My History With Self-Care and How I Make It A Priority Now

Self-care. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about it, read about it, or talk about it with a girlfriend (likely attached to yet another conversation on work/life balance). It’s a buzzword of sorts. But unlike the buzzwords you hear in your weekly sales meeting, I believe this one carries some significant weight for everyone, especially when it comes to the working world.

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I come from a family of workaholics, so it’s no surprise that the “glamour” of being one was passed down to me. Even when I was just started out, I prided myself on clocking in early and working well into the night. I lived and breathed by my Blackberry (that blinking light!). I had an innate sense of pride when turning down social invitations, offering up, “I’m so busy with work.” But then I burned out.

I suddenly wasn’t feeling like myself. I no longer enjoyed the work I loved so much. I couldn’t sleep. My endless creativity vanished, and I struggled with basic tasks like composing an email. I constantly struggled to remember things (and where I put things). I couldn’t seem to find the right words to complete my inarticulate sentences. I was irritable. All I wanted to eat were foods that typically fell into my “on occasion” list. I found myself sick more than normal. My skin was dry and my hair was frizzy (ok, a whole different level of frizz than my normal). Did I mention that I was irritable as all get out?

I was stuck. I knew that the demands of my job weren’t going away anytime soon. I wanted to change, and to feel better, but didn’t know where to start.

You’re probably expecting to hear that I discovered the powers of self-care at the tender young age of 22. But unfortunately this particular chapter in my story didn’t end that way. I ended up pushing through, pulling myself up by the bootstraps and priding myself on my strength and resilience. I stayed on that vicious hamster wheel of a cycle. Burnout, keep going, burnout, keep going…

Fast forward 12 years, and I no longer can power through a burnout. Blame it on age, stress management, running a business while trying to live a rich life, three dogs, or my super sad adrenal glands, whom I’ve put through the wringer for too long. Self-care is now an important, daily part of my life. From all out escapes to the day spa (yes, please) to carving out 10 minutes to meditate, I now rely on a handful of surefire tactics to help keep me feeling my best (and healthy), looking my best (and healthy), and performing my best (and healthy!).

-Applying a facial mask
-Napping or sleeping in on the weekends
-Dry brushing
-Taking a bath
-Getting a massage or facial
-Saying ‘no’
-Painting my nails
-Taking a day off from work

If you’re new to self-care, I hope my practices help inspire you. And if you’re a veteran to the self-care game, I’d love to hear what you do! Comment with your favorite ways to care for your mind, body and soul.

Allyson roundBe well,

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

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