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Sharpe-Jefferson: Set Aside Much Needed Time for Self Care

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By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson 

Perhaps you’ve heard that self-love, or loving yourself, seems selfish. Or maybe even you’ve thought it or said it aloud.

Self-love, at its core, requires us to set aside time for self-care, which involves a set of practices that allow us to prioritize our own needs and desires above that of others. 

The goal is to allow us to operate in optimal physical and mental health in order that we continue about our life’s work.

For some of us, even though we know the expected positive end result, self-love remains a scary and downright sinister thought.

But here’s something to contemplate. If you keep giving out by serving others, it is vital for you to become replenished.

We understand this principle well when it comes to other areas of our lives.

For instance, we’d never think of driving our cars without adding fuel, so why are we challenged when it comes to incorporating those activities which fuel us up, so to speak, for the journey of life?

These assertions can be particularly unnerving for those of you who are empaths – who are always acutely aware and responsive to others’ needs and emotions.

But I still maintain, self-love expressed in acts of self-care is necessary.

Sure, I see the cynics rolling their eyes questioning whether this principle, at its core, is really ego-centric/self-serving.

The question I’d ask you is simply this. We all know those who give of themselves to make sure everyone else is taken care of. But how does the giver become recharged?

The answer, I believe, lies in self-care.

Think about the caregiver. The person who constantly serves another person can be left feeling depleted. But, by practicing a few activities to care for their own body and soul, they can prevent burnout.

There’s the stay-at-home mom or working mother who’s constantly sacrificing her own desires to care for her children. Doesn’t she deserve a break at some point? I can hear my moms saying, “Amen.”

Or the medical professional whose job is to ease the strain of people’s health issues day in and day out. By nature of their work, their entire focus most days is on others.

I want you to see the balance in this. No, our lives are not set up often where we are celebrated for taking care of ourselves. We’re often rewarded more when we care for others, sacrificing what we need or desire.

And while servanthood is great, it doesn’t negate the fact that we as humans need to nurture our own bodies and souls, in whatever (safe and ethical) way possible.

We aren’t electrically charged robots, and we have only with a limited amount of physical and emotional strength.

With that in mind, we need to regularly remember to do some things that refresh and rejuvenate us.

Have you:

  • Watched a good movie lately?
  • Read a good book recently?
  • Indulged in a massage these past few months?
  • Slept in on the weekends?
  • Enjoyed a mini getaway or any other items that inspire or minister to the very core of you?

For a number of us, the answer would be a solid no.

Keep in mind, we participate in self-care activities to practice self-love and self-preservation so that we can continue sharing that love in the form of helping others.

The great news is you have the power to change beginning today.

I leave you with this thought: if not now, when will you make your own self-care a priority?

Know that I’m cheering for you.

Coach K

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears on the first and third Thursdays of each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisa@keisasharpe.com and visit http://www.allsheanaturals.com for natural hair and body products.