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The 12 Step Self-Care Program for Every Woman

Sara Durcholz

Posted on January 09 2018


Hashtags like #treatyoself and #selflove have caught on much like our insatiable love of a good messy bun beanie. Once a unicorn we only dreamed of, we are now fully embracing the idea (well, both ideas).  But the truth is, not all of us even know how to approach this idea of self-care. I'll admit that I'm the first one to be a stranger to the idea of focusing on myself. For the last several years, I've been pouring my efforts into my first baby, Single Thread.  Now, I have a real baby, and majority of my time, energy, and love is being poured into him...then there's the hubs, my family, my fur babies, my friends, and my employees.


So enough is enough. We've got to get on this self-love train. Because a ran down, ragged boss babe is no babe at all if she's not taken care of. So here's our 12 step program to doing the unthinkable...being self-aware of YOUR needs. But these aren't your “go get coffee and nails done” type of tips, these are foundations of self that we must practice to truly understand caring for yourself.

  1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.

Gut.  My dad always told me, “Just trust your gut JoJo.”   It's always there, that voice. We just don't always listen to it. But it's there to protect us if we listen. So to truly guard yourself, you've got to listen to your heart and soul. Your body is a vessel of energy with the ability to feel things. Why in the world aren't we always open to hearing it? So if it feels wrong, DON’T DO IT! Whether it's a business decision, a relationship, or a simple shoe purchase. We've got to be open to acknowledging our feelings and acting accordingly.


  1. Say exactly what you mean.

I’ll admit, I struggle with this.  I’m a very empathetic person.  I have the innate ability to ALWAYS take in someone else’s feelings before my own, so when it comes down to actually saying what I mean or feel, I sometimes clam up because I want to protect the person across from me.  But, we're adults. Gone are the days of childish games of conversations that take a decoder to translate. Of course, we all still act a little childish in our communications….like not saying what we feel or not communicating our wants. But what good does that do for any of us?! We are left feeling unsatisfied, and everyone else is confused or misinformed.  We are doing a disservice to those we care about by not being honest with them.  So if we have to put our big pants on and do adult things like pay mortgages and property taxes, we can at least say what we mean, and say it until it is understood.


  1. Don’t be a people pleaser.

This is the ultimate of the self care ideals. Because if you are a people pleaser, you are ignoring yourself. Period. Don't get us wrong, there's nothing wrong with be a little selfless and caring for others. But if you are a guilty people pleaser, you know your people pleasing goes beyond love and care. It always comes at a cost of neglect and self doubt. So start putting yourself first before others.


  1. Trust your instincts.

Trusting your instincts is much like listening to your gut, but goes a little beyond that. It's like taking your bodily awareness and adding your knowledge of the situation to create this badass thing called instinct. Sometimes, it’s hard to explain.  It’s much like when you’re not getting a good vibe or something feels off, it’s your gut instinct trying to tell you something. It's the pattern of behavior that we are used to acting on. So if we know we don't normally do A, B, or C, then don't doubt that.



  1. Never speak bad about yourself.

Ouch. Guilty. Party of One. What a task?! We are our own worst enemy at times. We criticize, poke, prod, demean, and even emotionally self abuse. We have to start being nicer to ourselves, and LOVE ourselves fully. And that starts with talk. Don't let yourself talk that negativity into yourself or your body. We have to shut down those thoughts when they rear their ugly head. Love on yourself.  I always thought being self-deprecating was a good quality, until I heard others being the same way and I’m screaming “Don’t talk about yourself that way!  You’re awesome in every way!  You’re beautiful, you’re badass!”  This has to stop.  We have to give ourselves access to speak about ourselves in the most amazing way possible, because you know what, we are!


