Self-Care: How Do We Get There?

How do you commit to something? I ask this question because at our staff retreat recently, we were discussing the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey where he discussed self renewal and broke it down into four dimensions of sustained renewal – the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual. After a bunch of head nodding in full agreement about reducing burnout syndrome and compassion fatigue by taking care of myself more with exercising regularly, eating right, being steadfast in my spiritual practice, reaching out to my supports, and writing consistently, I gulped at the next part of the presentation where our fearless leader asked which was the hardest to do – to learn, to commit or to do? In unison, the gaggle yelled “to commit”!

I then became frustrated with myself because that’s my problem in a nutshell – full-time commitment. I am a hardcore slacker when it comes to self-care. Intellectually, I can tell you how it’s done; it’s the action behind it that’s problematic. I tend to start strong and then lose steam and it seems to be cyclical. When things get hard, my self-care systems falter. I start working out for a few months and then I fall off the treadmill. I write in concentrated spurts (I call them micro-bursts of brilliance), but not daily like I feel I should to hone my craft. I try to practice not yelling at my daughter and then a rough day at work will make me lose focus and become a mediocre, out-of-control parent who makes mountains out of the molehills of toys piled on each free space of carpet in her bedroom.

How do we commit to ourselves and our said values without allowing life’s challenges and detractors to constantly get in the way? To use another Covey reference, we can’t chop down the tree without first sharpening the saw. How do we sharpen ourselves first, as a consistent, meaningful practice? Is it truly possible or a superwoman/superman pipedream? Please give me your opinions. Your girl needs help!

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About tinafakhriddeen

Tina Fakhrid-Deen is a writer, LGBTQ family activist, and educator. She enjoys writing young adult and children's literature. She loves her family, nature, learning Spanish, hip-hop culture, and cupcakes.
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4 Responses to Self-Care: How Do We Get There?

  1. I suffer from the same “syndrome” you have, Tina. Haven’t quite cracked the code yet, but I think the more you do an action it will eventually turn into a habit. To ensure that you don’t fall off the proverbial wagon I think it helps to have someone or a group of people to hold you accountable. For instance, it helps to have a work out partner or a fitness class you attend. If you miss your classes there will be people asking “what happened to you? we miss you!” It kind of guilts you to return to your practice. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a village to help each other become their best selves! Hope this helps! 🙂

  2. Robin says:

    I’m convinced that part of the self care cycle is in not beating ourselves up too teribly when we fail to achieve 100%:) Not sure I know anyone who consistently gets there in the right doses; we just have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s important and make every attempt to integrate it into our lives as much as possible. As a great colleague and therapist has told me: “Write yourself into your day planner or blackberry as often as possible! You’re worthy of an appointment in your own book of life:)”

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