Self-care is critical for me to be high functioning at my job. When I work with my clients, I’m very serious about showing up as my best self for every conversation and communication.
My dearest Emily Tepper and I broke down self-care on the phone a few months ago. She started, “When you hold space for women the way you do, self-care actually becomes serious business. You need to make time for it like your life depends on it.” This felt true. She was delivering the permission I needed to hear that week, so I dug a bit further.
“Alright I hear you, but it isn’t sinking in. I am feeling shaky on what that looks like. Can you give me the quick and dirty on what that means?”
Here’s a side note on that question I posed to Emily: I had forgotten “what that looks like” because I became a mother; and the messaging mothers are hearing is: "Give up everything—everything—for that baby." And going into that momma cave is when we lose our way. We forget how to generously take care of others because it’s been too long since we cared for ourselves. It is my responsibility to take exquisite care of myself, not my man’s, family's or community's responsibility to check in and make sure my cup runneth over. That is always my choice. It’s not, “when momma is happy, everyone is happy;” rather, “when momma takes responsibility for her own happiness and makes it priority number one, everyone is happy.”
Now back to my conversation with Emily.
Emily’s response was brilliant and has stuck with me ever since. She said, “Great self-care is pleasure research.”
Pleasure research. That phrase shifted my perspective. What feels pleasurable vs. what feels stale. This was a totally brilliant and light bulb moment for me. Self-care can mean anything.
I examined the books I was reading, the little alone time I have, the moments of transitioning from one to the next and asked, “Is there pleasure here?”
When you go through your morning ritual: Is there pleasure here?
When you go to your yoga class: Is there pleasure here?
When you eat dinner: Is there pleasure here?
So, if you are feeling like the foundation of your work needs strength, explore pleasure. Receive pleasure. Sink into pleasure. Pleasure is the soil creativity and productivity will blossom from. Abundantly.