  1. Never give up on your dreams.

I know this sounds so cliche, but I can’t count on two hands how many people told me “Don’t open a store.  Don’t give up your steady paycheck.  You can’t do that.”  I’m the last person you want to tell that I can’t do something...it just fuels my fire.  At the same time though, a life unlived is so unsatisfying. So how do you live?  You follow your dreams. If we aren't dreaming, what are we doing? Our dreams give us motivation and a path to journey. They are the biggest part of ourselves. So if we give up on them, we are giving up on ourselves.


    7.  Don’t be afraid to say no.


Ok, people pleasers and habitual yes-ers, this one’s for you.  I myself am SO guilty of this.  Saying no is the hardest thing for so many to do. Fear of rejection, lost opportunity, broken relationships, and even failure, haunts us like those shoes we didn't buy. (Ok, maybe a little worse.) But by saying no, you are saying yes to yourself. Yes to more time, more freedom, less stress, and room for yourself and your own wants.  There are so many times when I started this business that I just had this gut feeling I shouldn’t, but I said yes anyway, and do you know where I ended up?  Angry, bitter, frustrated, and more because things didn’t go according to plan or run smoothly like I wanted.  I’ve learned that if it just doesn’t fit into my life at that time, I just say no, and THAT’S OKAY.  And by starting this habit, I’m a much happier and centered person.


  1. Don’t be afraid to say yes.

On the same token of saying no, there are times when saying yes is just as hard. Sometimes we don't seize opportunities or take risks or follow through. We say no too much when it comes to ourselves. So we have to start saying yes. Yes, I'll take that trip. Yes, I'll start that class. Yes, I'll add that product. Yes, I will have that extra glass of wine.  My husband and I have a hard time with this, and we’re learning.  We have a goal to have so much money in our savings, retirement accounts, etc., but I have to try and remind not only myself but him that this life we have is not certain.  Tomorrow we could not be here, so seize the day and say yes to things that you are holding yourself back from doing!


  1. Be kind to yourself.

Being kind to yourself starts with saying nice things like I mentioned before, but then the follow through is key. Follow up with doing. Get rest. Destress. Treat yo self. Buy a nice outfit. Get your nails done. Whatever you don't normally do for yourself, do it.  Yesterday, no one was home and Nathan wasn’t coming home with Emmett until 5:30.  I was working and had so much left to do, but I just needed 30 minutes to myself of no work, no husband, and no baby.  I made a goal to work until 4:30 and then make a bubble bath...and you know what?  I did it, and it was AH-MAZING.  Be kind to yourself and know that you deserve these times.  And don't feel unworthy. You're damn worthy. And you better start accepting it.


  1. Let go of what you can’t control.

Can I get an AMEN?!  For millions of years, humans have tried to control the things of life. And we still haven't accomplished it yet. So what does this mean? It's wasted effort, useless fretting, leaking energy. Stop harboring the idea that you can control things that aren't controllable. Let it go. Let it be. For years now, I’ve struggled with seeing other businesses copying what STB creates.  It’s a struggle, and honestly, it’s one of my worst qualities.  I get so worked up and upset, but I’m making it a goal to LET GO.  I can’t control everything or everyone.  I’m only human.  I have to focus on myself, my business, and my life, and let go of everything else.


  1. Stay away from drama and negativity.

Ok, all you Tay Tay’s out there. Time to write that anthem, make peace with it, and move on. If you see drama coming your way, you better turn around and run like Jason is chasing after you. You don't need drama in your life. The negativity you surround yourself with, it seeps into every crevice of your life. Get rid of it, and see how everything turns around.


  1. Love.

Like Sex & The City movie numero uno, the greatest of these is LOVE.  Love yourself, love others. Breathe it. Speak it. Do it. The world needs more love. It's like shining a light into the darkest cavern. It heals and joins and bonds like nothing else. It's the end all be all of self care. And we must practice it daily for the rest of our lives.  

 

So here is your homework. These 12 steps will start guiding you to the fields of self-care. It is time, time for an internal peek...a little love thyself. Because someone smart once said, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. 

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