By Nike Training
Before you can show up for anyone else, first you have to show up for yourself.
Let’s get one thing straight: Self-care isn’t selfish! In fact, making time to take care of yourself, which definitely includes working out, is one of the most profound ways to take care of other people — your work, family and friends. When you don't take good care of yourself, you feel depleted, so you’re not able to give 100 percent to the people and responsibilities in your life. In the long view, self-care is actually selfless, not selfish.
“It may seem obvious, but to build your grit — the stamina that helps you overcome obstacles in workouts and in life — it helps to come at the challenge fully-charged.”
“The best metaphor for this is how on an airplane, if there’s an emergency, you’re instructed to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others,” says Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania professor and author of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance. “Before you can be available to anyone else, you need to make sure you’ve taken care of yourself with exercise, sleep, yoga, whatever refills your cup.” It may seem obvious, but to build your grit — the stamina that helps you overcome obstacles in workouts and in life — it helps to come at the challenge fully-charged.
The most common excuse for why someone can’t fit in some self-care? “I’m too busy.” But try telling that to soccer star Julie Ertz, an Olympian on the U.S. World Cup team. She wakes up extra-early to make time for self-care every morning before her grueling practices. “I’m naturally an early-riser, and I love it, because I have my coffee, go for a run, and then read. It's my time in the morning,” she says. “I love my own space to get right mentally. I think alone time really helps me get positive, assess where I am and where I need to be.”
If you think the schedule for a soccer pro isn’t demanding enough, in addition to her peaceful mornings, Ertz sets aside other times for additional self-care including swimming, gentle yoga, getting to bed early enough to clock nine hours of sleep, meditation, and regular massages. “Massage is really relaxing, not just for my muscles — it’s huge for my mind,” Ertz says. All that time spent on self-care is equally important to Ertz’s time on the practice field—helping her perform her best.
If there's one thing to take away from Ertz’s routine off the field, it’s that self-care is actually selfless, not selfish. We challenge you to try incorporating more time to do what refuels you, and then notice if your workouts, your job, and your relationships feel easier because you’ve made time to put on your own oxygen mask first. Also, consider this micro-change to easily slot more self-care moments into your busy day.
Make It a Habit: Try attaching one small self-care moment to something you do every day, like taking a deep inhale and exhale every time you stop at a red light, or focusing on your goals for the day while you eat breakfast instead of scrolling through social media. Each time you take a moment to refill your cup, make sure to congratulate yourself — you’re doing the best thing for everyone in your life.