Oops! I Forgot to Look After Myself!
by Linda McCann
Whenever I facilitate a session on self care for women, I find they are frequently moved, often to tears, when they realize they have not been tending to themselves. Rather, they have been taking care of others, their parents, children, partners, people at work, their home, their community… and they are on overwhelm.
Author Marci Shimoff’s words aptly capture what women experience: “ I speak to women in all parts of the world and we are all on overwhelm… when we are in overwhelm what goes out the window first is our self care, so we are in many ways abandoning ourselves because of this treadmill we are on in trying to keep up with the overwhelm.”
How does our self care end up out the window? As one woman told me at a recent workshop, taking care of herself, especially in her East Indian culture, was considered selfish. Another woman mentioned that if she took some self care, she might be disappointing others. And as caretakers of the world, women often don’t recognize how vulnerable they are until they are totally spent or sick, depleted or traumatized. And then, they don’t know where to start.
I have been referring people to Dr. Sara Gottfried’s work and website, where she shares ideas about how to increase the bonding/love hormone oxytocin to help de-stress and bring our hormones into balance. This, in turn, contributes to good rest and well being. One blog on Dr. Gottfried’s site notes several oxytocin-producing activities: hug, laugh, play, look into someone’s eyes and smile, give gratitude, orgasm, or play with a pet.
One of my favourite oxytocin builders is being in nature… where I can experience beauty, fresh air, space, and exercise—just like in this photo above taken in the Great Sand Hills in southwest Saskatchewan. And what about yours?
Linda McCann, of Saskatoon, has worked across Canada as a personal and leadership development consultant for close to 35 years. Recently, she and her long-time colleague and collaborator, Lillas Hatala, launched Women in Leadership for Life (WILL) aimed at bringing women leaders together, in person and virtually, to get clear on their leadership for life path, to provide development needed along the way, and to build a community of unprecedented support. Visit them online at www.womeninleadershipforlife.ca. Also, see the display ad on page 28 of the 20.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal for more information.