OPINION: On self-care, was I wrong? Nope

OPINION: On self-care, was I wrong? Nope



Previously in this column, I wrote about mental health, breaking down how each of us could be dealing with its challenges, maybe unknowingly, in the form of everyday stress.

Then, yes, I stressed the importance of your own needs – what you want and require to feel truly fulfilled and healthy. And that, yes, it's a matter of self-care.

Well, one reader responded by sharing links to some self-care articles, voicing their frustration with how ridiculous self-care advice can be. The advice ranged from ditching your kids with a babysitter to go to a movie or restaurant, to rubbing mango on your face. (#notjudging) 

And, hey, some of those ideas may actually work for some while not for others. (#freethemangoes)

The person assured me their gripe wasn't with me, but with how self-care advice is oftentimes impractical. 

I agreed completely. That being said, I still think self-care is a priority.  

Here’s the difference between me and the mango-meet-face people: How you do self-care is up to you! That’s why in the previous column I never suggested exactly what self-care looks like. Different actions yield different results for different people. 

And that’s why coaching is generalist work … to start. No coach can arrive with a bag full of tricks, guaranteeing a 100 percent success rate. (So, I possess no mangoes, movie tickets, or restaurant gift certificates.) To reinforce everyone’s uniqueness, in my presentations and writings, I always convey that what I’m sharing is general advice and possible options to get you thinking. 

It’s like when people say the Golden Rule  – do unto others … – is wrong, and that the Platinum Rule ( … as they would have you do unto them) should be used instead. But how can you know what someone needs from the get-go, without first getting to know them?

You’ve seen this play out in your life already, though. You’ve probably tweaked past advice you’ve received to fit your own experiences and circumstances. Advice, whether it’s the timing, steps taken, or emotion or confidence used, etc., is not one-size-fits-all.

That’s where accountability comes in. You need to want to get better. No one can do that for you. It can start with a partnership, yes, but we all must demonstrate how important our own lives and work are to us. We have to show we mean business, and that we want the best for ourselves.

The same work applies to self-care. When it comes to the work needed, I can’t customize my writing to each reader. I keep it general, so it falls on you to review what I write, assess your own circumstances, reach out with any questions, decide what works best for you, and get to work. 

I’ve been meaning to write a column about advice, and how you need to determine what’s best for you. I guess I just did.

John M. Jaramillo is leadership coach and development consultant based and living in Plainville. You can reach him at johnmjaramillo@coachitout.com


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