We give a lot of lip service to the idea of self-care, but I think in reality we fail to take the need for it as seriously as we take our obligations to work, work and, well … more work.
I have been in my life, among other things, a massage therapist and so I am familiar with the results of the failure to take good care of ourselves – tight muscles, lack of flexibility, moodiness, the inability to think well, perform well and general malaise. This can be avoided, but it means we need to alter our mindset around the deification of work and what it mean to live a good life.
For a lot of people working hard is a 40+ hour work week – we haven’t worked hard unless we are ready to pass out. I call that abuse and neglect, actually, I know personally that it is abuse and neglect. I now work part-time. I work hard when I am working, but I am making it a priority to do some serious stoking of the fire in my free time – working out, meditation and/or massage among other things. I love to read, write and loll around doing large chunks of nothing as well.
Time for simply being is just as essential to a well-lived life as engaging in purpose-driven activity. Unfortunately we live in a society that has largely forgotten this, regarding it as the pursuit of weaklings and those who are a bit soft in the head … until that is those devotees pass out and open up their own soft heads on the unforgiving and indifferent corner of the office desk.
Do I really need to underline how pointless, stupid and pathetic this sort of orientation to the pursuit of living is? We can do better, often we just don’t. We choose not to. I am not much a one for making resolutions, but perhaps we can at least open ourselves up a little more to the possibility that living a good life shouldn’t mean maiming ourselves in the name of ‘hard work’ or proving our worth.
We have intrinsic worth and this means that our real obligation is first to ourselves.
Be a maverick and choose to at least wonder about what it would mean to really care for the one precious life you’ve been given.
Then, stoke your fire.