By James Farrat, LMSW
I’m sure you have at least one friend who tells you to “treat yourself” more often. Or that you need to “take it easy” and “slow down.” But I don’t think anyone talks more about self-care than therapists. We are always going on and on about how we need to take of ourselves, love ourselves, have compassion for ourselves, etc. etc. You know the deal. We might even come across as zealots for the God of Self-Care. The reason for our devotion usually began right after we stopped rolling our eyes and actually tried some form of self-care….and it worked. So we end up singing self-care’s praises after we finally took a little care of ourselves.
Now most people think we advocate for self-care because were are trying to prevent burnout, or feel better in our everyday lives. But another reason that is overlooked is that self-care actually makes you more productive and more successful. CNBC noted that the top thing someone can do for themselves to become more successful is to take a vacation. It sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? Many of us choose not to take a vacation because we’re scared of the backlog, worried we might miss something, or that we don’t have enough money to travel. But taking the time off is key, and taking the time to disconnect from your job will rejuvenate you and make you a better and more efficient worker.
Now success is not only measured in the workplace, but also in the home. The stress of raising children also takes its toll on parents. The blog A Child Grows in Brooklyn encourages parents to engage in regular self-care. Some of the points are surprising and we may not always see them as self-care:
- Listen to your body. Honor what it is telling you.
- Be consistent in taking care of yourself each day.
- Follow through when your body tells you it needs to rest.
- Exhibit patience with yourself.
- Don’t take yourself (or parenthood) so seriously.
- Give yourself a break when you ‘mess up.’
- Learn from yourself, your children, and others.
- Forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
- Be present.
- Express gratitude and love to yourself for the amazing work you are doing.
I don’t think we normally think of these attitudes and actions as pathways to success, but in reality if we don't have them or engage in them, we will burnout and become less effective. So give self-care a try. I did. It works.
James Farrat, LMSW is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like to work on prioritizing self-care, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to learn more about how therapy can help.