A question I am asked all the time is, "How can I possibly take better care of myself when there is so much else I have to do?" My busy clients tell me all the time that they have too much going on to exercise or eat right or to take time to relax or pursue their passion.
They are operating from the belief that they will be unable to take better care of themselves until their life calms down or stops requiring so much from them. They ARE busy, but that isn't what's stopping them. What's stopping them is their mindset. The truth is, it's not exactly the busyness that has them stuck, it's where their self-care falls on their priority list.
Self-care is not something that is only available to the unoccupied. In fact, the busier and more demanding our lives, the more self-care pays for itself. The best and the brightest–the ones who REALLY flourish–do so, in part, because they understand the value of quality self-care. Self-care is essential to keeping us fueled, energized and ready to perform at optimal levels. Self-care helps us to be at our best and to be available to the others who need us.
If you are someone who struggles to take good care of yourself, I'd suggest you start by asking some basic questions. Spend some time identifying what it is that you ARE prioritizing. Where does your energy go and where exactly do you fall on your priority list? Actions reveal volumes more than our intentions do. As you answer these questions, pay attention to where you actually spend your time. Who and what is getting the benefit of your limited energy?
Picture the demands and responsibilities in your life on a pie chart, a giant pie where you divide your energy into a wedge shaped piece for each priority. You might want to actually draw this out and estimate the size of each piece. How much energy goes into each priority? You might have a piece for work, for parenting, for your partner, for each of the things that are important in your life. Now I challenge you to be very honest and think about how big a piece there is for YOU. How much pie do you get? Are you feeding yourself at all?