Written by Dawn Mucci
Self-Care may seem obvious and necessary to most, but did you know that many of us could use way more of it than we are currently getting? We’ve all known someone or heard stories about business people and parents who end up burning out or having their health compromised because of unhealthy expectations, striving, coping mechanisms or lifestyle choices.
It is not uncommon for women to strive to do it all, manage it all and be it all. “Super Woman syndrome” is alive and well, especially in the society we live in today. We are bombarded with distractions and extra pressure through social media and technology. Women bear most of the work load not only at home, but also in the work force; as a mompreneur and being the owner of your own business, you can easily imagine how much stress you are under on a daily basis. Stress and being overwhelmed is a common thing among working women and it is not something that is often spoken about. The same holds true for men, but one thing women can count on is their ability to ask for help and to recognize when they need help.
I know from personal experience how hard managing a business and family life can be. I have had my fair share of sleepless nights, heart palpitations and anxiety. I was under a lot of pressure to succeed and achieve, and I had a lot of responsibility. My desire to strive for success and my high expectations caused much of the stress and symptoms I experienced. I will admit that I went down some wrong roads while in the midst of dealing with my own stressors. The expectations I put on myself as a mother and business owner were way too high and my health suffered as a result of it. The price I paid was high: I smoked too much back then and perhaps had a bit too much wine sometimes at the end of the day. I forgot to eat most days and I hardly took time to take care of myself. I was always “go, go, go!” — until I was literally gone. Eventually my poor choices became more of a problem than the problems I was dealing with; I was at a breaking point, but fortunately I recognized this, and I asked for help.
My epiphany came when I asked myself some serious questions: What the heck am I striving so hard for and who do I have to prove myself to anyway? Why am I doing so much and why am I not saying no more often or asking for more help? I realized that day I was my own worst enemy and I was the only one who could take back my life and create the life I wanted at home and in my business. I was done stretching myself too thin and trying to please everyone. I was tired of neglecting myself and prioritizing everyone else’s needs before my own. So I decided then and there to take a “Dawn Day”.
“Dawn Day” is something I promised to myself, and since I began doing it, I look forward to it each week. At first I thought it was excessive and selfish, but as I got into it, I realized it was the most giving and beneficial thing I could do not only for myself, but for my family, coworkers and colleagues. Before undertaking this day I had to get really good at negotiating, influencing, delegating and organizing my time. It’s not easy to get others to do things they are not used to doing in order to help you, but all you really have to do is ask. Once I figured that out, I picked my day; now every Thursday is “Dawn Day”. The day consists of only two things: self-care and pampering. I do various things like massage, vitamin injections, meditation classes, therapy, yoga, spa treatments, steams, acupuncture, colonics, walking, listening to audio books, praying, hiking, singing, dancing, taking myself to lunch, and more. Name anything to do with self-care and pampering and I do it! The day usually ends with a nice hot bath and an early bedtime.
This one day on a weekly basis has created the space I need to reflect on things and to appreciate who I am as an individual outside of the roles and responsibilities I have at home and work. It gives me a break in the week that rejuvenates me and reinforces how much I matter to myself and those around me. It allows me to focus on the challenges I need to face day to day and strengthens my resolve. Since starting “Dawn Day” I have become more mindful of how important it is to take care of one’s self, and that realization and focus on health now spills over into my day to day life. I take at least one hour per day for self-care, not as intense as on the full “Dawn Day”, but keeping up with the important things like exercising, eating well, mediation and prayer.
When I tell other women about “Dawn Day” I either see a light go off in their eyes as they imagine how wonderful and possible it would be, or they get irritated and say they try but never seem to find the time. “It must be nice to have that kind of time on your hands”, they say. My answer to that is I make the time and there is no trying, only doing. Yes, I just quoted Yoda, and I do so often!
I believe I have actually found the secret sauce to happiness and success. Yes, it is a secret sauce, and yes, we all have a full supply of it. It’s called self-love, care and contentment. You will become a much more happy and productive person if you choose to pour some of this secret sauce on your own life. Call your day Maria’s Monday, Trish’s Tuesday, or Sara’s Sunday. It only matters that you take the day and make it all about you! It may be hard at first to actually carve out a full day and fill it with things that bring you wellbeing and joy, but as Madonna says, “Get into the Groove”.
All you need is the desire to make it happen, along with the knowledge that taking time for yourself doing what you love most is the most important thing you can do for yourself and those you love and care for. Only you know what makes you happy and what makes you tick. Take a day to do those things and do them on a regular basis. Trust me and give it a try. Just watch how the quality of your family and business life improves!
Dawn Mucci is an Elite+ Mompreneur Member based out of Innisfil, Ontario. She is the Founder & CEO of Lice Squad Canada.