Raise your hand if you grew up hearing “As a female today, you can do anything you want!” or “Women SHOULD have a career, raise a family and make as much money as a man!” No pressure there, right?
Females of the millennial generation and younger however, are changing this narrative. They are going into careers that allow them to have the flexibility to work remotely, be their own boss and take sabbaticals. Traveling, going to festivals and fun conferences (like comic con). Less emphasis on owning things and more on experiencing things. Waiting to start a family, if at all. Concern for the planet and most importantly, practicing self-care.
Why? In my admittedly semi-biased opinion, I think they listened to their moms! I believe they observed their mom’s struggles and decided to go another way. Just as we observed our moms and decided we wanted more. All parents wish more for their kids than they themselves had. I think this generation took it to heart in a selfishly good way.
Of course “more” is a subjective thing. As women with wisdom and experience, we helped our daughters change the mindset. We realize that you can’t pour from an empty pitcher. You owe yourself the best version of you. “More” starts with self-care as its foundation.
Even though it took us longer to get here, we know we must take care of ourselves, mind, body and soul. A holistic approach to self-care is becoming accepted as the standard in the West. It is now understood how great a toll stress takes on us. We can’t escape it, but by caring for ourselves, we can greatly minimize the effects.
I’m not going to tell you to go live like a millennial, or leave the societal rat race behind and live off the grid in a lotus garden in Tibet. I will tell you, however, that we can learn lessons from both.
No matter what your life goals, you must build them upon that foundation of self-care. Here’s a couple of building blocks everyone can use.
Know the power of your mind. Life doesn’t happen to us. Our choices determine our experience. By deciding how you will react to things, you are in charge of how your life unfolds. You have the power. Use it.
Decide what your priorities are. WRITE THEM DOWN. This makes them tangible and makes you accountable. Start with a priority or goal for the day. Just one thing. Start small. Maybe it’s just to smile more, or to go into a dreaded conference call with a positive attitude. You got this! Then make a goal for the week, month, year. As you go through time, base your decisions on “Will this put me nearer or further from my goal? Does this fit with my priorities?”
Lastly, think about what activities you loved as a child. How can you get that feeling back? Maybe you can’t play soccer or run cross-country anymore, but you can put sneakers on and repeatedly kick a ball into the net, (GOOOOOOAALLL!!), or hike in the woods and observe nature. Physical activity is crucial to holistic wellness. Make it your own.
Taking the little bit of time out to do these things will nourish your soul. Holistic wellness a/k/a self-care leads to happiness. See how easy that was?
Photo credit: David Silver, Hanoi