Every day, we as women are bound to so many responsibilities and “I need too”s that it can be difficult to take care of our single most important responcibility. It is more important than who we need to pay, who’s needs we have to take care of or what ever needs to be done by the end of the day. More important than even our families. We are all absolutely guilty of neglecting the one person we cannot afford to neglect. Ourselves! How can we possibly be present for every one and everything else if we are running on empty? I’ll tell you how, we simply can’t. I learned very quickly that I lost my ability to be patient, caring, be creative and honouring to the people I support when I’m hungry, tired, stressed and neglected. People, I need you to understand with 100% certainty that you and you alone can meet your basic needs. You are the only one who can ensure you are nourished, rested, groomed, and cared for. Making your own self care a priority will ensure that you are available to care for the needs of others and your many responsibilities. Now, I understand that time, budget and other life restrictions can play havoc with our ability to care for ourselves but we need to do the best we can with what we have. Sometimes it takes a little creativity but it is possible. So let’s break it down into the basic needs that every human being has and look at some strategies for meeting those needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs list six categories of what each person needs to feel safe, secure, productive and happy. These needs are what motivates and drives our every action. Listed in order of importance according to Maslow, they are;
Physiological; Air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, cellular phones (kidding)
Safety; physical, financial, psychological, health, wellbeing
Love and belonging; family, friends, significant others, pets, community, work, spiritual
Esteem; confidence, sense of contribution, respect
Self-Actualization; passion, drive, ambition, accomplishment
I could write a book about Maslow’s theory and many have, but I want to keep it simple. We all lack in one or more of these areas at any given time and it drives us to better our lives. Imbalance in one area can cause us to hyper focus in others, creating misguided efforts and a large imbalance. Continuous improvement in meeting these needs allow us to be more present and available to support others. Taking care of our needs means we are showing respect and gratitude for ourselves and the unique people we are. Our most important work in our lifetime is to meet our basic needs. So here are some questions you can ask your self so that you can make a game plan for meeting your own needs, based on Maslow’s hierarchy.
Are you eating nutritious food? Exercising at least three times a week? Sleeping 7-9 hours a night? Is your home uncluttered and welcoming? Are you caring for your unique health needs?
Are you safe in your work place, home, community? Do you need to reach out to someone for help? Is your money invested safely? Do you have an emergency fund? Do you need a financial advisor? Are you getting emotional support, do you have someone you trust who you can talk to if you need them?
Love and Belonging:
Do you need to grow your social circle, are there social groups you can join? When was the last time you saw your loved ones? Are you due for a family dinner, girl night out, social gathering? Have you received your quota of minimum required daily hugs?
Are you contributing in a positive way at home, work, socially? Do you have a reason to get up in the morning? What are your skills and talents, can they be put to better use? Is there a talent you are hiding that the world needs to see? Are you being authentic? Are you grateful for the many amazing things in your life?
What’s your passion, are you following it? Is there something you always want to try or do? Are you doing work that you love and feels meaningful?
Where it comes to self care you are the only person that you need to answer to, that’s the good news. On the other hand you are the only one who can make you truly happy, no one else can do that. That is where self actualization, dicipline and care is essential. Sure you can be happy with your spouse, partner kids, friends , etc. But when it comes to happiness the entire weight of it is on your shoulders. This is also good news because once you realize this you are in control! Looking deeply into your needs as listed above, not only helps you to understand your self better it gives you areas to focus you effort on. You may find that you have met your need for Esteem but you are falling short in Love and belonging. If that is the case it makes no sense to continue being accomplishment focused while ignoring your family and relationships. Your career will not crash around your feet if you make time for the people you love, and if it does then perhaps that area of your life is not as developed as you think. You need to balance all your needs to be happy.
Over the next several months I’ll be writing my posts based around these needs and how to balance them. If I do my job right on this blog, my Tuesday posts and the challenges that follow each Friday can act as a workshop for self development. Keep the line of communication open and let me know what you want to see posts written about.
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I would also love to hear from you if your have any thought or comments. I can take brutal honesty so don’t be shy.