The Importance of Self-Care

I was never really good at taking care of myself.

Between my roles as a student, daughter, fiance, sister, and an employee, there just didn’t seem to be time for taking care of myself.

I was the queen of “Tomorrow I’ll start fresh,” and “When this class is done I’ll have more time.” I would overwork myself and make excuses as to why I wasn’t taking proper physical and mental care for myself.

I’ll admit: Lately, I’ve been in a rut. I’ve been lazy, and I’ve been disappointed in myself. It’s been a year of adjustments of new schedules, new roles, and new responsibilities.

9 months ago I graduated college and started working 50 hours a week. I went from working out 4-6 times a week to working out zero times a week. I used to love working out. I did it for myself. I loved the feeling of making fitness goals and achieving small fitness milestones; I loved that feeling of empowerment and pride. At first, I tried to keep up with my old workout routine. Because I had to leave for work at 6:30 am and didn’t get home until 5:30pm, I made a new schedule. I honestly tried so hard to stick with it. The first few weeks I powered through getting up at 4:30am and making it to the gym 3 days a week. Sadly, this habit only lasted for a month.

Days became weeks and weeks became months. Eventually, I grew accustomed to not working out. The thought of going to the gym after work seemed painful and less appealing.

I started grad school full time the first week of September. I told myself all summer, “As soon as school starts and you stop working full time, you can start working out again.”

It’s September 22nd. Don’t even ask me how many times I’ve been to the gym, because the answer is none.

In addition to my lack of physical exercise, my eating has been poor lately as well. My healthy habits always suffer when I stop working out; I simply don’t have the ambition to try and eat healthy if I am not exercising. I’ve been overeating lately, eating out too many times, and skipping meals for sugary and fatty snacks instead.

Have you ever been so disappointed in yourself where you aren’t even sure how you got to this point? That is currently where I have been lately. The Chelsea from a year ago would be repulsed if she saw how many attempts I was making now at exercising and eating healthy.

What has my excuse been now?

“I’m a grad student full time.”

“I’m engaged now and busy with wedding planning.”

“I have other obligations that are more important.”

But these are all what I have referred to them as; excuses. And nothing more.

My Professional Counseling grad program has been absolutely amazing so far at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. One of the most insightful parts of the program that has stuck with me so far is the importance of self-care. This was one of the first focuses emphasized in our program. As future counselors, it is imperative that we take the initiative to care for ourselves to avoid burnout and lead holistic and healthy lifestyles by example for our clients. We actually did a project related to self-care where we chose an activity that we loved doing and logged our time doing it throughout the semester.

Since then, the importance of self-care has been on my mind. I realize how much I have been cheating myself lately and how I know I am capable of being so much more. I get so sad when I think that 2 years ago I ran a half marathon and today I can barely run a mile without my lungs feeling like they are going to explode.  I’ve been neglecting self-care, and it’s time to make a change.

Self-care is so important to lead a healthy, balanced life. Without self-care, we are overloaded with stress and suffer from burn-out and emotional fatigue. It’s SO important to create some time for yourself every single week.

What do you like to do for yourself? Is it yoga? Reading before bed? Running? Praying? For me, my Self-Care comes in all different forms. I’m an introverted extrovert in the sense that I love being around other people, but sometimes I just need my own personal space or I get exhausted. On some weeks that I need it, my Self-Care can be in the form of going out for drinks on the weekend with my friends. In other instances, my Self-Care is blogging with a cup of strong coffee next to my laptop, or Netflix binging with Trevor.

I encourage you all to think about how much you participate in Self-Care activities. Are you creating enough time for yourself? Join me in my journey as I commit to new goals and taking better care for myself.

My self care goals this month:
-Write 3 times a week
-Run 3 times a week
-Get up early. (Mornings are when I feel the most at peace with myself).

I’m done making excuses, and I encourage you to do the same. If you spend so much time taking care of others, who is going to take care of you? We have to rely on ourselves and put ourselves first at times! I realize this can be hard when so many people are counting on you, but you owe it to others to give nothing but the best version of yourself.

What are you going to do for your Self-Care this week? Leave me a comment below.