In her new movie, Family, Taylor Schilling takes on the role of an overworked executive whose life is spinning into chaos. Her character is struggling to achieve a healthy work life balance and cannot grasp the importance of Self-Care.
In a recent interview on BUILD SERIES (above), I spoke with Taylor about her personal work-life balance and how she practices self-care in her own life. Her response was eye-opening.
Here’s what experts had to say about it:
Danielle Brooker, Life Coach
As an incredibly hard worker and someone who always did the “right thing” I really had to reconstruct how I was living my life after I burnt myself out completely in my previous career.
I had very limited self-care practices in place. And the ones that I did, still involved other people taking some of the responsibility. (Like friends being available to relax after work with me or join me for a walk).
I now coach big-hearted,ambitious women, on the road to burn out on how to break up with the cycle of busy (and still achieve all that they want).
I love that Taylor Schilling talks about community and connection as being vital for self-care. This is so important for making us feel seen and heard.
I’d also add that when we’re stressed and overwhelmed often it can stem from us placing too much emphasis on what others’ think and what we “should” do based on their expectations.
For me,that meant I became almost nervous to rely on my own opinion or to even spend a few moments in quiet by myself.
My own self-care practice first and foremost has been about valuing this time alone, to really get to know myself.
When I create space in my days to be alone, to sit with my own thoughts, or to prioritize doing somethingI really want to do, that gives me so much more capacity to handle stressful moments, or challenges at work.
One way I do this in practice is to take myself on coffee dates (most days). I take my book, my notebooks to journal, or simply sit in silence. I love the ambience of cosy cafes, so that always fills me with joy. Plus, it’s helped me develop a muscle of prioritizing myself first.
Catherine Jackson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I agree that mediation and having a community, a strong circle of loved ones are a healthy parts of self care. I’d add setting boundaries, eating nutritious food and exercising to the list.
Set Boundaries – To frequently we give too much of ourselves away to others who do not deserve our time. Setting boundaries and leaving time for yourself will allow you space to pour into yourself as much as you pour into others.. Follow these simple tips to set appropriate boundaries:
1. Pay attention to how you really feel before committing to anything.
2. Be direct and set limits as to how much time you will commit and exactly what you will and will not do.
3. Stick to your plans.. If you already have something scheduled, even if its “me time” do not break your plans to accommodate someone else. This is a healthy way to keep commitments to yourself and others.
Saying no to things and people and setting boundaries are healthy forms of self-care.
Nurture the Brain and Body – Eating well and exercising are forms of self-care. Both makes you look and feel better and boost brain activity including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, all feel good neurotransmitters. Furthermore, what you eat contributes to how you feel and helps your brain function more optimally. Nutritional deficits can leave you feeling run down and contribute to emotional disturbances. Take a look at your diet and see where you can make some changes, swapping unhealthy foods for healthier, more nutritious alternatives. Exercise and eating well go hand and hand when truly caring for yourself. Start slow and small and build a consistent exercise regimen.
Self care is an active process. And you have to “work on it a lot” as Taylor Schilling stated.
Alexandria DeVito, MS, CNS
Self-care is a catchy buzz phrase these days, but what does it actually mean? It’s different for everyone and that’s because self-care is a philosophy more than it is a specific set of actions.
Self-care is tuning in and tending to your needs regularly, whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual. Self-care replenishes you today while not depleting you for tomorrow. For example, eating 5 donuts may feel great in the moment, but it may leave a wicked blood sugar crash in its wake. Self-care is about selective indulgence – indulging enough to satiate but not too much to derail.
Choose foods, activities and people that uplift you rather than deplete you. Choose to take your time rather than to rush. Choose to be kind to yourself rather than to beat yourself up. Choose better. Trade up whenever possible.
The possibilities are endless and what recharges us is different for everyone. Schedule a monthly massage. Buy organic meats. Get silk sheets to slip into at night. These practices do not necessarily have to cost any money either. Many such indulgences don’t even require that you open your wallet. Treat yourself to an extra hour of sleep. Get out in nature. Meditate. Journal. Listen to your favorite band and dance around like no one’s watching. Luxuriate in a bubble bath. It doesn’t matter what you do, in the end, as long as it builds you up.
Self-care increases your health “bank account” reserves. The more self-care you practice, the more you have left in the account for future use (whether that be for you or for those you love).
Self-care is an ongoing investment in yourself. The more you invest in yourself, the more you have to give to those around you. Quite simply, self-care is your most renewable and rewarding superpower.
Dr. Ja’net Bishop
Extreme self-care during times of great stress means engaging in those activities that allow you to honor your feelings, the ones that connect you to your center and reattach you to something solid and secure.
What matters most is that you return to behaviors and practices that reflect extreme self care as quickly as possible so that you can restore yourself to sanity, strength and resilience. This allows you to bring your best and most resourceful self to the table. Wellness and self-care is a conscious, deliberate process. It’s multi-dimensional and includes self-defined balance of habits such as sleep, rest and meaningful activity for a more satisfying lifestyle.
Jill Sylvester, Mental Health Therapist
In addition to what Taylor Schilling discussed in the You Tube video- meditation and having a community, both of which I agree with and include in my own self-care practice- I would add starting with self-care first thing, scheduling time each day for what matters most, and having something to look forward to.
I start with self-care first thing in the morning by meditating and exercising. I give myself what I need first and foremost so that I am better able to give to my family, my clients and to others. Creating a space first and foremost of how I want the day to start and how I want the subsequent energy of the day to flow, helps immensely.
