I love the results of practicing good self-care – energy, passion for life, happiness, feeling great physically, mentally, and emotionally, feeling connected to myself and to those around me…just to name a few.
But actually practicing self-care? Well, that can kind of suck sometimes.
I recently left my corporate counseling job to go out on my own. A big part of why I realized it was time for me to go was that the company didn’t seem to place a lot of value on it’s employee’s self-care or well-being.
To be blatantly honest, I bitched about that quite a bit while I was working there. (yeah, I’m not so proud of that, but there it is!)
I wanted the company to set boundaries on my time and energy for me. I wanted them to fulfill my needs for downtime and rest and personal time without my having to ask or figure out what I needed for myself. I wanted them to pat me on the head and say, “Here, you look tired or you aren’t feeling well so just go home and take care of yourself.” I wanted them to tell me that my health and well-being was as equally, if not more, valuable than my clients.
They, shockingly, didn’t do any of that.
The truth is I bitched because I wanted my self-care to be someone else’s responsibility.
I didn’t want to have to set my own boundaries. I didn’t want to have to figure out how to provide myself with time for rest and fun and personal time AND manage my workload. I didn’t want to have to be the one to say, “Yes, I am as valuable and important and worth taking care of every bit as much as my clients.” I didn’t want to be the one who said, “Nope, my body needs rest or I’m overtired and I’m taking the day to nurture myself.”
Don’t get me wrong – a company that values the well-being and self-care of it’s employees? Awesome. Hugely valuable. I think companies who value their employees as more than money-makers and drones actually do better business and make more money in the long-run. They build loyalty and commitment and highly engaged workers – and that’s always good for making a profit (not to mention employee retention). If my former company had valued their employees more, I would have probably stuck around a lot longer.
But it wasn’t, and never is, their responsibility to take care of me.
Even when I was bitching about my company’s lack of taking responsibility for this – I knew it wasn’t up to them. Just like it’s not up to my family members, friends, doctor, or stranger down the street.
My self-care and my well-being are always my responsibility and mine alone.
I’m the one that has to ask, “What do I need for me right now?”
If others ask or recognize one of my needs or desires and choose to support my well-being? Bonus!! Fabulous. So much gratitude.
And, I’m the only one who has to care for me. It’s called SELF-care for a reason. It’s something we give to ourselves.