I remember the day well as the guilt was creeping in.  I was travelling across the country on one of my usual business trips to British Columbia.  Instead of working on my computer I decided to pick up a book. I have always loved reading, however I walked away from reading due to busyness and exhaustion.  As I began to read, tears starting streaming down my face. The words were dancing off the page and I couldn’t read the book fast enough. It was a book full of stories and advice for women struggling and feeling stretched too thin.  I wanted to change.

As women we navigate so many responsibilities and roles in one given day!  It’s exhausting. The comment “how do you balance your work and family so well” is often asked.  The truth is, I believe work-life balance is a hurtful myth because I don’t think anyone can achieve it and yet we look at other women and think somehow, they do.  I have a great career, supportive family, healthy children and I am actively involved in community. If anyone could do it, it should be me! And the truth is I feel stretched thin daily and at times my balance can shift from taking care of a sick child or parent to working longer than normal hours to prepare for a meeting.  It is not easy. However, letting go of trying to achieve this work life balance has helped released me from guilt and feeling stretched too thin.  

This book opened my eyes to what self-care really is.  You see….we are all uniquely made, with our own set of values, passions and gifts.  When we love and take care of ourselves, we become the best possible version of God’s creation.  Say no to the guilt and lie that self-care is selfish. It is a necessity. You are modeling it for your family, friends and other women.  Your emotional, physical and spiritual health depend on it. Focusing on your family and career is never enough.  

I encourage women to extend themselves the same love and compassion that they show others.  When I practice being intentional and listen to my family and friends, take better care of myself, and love what I am doing, I thrive.  I still struggle with actively practicing self-care; however when I do, it has provided much needed clarity around HIS greater purpose for my life.  

Andrea Schwarz