Why you need to ditch the oversimplify-ers
The tendency in the self-care and wellness industry to say "Just make time for yourself!" is an oversimplification.
As I'm sure you know, figuring out how to live a balanced life, how to make more space for yourself is a nuanced process. There's no "just" about it, and framing self-care that way invalidates those of us who are working hard every day to be our best selves.
Any approach to self-care needs to acknowledge that prioritizing what is most important to us and what makes us feel good is a deep and sometimes lengthy process.
Here are some of the complexities of trying to take care of ourselves - which ones do you recognize yourself in?
- Many things are important to you! Your attention is way too divided as things stand, but you can't just choose a couple of things and drop the rest.
- You're not comfortable with the general concept of putting yourself first because we do and should be accountable to other people and responsibilities.
- You might be okay with the idea of prioritizing your own needs, but you feel crippling guilt when you try.
- What actually makes you feel your best may not be the same as what you think you should do to take care of yourself. It's hard to distinguish between the two and impossible to make time for both.
As you can see, this is not just a matter of finding an extra half hour a day (though that can be a challenge in itself)!
Any sustainable approach to self-care needs to intentionally consider each of these nuances and gently push you to clarify what works for you. Otherwise, you'll be caught in the net of oversimplification and will keep feeling stuck.
Having said all that, just because there is a lot to consider does not mean the process needs to be overwhelming.
Even a small step forward - like reading this blog post and reflecting on it - can shift your reality into one where your needs matter and can be addressed.
If you want extra guidance along the way, download the 3 Ways to Put Yourself First Without Putting Them Second. It's free!
Most importantly, next time someone makes you feel guilty by saying, “You just need to put yourself first!” be quick to be compassionate and forgiving with yourself. Because there’s no “just” about it.