According to a recent UN report, modern women carry out at least two and a half times unpaid and household and care work than men. However, this is rarely recognised as “work”. Things have definitely changed with well-intentioned men taking on more work at home, but it is clearly not enough. And this is not just because of sexism on the part of men, it also due to conditioning of both men and women while growing up.
Inevitably, for most women, an impeccable home and well groomed children often become linked to their sense of self-worth and they are often taught be a good girl or a good mother by giving of themselves at any cost.
Women are both natural caregivers and also conditioned to be one
As I mentioned earlier, the first reason why self care is a courageous and radical act of love for women is because of our conditioning to be a giver.
Women are natural caregivers and are usually the primary caregivers in their families. However, often without realising we end up overgiving and run on empty without giving ourselves some respite. We then start feeling resentful of our responsibilities and feel demotivated and stressed.
Let me start by asking you a question-
Do you often find yourself saying..
“I never have time for myself to do the things that I love”– the underlying meaning might be that you are not making time for your need
“My household work and taking care of ny children takes up all of my time”– what you might mean is that you are prioritising housework and your children above your own needs at all times
I see this a lot in my friends, family, and clients and I am personally very familiar with this myself. However, as I have learned to set healthy boundaries for myself and put in place a consistent self care practice, I find that I feel like this less and less often than before.
So ask yourself- do you feel deprived of
- Good company?
- More me time?
- More quality sleep?
- A creative outlet or a hobby?
Women are not taught how to respect and show appreciation for themselves
The second reason why self care is a courageous and radical act of love for women is the fact that we are not shown how to have respect for ourselves and show appreciation towards ourselves for who we are right now.
Instead, we spend most of our lives trying to fit in, moulding ourselves in the space that is available to us. Girls (even more so than boys) are conditioned to do this right from the start and this becomes a way of life.
Later, as women, we learn how to say the right things, in the right manner and at the right time. We learn how to modify our behaviour to please others and keep the peace. With time, many women start to lose their identity and often reach a point in their lives when they no longer know who they really are or what they stand for.
The thing is, in order to change this aspect of ourselves, we need to see self care as “extraordinary mothering“. Just as a mother stands up for her child and is tuned in to her needs, our self care practice has to be in alignment with our needs.
Just as a mother loves her child and attends to her needs no matter what the circumstances are, our self care practice should be designed to provide the “mothering” that we desperately need.
Going against “conventional” norms to be healthy
The third and final reason why I feel that self care is a courageous, as well as a radical act for most women, is the fact that in today’s society, in many ways we have to go against conventional norms in order to become healthy and stay healthy.
Our current environment is unfortunately not really conducive to good health- things like good quality and adequate sleep, strong relationships and being able to manage stress is hard to come by for most people. Infact, by following general advice of exercising more and dieting, we are often making things worse since good health goes much beyond that.
Infact, by following general advice of exercising more and dieting, we are often making things worse since good health goes much beyond that.
By creating your own self practice you can decide and choose for yourself
- What works for your body
- What fits into your lifestyle
- What you can sustain given your current family situation
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