my beautiful husband and children.

But there is another side to the rosy picture here I need to highlight;

Self-care takes work.

Between home and the beach are about ten thousand practical details. A few times I caught myself joking to friends that,

"After all the planning and travel back and forth I will need a month in Hawaii alone to recover".

An epic trip like this takes careful planning and we spent many hours researching, booking places to stay, packing and unpacking everything a family of four needs into a single suitcase and a few backpacks.

Then there is the reality of traveling with two kids under three years old.

One might melt down as the other is finally falling asleep. One wants to nurse while the other decides now is the perfect time to run towards the waves.

We had our hands full just as much there as we do at home, except on vacation there are no grandparents, daycare or close friends around to play with. At times it felt very uprooted.

So yes, it was totally amazing but it was also a heck of a lot of work.

Present Effort vs. Future Payoff

My personal reason for going away for a whole month was twofold. One, to spend some precious time together as a family and two, to get some much needed self-care.

Here's the thing about self-care that makes it so difficult for many people to carve out the time and make the energy for:

Self-care often takes effort in the present in order to gain a worthwhile "payoff" in the future.

It takes effort to go to the gym today, but as you start to build that habit, ideally in the future you will have earned a stronger, healthier body.

Sadly because so many people expect instant results they don't stick with it long enough to gain the benefits.

When it comes to self-care, have you been taught that it should be effortless or that you should feel blissful after you have done it?

While many of us have been taught these things, in reality, often the opposite is true.The effort it takes to prioritize your own health and well-being may not feel very easy or "self-care like" at all.

During my last Extreme Self-Care Course one of the participants told me that just the act of getting out the door to go to a massage was so stressful for her that in the end it didn't seem worth it. She never felt sure she could count on having childcare locked-in and everyone in her household settled at the same time as her appointment.

Then (like many of the women I know), she spent her whole appointment worrying that something was going wrong at home.

Another participant felt that when she took time for her own self-care routine she was being a burden on her partner's time and their family finances even though her partner had repeatedly urged her to take time for herself.

From teaching this course, I have seen that even though the idea of self-care seems so logical, most people aren't very good at actually practicing it and those who do, often have a lot of unhelpful thoughts and emotional baggage that doesn't allow them to enjoy the deeper benefits.

I hope this weekend you make the effort for yourself and work self-care into your time. Share what you are doing for your self-care in the comments below.

AND If you need a nudge or tools to learn how to do it, check out the Extreme Self-Care Course which is on-sale until April 6. 

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