Why is self care so hard to maintain?
When life becomes complicated, self care is usually the first thing we let go.
Exercise, meditation, unstructured time with the family...that is where we start to make the cuts because it is "discretionary" spending of our time. (This happens for the same reason we cut cable before we cut electricity. You have to make choices when resources are scarce.)
The challenge is that by cutting down on self-care we often leave ourselves less able to perform in the crisis. We get tired. We get emotionally depleted. We get sick.
Maybe this is the reason that it is so important to be in community. I remember a day when I was in back-to-back meetings all day, how amazing it felt when Kathy-of-the-Mom-Bows simply brought me a bottle of water. Or when I'm feeling overwhelmed and John offers to go put gas in my car so that I have time to move a little slower the next morning.
Little acts of care can have a profound impact for people who are in a season where they are having to cut back on self care.
I'm not saying self-care isn't important. It should be. And for the people who don't feel like they deserve self-care or believe it is selfish and never do it, it shows. But for most of us, it isn't enough for someone to say "you should prioritize you." In crisis, there aren't enough resources. We wind up making hard decisions.
And that is where the people who show care for us when we don't ask for it, make a lasting, permanent impact. Healthy people are able to both give and receive, but sometimes circumstances shape which one we need the most.