Take Good Care! The Importance of Self-Care
How to make your self-care top priority in your life & biz
By Lisa Carmen
It’s a remarkable phenomenon. So many of us in the burlesque business invest so little time, energy and money into our greatest liabilities… ourselves. There are many possible reasons for this. Here are a few…
1. We allow our calendars to control our days, instead of controlling our calendars.
2. As passionate performers and producers, we consider our work as a source of great pleasure, so it becomes hard to discern when we are not taking care of ourselves. Until we burn out.
3. There are “more important” things to focus on and self-care seems frivolous or indulgent.
4. We make self-care a grandiose and expensive thing, thus keeping it out of our reach “UNTIL” some more time or money comes along.
5. Deep down inside, (really deep down) we’re just not sure we’re worth it.
I have juggled these justifications for years, as I continued to be the last thing on my list of priorities. I am getting better. What I know for sure is that I cannot afford to not take good care of myself. My body will no longer allow it. My spirit feels weary and weak when I’m not committed to my own self-care. And I cannot do my art from a weak and weary place. Well, actually I can… but it ain’t pretty. And eventually, something breaks down, be it a relationship, my sense of well-being or my body.
Here are some tips that have helped me, and continue to help me, keep myself and the care of me at the top of my to-do list.
1. I schedule self-care in my calendar. I’m a Virgo. If it isn’t planned and written down, it probably isn’t happening. Each month, I block out entire days with a thick line that nothing can get scheduled on. Those are MY days. Untouchable. When I remember not to touch them. When they arrive, I follow my desires and longings and take naps and lounge around, take myself to the movies or to lunch. The challenge: not making these days “errand days”.
2. I (try to) start my day with self-care (most of the time). If it means waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house, do it. Carve a niche of you-time, first thing. Stretch, journal, sit on your porch and think.
3. I barter, trade and negotiate. I am the queen of bartering, and when friends and clients tell me they cannot afford self-care, body work, gym membership, and the like, I know this is just a story, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Can you trade striptease coaching with that massage therapist you know that has always been intrigued by what you do for some bodywork? What do you have to offer that you might trade toward your self-care? Will your local gym allow you free membership for teaching an hourly burlesque class or helping in the nursery a couple hours a week?
Ask for discounts. You’d be surprised how many people want to create a win-win to get your business. Also, deal sites like Groupon and Living Social offer hosts of self-care options on the cheap. Just a quick search in my inbox, and I found body scrubs, reflexology sessions, sauna sessions and other yummy stuff.
Think outside the box. Commit yourself to finding solutions that fit your budget. Then, find them. Most importantly, actually DO them.
4. I remind myself that I am worth it. Yes, it takes effort, money and time to care well for myself. It costs more to buy healthier foods. It takes time to chop and prepare my delicious clean meals when a drive-through is so much cheaper and easier. But we, my dear, are worth the effort. I’m not what you call a “kitchen gal.” So when I find myself impatient, standing over the cutting board, chopping veggies for a super-duper-amazing salad, I tell myself “you are worth this effort.” It helps.
5. Accountability rocks. Align yourself with a friend or two who will help you keep your commitments to yourself. As we all know, it’s easier to keep commitments to others than to ourselves. That’s why we life coaches are in business after all. A weekly e-mail check-in like “So, what’s your self-care plan this week?” And then a follow up “How was it?”, is all it takes to up the notch in our own level of commitment. When I vowed to take myself to a matinee monthly, one of my besties lovingly offered to hold me to it. And I know she will. There are people in your corner waiting to root you on. Let them support you.
Of course, I must admit, I am not what you’d call an expert at committed self-care. Not yet. In fact, each time I DO keep a self-care commitment to myself, I am amazed at how wonderful it is, how much better I feel, and I remind myself to do that more often. It’s good for my body, my soul and my business. Self-care is not a luxury or platitude. If I plan to continue doing my work in the world, and I want to do it from a grounded, centered, sexy, healthy place, self-care is mandatory. I am worth it. And so are you.
Now I’m headed to my calendar to schedule some me time. Why don’t you do that with me, right now?
Lisa Carmen considers herself a Soul Evocateur, Professional Instigator and Devout Sensualist. Writer, Guide, Creator and Lover of Life. She’s the creator and Executive Director of The Burlesque Experience and SacredSexyU, and author of “Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for your Sacred, Sexy Soul.” Lisa Carmen’s been creating workshops and events for women in Dallas for 15 years. Occasionally she speaks of herself in third person, like now. Learn more about Lisa and her work at www.sacredsexyu.com or visit www.theburlesqueexperience.com.