the importance of taking care of yourself
As a dead serious question, have you brushed your teeth today?
So often for those of us that have experienced trauma, abuse included, it can be difficult to find the energy to take care of ourselves.
Personally, I can go WAY too long before realizing it’s been days since I’ve last showered. When you’re constantly taking care of others, when you’re constantly made to feel like your needs are important, it’s difficult for your brain to make YOU a priority. It can take a lot of mental and physical energy to finally get up and shower, brush your teeth, do laundry, etc.
However, taking care of yourself is a MAJOR part of your recovery journey. It’s how you teach your brain that you ARE important and you ARE priority.
Keep reading to learn how to apply this to your life!
Taking care of yourself vs. self care
This is something I’m really passionate about. I didn’t realize that taking care of yourself and self care are two different things, let alone that they were both so important.
Taking care of yourself is giving yourself the absolute bare minimum to survive. That includes things like showering regularly, washing your clothes, brushing your teeth, drinking water, eating regularly. The things you need to live.
Self care is going above and beyond just the bare minimum. That’s reading a book, doing a face mask, going on a walk in the middle of the work day, listening to a podcast while doing the dishes. Self care is providing the care that you need to keep your mental health in check.
They’re different and both very important.
So often I see women using self care to deflect from taking care of themselves.
Reading the book is great, doing the face mask is great, going on walks is great, but if you’re not giving yourself the basic necessities to survive, the self care isn’t really doing you any good.
For a long time I used self care to hide the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I would post on social media pictures of me doing a face mask, reading a book, listening to an inspiring podcast. But I wasn’t showering, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. But no one would’ve been able to guess because the self care was hiding it.
Yes, reading the book is a good thing. But if you’re not taking care of yourself, it isn’t doing you any good.
Why we forget to take care of ourselves
So often in abusive relationships we are taught that we are not only important, but that we aren’t allowed to put our needs first. Heck, a lot of the time we aren’t even allowed to consider our own needs at all.
This can lead to, even after we’re out, not knowing how to take care of ourselves, or not even being aware that it’s a necessity. A lot of the time we feel selfish for considering our own needs.
Just as a side note: I said needs not wants. Not that it’s a bad thing to want something, but showering regularly, having time to make yourself food, those aren’t wants – those are needs. They need to be treated as such.
It is so important to recognize that it is NOT selfish to require that our needs be met. Making sure we get a shower, making sure we eat food while it’s still hot, washing our clothes, having two minutes to brush your teeth. Those aren’t selfish requests. Those are the basic requirements for living.
If you can really internalize that message, you’re going to be miles ahead from where you started.
Set reminders and make them non-negotiable
Make taking care of yourself non-negotiable. If you have someone else in the house with you, ie. a husband, partner, etc., communicate with them. Figure out a time that works best for both of you to make it happen. When I say best for both of you, I DON’T mean that you just don’t do something one day.
What I mean is that if the most stressful part of your partner’s day is at 11am, don’t plan on taking a shower at 11am. Maybe he’ll wake up with the kids a half hour earlier so you can get a 20 minute shower in.
When you schedule it, put a reminder in your phone. Set an alarm on the oven. Whatever you need to do. Then make it happen. When it’s time, go do it.
This is how you get your brain to understand that this is important and needs to be a priority. When you consistently do it, even when you don’t want to, you’re training your brain to expect it.
You can’t make this optional – it needs to be a MUST. Taking care of yourself is required, whether your brain understands that or not. So you can’t let it go to the wayside. Schedule it. Set reminders. Do what you need to do, but make it happen.
Taking care of yourself when you’re in recovery isn’t easy. But when you wake up every morning and choose to take care of yourself, you’re making magic happen. Know the difference between self care and taking care of yourself, dig down deep and figure out why you struggle with taking care of yourself, and then schedule it in and make it happen.
If you commit to this, if you decide that from now on you’re going to make sure you take care of yourself, you’re giving yourself the best gift you could ever ask for.
If this is a struggle for you, know that you’re not alone. So many women, myself included, know what it’s like to not want to wake up and shower, to not want to take care of yourself.
This is especially difficult when you don’t feel that you’re worth taking care of.
If that’s you, my heart goes out to you. You ARE worth taking care of. You’re absolutely AMAZING!
I created this free Confidence Course with you in mind. This is a five day crash course in confidence with me as your Confidence Coach. In less than 15 minutes a day, you’re going to lay the foundation for you to completely change your life and skyrocket your confidence.
You’ve got this, boo! Click here to grab your spot!