How to Prioritize Self-Care (Even if You’re too Busy)

Why self-care and not a waste of time. Hint: it makes you a better person.

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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 a suggestion whenever we read about living a better life, being more productive, feeling less stressed. Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. Yet we have it that it’s optional between work, taking care of our families and other priorities. Everyone talks about the importance of self-care but how come the struggle is really real when it comes to actually taking it on? Here’s why we avoid it and why it’s critical for our well-being: 

Why We Don’t Take it On…

The top reasons/justifications/realities that we deal with begin with these all too familiar words: “I don’t have time” which ultimately ends with “It’s not a priority”. And the truth is, as a mom or entrepreneur or momtrepreneur, you’re busy beyond words and the thought of adding one more thing to the day is unfathomable. 

Now let’s deal with the topic of time and what I call the Vicious Time Circle phenomenon. We begin our day in a certain mental space- one that if not conscious to it, probably looks like “sh*t 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 because of this lense that we view the world and colors our actions for the day. What happens is we’re not present, we take twice as long to do our tasks and then feel guilty followed by more exhaustion. It’s a self perpetuating limiting belief (“I’m not good enough”) and one that keeps you from growing and expanding, and ultimately having a life that works. 

Here’s Why You Should…

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 that break. There’s a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the thinking part of your brain. When you are doing 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 your brain to take on.

Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. This in turns allows you to be more present during work and taking care of the kiddos. 

Here’s How it Makes you more productive

Allowing yourself even ten minutes a day or time to read, get a manicure, digital detox, meditate, etc, is what allows for a break in the perpetuation of the Vicious Time Circle. The feeling of guilt and shame around not doing it all takes mental space and keeps you from being present and ultimately productive. Self-care breaks up your listening of yourself that “you’re not enough”. On a physical level, it allows your brain 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 societal pressures of being a Badass Girlboss. The reality is self-care is both badass and part of being your own amazing Girlboss. 

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