I’m a recovering over-achiever. Not that I don’t still try to do my best, and still regularly push myself beyond my limits (note the “recovering” in the description), but over the past few years I’ve become more aware of both the behaviors that lead to that pushing, but also the mindset from which they originate.
I know I’m not the only one.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably not only know what I’m talking about, but know how it feels to reach the end of your energetic rope. That familiar crash can be soft (fatigue) or loud (illness), but there are always consequences to burning your beautiful, bright candle at both ends.
Mind over matter, yes. At some point, though, your matter has to, well…matter.
The old idea of self-care was that it was for fragile people. Strong people, achieving people, impressive people were endlessly resilient, and never needed recharging. Now we know better, and we know that’s just LIES designed to protect us from acknowledging important things like our own basic needs, our humanity, and our vulnerability.
Yup, that’s right. Taking care of yourself can be scary, because step one is admitting that you need it. FTR, there’s no debating that, because we all do. Being real about that is something different, though.
Another old idea about self-care is that it’s exclusively comprised of cucumber masks and soothing spa music. I mean, sure, that works for me, but it may not work for everyone. Self-care can definitely be about slowing down, getting rest, and catching your breath. It can also mean going for a run, climbing a mountain, reading a book, or going to a concert. Self-care means doing things that make you feel like you’re taking care of yourself.
Seems obvious now, doesn’t it?
One more amazing thing about self-care is that, contrary to old-school thinking, self-care is about power. When you plug your phone into a charger, the battery recharges. That happens faster if you don’t use it while it’s charging, BUT it will happen regardless. If you ignore that need, your power supply is going to dwindle, until it’s straight up gone.
So go ahead, find your charging station. Plug in for just as long as you need to fill up, and then head back out there. The world needs all the incredible things you can do when you’re at your fullest power.
Photo credit: Matthew Henry
2 thoughts on “Renewable”
Self-care is about power. This is the third time in two days where I have considered this idea. As I age, I must be intentional about self-care, so that hopefully, I will age gracefully, and be able to live independently. I was not an over-achiever, so much as I was a perfectionist. The stress of trying to achieve perfection was not worth the worry. There are things I cannot control, like aging. We all get older one minute at a time. There are things I can control, like my need to be perfect. I let go of that. It still shows up sometimes, because I care about what other people think, but, for the most part, I have let it go. Part of my self-care is that I have returned to writing. I got a dog because that makes me happy. And I am trying to get more intentional about physical self-care. — It is wise when we recognize the things we need to change. Transformation is a journey, not a destination. Self-care is a very important part of that. Good luck not burning the candle at both ends. I enjoyed reading your post. Very thoughtful.
Robin, thank you for your thoughtful response! You raise a number of excellent points, many of which make me think of the practice of acceptance that is often intertwined with mindfulness. It’s about taking real stock of where you are, and letting go of the need to control the things you can’t so you can focus on the spaces were you do have power to shift, if you want to. More than anything, that space is within our minds. 🙂 So appreciate your readership and comments!