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When it comes to maintaining work and family, do women neglect themselves?
Amongst the stress and demands that accumulate in our busy lives, we women forget to take care of ourselves. We may have great many good intentions, but often we end up frustrating ourselves by putting off things that need our attention. This frustration grows with the increasing pile of unchecked tasks on our to-do lists. With so much around that demands our attention, the first thing we sacrifice is taking care of our individual selves.

Why people (and women in particular) neglect themselves?

Common sense supports that any tool that is continually used without proper maintenance becomes worn and unfit for the job! So, why do so many women not take the time to nurture themselves? What might be getting in their way?

- Not taking care of you may be a lifelong pattern, because taking care of others an easier option! In other words, you are too busy in meeting the needs of others that you neglect taking care of yourself.

- Some beliefs such as, ''I am not deserving of car'', ''If I don't do it, no one will'', ''If I do it right, I will get the love, attention and respect I deserve'' play a large part.

- Self-nurturance is often confused with self-indulgence and our society doesn't give much recognition for being self-indulgent. The difference is that indulgence '' is something unnecessary & excessive whereas nurturance'' is something nourishing & caring.

- Inability to set appropriate boundaries and pushing ourselves too hard

- Some consider it as being selfish if you put your needs first

- Trouble asking for what you need and feeling inadequate asking for help.

- Sometimes we continually attempt to do what cannot be done, to control what cannot be controlled. The result is feelings of continued failure and frustration and often an inclination to ignore our own needs.

It is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires. Here is a list of actions that can help you help yourself!

Listen to your body: Is it hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Acknowledge your own needs. It's important. Re-evaluate how you use your time. Be objective in your assessment of who you really are, feel good about yourself and receive the credit (from you) that you really deserve.

Take care of yourself physically - eat healthy, sleep well and exercise. Know and respect your limits and levels of tolerance. Include yourself on the list of people you are taking care of. Take some time to do something just for yourself every day; things that create a sense of joy, passion and well-being; things that are realistic and do not necessarily take a lot of time or money. E.g. gardening, chocolate, swimming, playing, rainy days spent in bed reading or a walk in the park.

You should create appropriate boundaries between your work and your home life. Nurture your emotions by recognizing and expressing your feelings. Give yourself permission to say 'No' when you need to. Sometimes, we have more on our plates than we can adequately manage. Some relationships can be physically draining and emotionally demanding. We often want to please others and 'carry' people who drain and distract us. Re-examine whether you are taking on more than is appropriate.

Invest time and energy in personal development when you feel it would be beneficial.You owe it to yourself and those you love, to take good care of your most valuable resource ? YOU!

Dr. Prachi (M.Phil, PhD) is a consultant in Clinical Psychology, Artemis Hospital (Gurgaon) .

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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