The Most Overlooked Aspect of Self Care

Why your job may be the most important part of self care.

Self care isn’t just about meditating and spa treatments (although a good spa treatment and some Zen can help boost any soul). Self care also includes work choices. I know, we don’t think about or talk about our careers and jobs in this way, but we should.

I have countless family, friends, and clients who are tremendously unhappy in their current role or job. You’ve likely seen a post (or maybe you’ve written or shared a post) about the dreaded Monday. Mondays get a bad rap. In all honesty, Monday isn’t the issue…I mean really, Monday never hurt anyone. It’s likely where you have to go on Monday or what you have to do on Monday (or a combination of both) that’s causing the stress. I’ve heard the stories about people crying as they sit in their cars preparing to go into the office, or feeling a lack of confidence because they are undervalued and unappreciated for their role at their job. The amount of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual stress many are under – stress that is directly attributed to a job or career that is not providing fulfillment – is too high.

If self care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” (Oxford Dictionary), then we should consider that our work-related choices and decisions can certainly impact our well-being. It’s time to reframe how we think about our jobs and careers. Consider this:

1. You spend 8 to 12 hours working or thinking about work. THAT is a lion’s share of life space, almost half on a daily basis, at least Monday through Friday. With such a high percentage of your life being put towards work, I think it’s imperative that your work not diminish your self care routine, but rather contribute to improving and preserving your health…all aspects of your health – mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

2. Your job/career is an integral part of defining who you are. When meeting new people, personally or professionally, within the first three to five questions, if not the second question, you will likely be asked what you do. It is a main topic for getting to know someone, because what we do helps to inform others, rightly or not, about who we are, our character, and how we think. Our jobs and careers are also something that we take pride in, as it serves as an accomplishment. Because our jobs and careers provide a sense of pride, fulfillment, and accomplishment, and to some degree jobs are woven into the tapestry of self, I believe work is a crucial key to self love if you plan to care for your entire tapestry.

3. You can change jobs or careers to add to your fulfillment at any time. I think this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway…if your job or career choice is causing you pain and misery, then it’s time to make a change. It is okay to change jobs or decide you want to do something different. As a part of self care, you should do something that ACTUALLY provides a sense of pride, fulfillment, and accomplishment. For the 8 to 12 hours a day that you are with people who are not necessarily family or friends, you should know that those people value and appreciate you and the work you do. Changing careers or jobs doesn’t unravel your tapestry; it adds another vibrant thread.

I encourage you to consider how your work affects and folds into your self care. Your health and wellness are the most important things you have so take care of them in all ways and always.

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