Second, I schedule time each day for what matters most: time with others to connect and check in, work that matters and feels purposeful, tasks that need to get done to run a family, a household and a business, and rest time to balance all that occurs in each day.
Lastly, I always have something to look forward to. Whether that is an afternoon or evening of reading, mindless TV to offset the intensity of the work, or a great meal. When we have that reward to look forward to, it helps to keep the momentum of all that is required of us in the course of a day.
Capri Cruz, Ph.D, Psychotherapist
Self-care is a philosophy. It’s understanding that we cannot adequately care for someone else until we care for ourselves, thus, giving ourselves permission to create quality time for ourselves is hugely important.
I am my #1 priority and you should be your #1 priority; not to the detriment of anyone else or to the exclusion of those you care for, but rather so you can live from a place of “over-flow” and not depletion.
Scheduling our lives in our daily planners or Google calendars, for instance, is very important. It’s our accountability partner. If I don’t put on my calendar that I will work out on specific days, the odds of me actually making time to go to the gym is reduced to nil usually. But my biggest secret for great self-care is sleeping over at a 24-hour Korean spa. There are a few in Los Angeles that I live for. It’s my $35 oasis!
Sylvia Nasser, Fitness Influencer
@thefitfem on Instagram
It has taken years to try to master the art & science of self-care. I’m not sure if self-care is a discipline that can ever be mastered as it is a juggling act of all aspects of person’s wellbeing – family, passionate work, physical health, personal connections & friendships, financial health, community service, spirituality, and “play”.
Usually as we focus on one or two or even three aspects of our lives, others may suffer. So it literally is a juggling act from day to day, moment to moment, even second to second.
My current self-care practices include: prioritizing taking care of my daughter, who lives with Cystic Fibrosis, making sure to give myself at least 1 day off from work (yes, believe it or not, I used to work 7 days a week), to disconnect and enjoy family “play” time, getting my own workouts in, especially boxing – it’s the most enjoyable workout for me, preparing and drinking my green smoothies most days of the week as it has helped curb my Lupus symptoms, having a spiritual coach to rely on when I feel stressed, meditating/praying/journaling, listening to podcasts that are positive so that my mind is filled with positive, optimistic, encouraging thoughts, getting 8 hours of sleep a night (I do my best with this one!), and napping when I can.
Now it’s not all perfect – as I share what has been working for me there are still other self-care practices that I want to work on – finding more time to spend in nature, reading for pleasure, managing my finances in a healthy, pleasurable way, creating a work schedule that feels good, and finding more time to spend with friends & creating more social, in-person connections.
It is all a working progress.
After watching the video the only extra thing I’ll add is letting go of the fear of saying NO to things that don’t bring joy & decluttering activities that felt “icky”. . For example, if taking on a class or client doesn’t feel good to me, I will now say NO. This was the biggest challenge I used to have as I fear that I would burn bridges or miss opportunities. Not saying NO would causes resentment, burnout and emotional fatigue. Now, saying NO has made me release anxiety and given me a freedom that I believe we all want at the end of the day.
Laura, Mindful Mom Blogger
My name is Laura and I am the blogger behind The Mindful Mom Blographer, a lifestyle blog helping people to reduce through mindful and intentional living, minimalism, and zero waste living.
As a mom who works full time, has two small businesses, a husband and a 3-year-old, I have quickly learned that self-care is a must to keep my sanity. To me, self-care is more than just bubble baths and pedicures. While those things are great, it’s more about every day practices that help me on my journey.
Practicing gratitude has been huge for me. No matter how overwhelmed I get, jotting down 3-5 items I’m thankful for in that particular moment helps put things in perspective and is instantly grounding.
Getting out in nature is another must for me, although I admit this one serves multiple purposes. While in nature, I can practice mindfulness meditation through a calm walk, or I can go for a run and focusing on moving my body – something that always helps me stay in good mental standing.
In the video where Taylor talks about self care, I think the parts of her practice – meditation and relying on your community – are great tips. The items I would add would be the things I mentioned above: gratitude, getting out in nature, and exercise. Additionally, I would add journaling, which is great for obtaining mental clarity, talking to a therapist for help working through some sticking points in your life, and finally, delegating any tasks that you can. This could be asking your partner to take on a couple of your regular tasks or it could be hiring someone to come clean your house a couple of times a month (as just a couple of examples).
Olyvia Dusold, Wellness Coach
Without self-care, we have no self to care for ourselves and others. As an online Healthy Life Coach who specializes in pain management and healthy routine incorporation, I feel it is true that if someone has a great self-care routine, they tend to be more successful in life. Why? Because they aren’t always stressed and on-the-go, never taking breaks for themselves, which we all desperately need.
I spend 1.5 hours every morning meditating and journaling and I like to scatter another hour or two into my day by moving and reading, when I can. Other forms of self-care I practice are: eating clean,making time for friends and family, taking care of my skin with masks and attending classes I like. While this list is long and in some ways for some people extreme, it fits me and my life.
Of the things Taylor Schilling stated (both of which I fully endorse) the only things I would add is this: Do things you like or think you would like in small increments. Try it for one to three month and if it is something that you cannot maintain or does not feel right, drop it.
The biggest issue with self-care I am seeing more and more is people trying to incorporate these long routines, full of practices they don’t like because it worked for someone else. For example, I tried waking up at 5 am for just over a month and my body was not happy. Instead, I decided to go to sleep earlier and now I naturally wake up at 6:30-7:15 am fully rested and ready for my day.
Remember, your life will change and so will your routine. Be kind to yourself and your body. Take comfortable steps and be open to new ideas as they come along.
What is your self-care routine? Let me know in the comments!