The notion of radical self-care is something Anne Lamott refers to frequently. You can read more about her definition of this term here. She consistently mentions radical self-care in much of her writings–especially her Facebook posts. Radical self-care, to Anne, is when we put ourselves at the head of the line, which may sound selfish, but in actuality it is a form of self-preservation.
One ultra-radical self-care move for me was when I decided to leave my part-time job. You can read about this life change here. When I worked outside the home, I found myself taking on more and more because I felt so guilty that I was not at home with my children. At the time, I didn’t want to stay at home, and that brought another set of baggage. I felt insufficient, tired, and angry, which made me feel like a horrible mother/person. The cycle was ugly, and during this struggle I realized that I wanted something different. I had to move myself to the front of the line in order to maintain my sanity and my family’s sense of well-being. I chose myself, and this has made all the difference.
On a day-to-day basis, I have found a gift in self-care through having hypoglycemia. My radical self-care takes the shape of necessity, in this regard. I must maintain my blood sugar, and so I snack regularly. I am a protein junkie, and this requires diligence at the store, at the kitchen counter, and everywhere. I run through a litany of questions: Do I have snacks? When did I eat last? What did I eat last? When do I eat next? I am tethered to my physical body so that I can do my life. If I did not radically care for my protein habit, I would be no good to anyone but most of all, useless to myself.
Isn’t that the bottom line? If we do not care for ourselves, we cannot care for those who need us and for those we love. Our care must start with us. Here is one secret: it is not selfish to radically care for yourself. It is a must. Take care of yourself, so that you can go and do the work you were put here to do. You are not being selfish by taking care of your you.
Photo credit: Dawn Endico / Foter / CC BY-SA