A Case for Self-Care

September 29, 2019

I recently spent a wonderful day at RebelleCon, a Richmond-based conference that was founded in 2017 by a couple women who were “sick of the ‘go hard or go home’ messaging that was causing so many of our peers to burn out, get discouraged, or confirm their feeling that they are not enough.”

The main event day featured exceptional female creatives and entrepreneurs who are defining and creating their own versions of success. The program was organized around four themes: Wellness, Money, Creativity, and Community, and each theme had speakers representative of those respective areas. But what I found most interesting, as I listened to the stories of these women who overcame great obstacles to find success, was the overarching theme of self-care.

Now, we all know self-care is big right now, and I think a lot of that awareness came to be because of Queer Eye, a show I absolutely love and have binged-watched oh, so many times. If you’ve seen it, you know our girl Johnathan Van Ness is ALL about the importance of self-care.

But for some reason, I never thought about self-care beyond putting on a face mask once in a while, or taking time to work out. After attending the conference, I have a far deeper understanding of the incredible power of self-care and its effect on all aspects of my life. I’ve learned that it’s about your mentality, not your physicality. It’s about connecting with yourself, listening to your body, and finding value in who you are, just as you are. Allow me to share some of my favorite quotes from the day:

On the ROI of self-care:

“Self-care is an investment like insurance. We get life insurance, car insurance, we insure our jewelry. What about insuring our well-being? Investing in self-care prepares you to be able to better handle crises in the future.”

– Tashira Halyard, lifestyle blogger, @politicsandfshn, breast cancer survivor

On self-care being the root of power and confidence:

“Daily self-care is a current of truth against the insecurities in your life. Power comes through commitment and showing up for yourself everyday.”

– Ashley Beaudin, speaker and visionary, The Imperfect Boss

On having a mindset of “body neutrality” instead of “body positivity”:

“Body neutrality creates space where you don’t have to feel positive all the time, which can create room for failure. The idea of body neutrality is, my body is my home for this lifetime and sometimes I hate this vessel or I love this vessel, but it’s my body, and I’m going to respect it.”

– Bethany Meyers, NYC-based master instructor, @thebecomeproject

Beautiful, powerful words. And the last one about body neutrality was really interesting to me. Like many women, I struggle with how I feel about my body, especially after giving birth. And I’ve often felt like a failure when I couldn’t work out consistently enough to lose the 10 pounds I’ve wanted to lose since college. Bethany Myers made a strong case for shifting our motive for working out; that it shouldn’t be all about vanity because of the very reason she mentioned above – it creates room for failure. Instead we should find other motives like, “I’m going to work out because I have a lot on my mind, and it’ll help me re-focus” or, “I have a big meeting coming up and working out will give me the strength and confidence I need to do a good job.” 🙌🏽 Amazing, right?

I now realize that I’m not putting on a face mask just for better skin, but because making the time to do something for me shows I am worth investing in. As Johnathan Van Ness says, “Self-care is the non-negotiable. That's the thing that you have to do. And beauty is the thing that can be the benefit of the self-care. Beauty is not the point. Beauty is just a cute side-effect from self-care.“

Before the conference, my attitude towards self-care was that I needed to do better, but simply didn’t have time for it. I now realize how absolutely vital it is to live a full, healthy, and happy life. That it’s directly connected to the success of my goals + priorities in life: to be a good mother, wife, business owner, etc. After all, I can’t put out into the world what I don’t have in me. If I don’t love or value myself, how can I find the energy to show love and value others?

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