One of the most helpful things I’ve learned about self-care is that other people can’t give me what I don’t realize I need. I may need help with a project or chores. If I don’t realize I’m overwhelmed or if I assume other people know I need help and choose not to step up, my stress levels increase and I risk burnout. Understanding my love languages, and my enneagram number has been incredibly helpful in knowing when and how to ask for help.
During the busy in-season times I’m most likely to focus on everyone else in my house before considering my needs. In the past, I’ve tended to run until I drop and then rest. This isn’t helpful for anyone because it doesn’t teach my family what my boundaries need to be, nor does it help them when I’ve checked out of things to rest. Best practices must include consistent in-season self-care.
Self-Care begins with Self-Awareness
The Enneagram Institute says that Enneagram Type 8’s: “Want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.”
This is vital information for self-awareness. Identifying times when I’m running myself ragged is the best way to stop myself from working so hard that I end up exhausted, sick, or failing to complete a task.
While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s most important when Ordell is busy with the football season that I prioritize self-care. When his calendar is already overloaded with in-season commitments he doesn’t have the bandwidth for additional projects. In many cases, he needs me to take on extra surprises that come up. In our house teamwork includes knowing when we need to step in for each other. That anticipation on behalf of each other isn’t a burden. It’s part of what makes our marriage work. During different times of the year, the tasks we are in charge of are different. This means that our bandwidth for additional commitments also shifts.
In-Season Self-Care Strategy for Coaches’ Wives:
Spontenatey isn’t always possible even when it’s preferable. I take time to look at my calendar taking into account work, family obligations, and football games. Then I plan times where I will have space for myself. This might mean building a writing day where I head to a coffee shop or scheduling lunch with a girlfriend.
Planning requires adding appointments to my calendar and treating them as important as any other block.
Preparation changes depending on the goal. It may include meal prep, planning to complete chores ahead of time, or communicating to the rest of the house that I’ll be taking time for myself. Preparation also may not include that many details. Part of my preparation includes keeping my writing bag stocked with my favorite pens and headphones so I can grab them and out the door if a window of time opens up.
Execution goes along with planning. When the appointment I placed on my calendar for self-care comes up, I don’t bow out in favor of work. It means I take the time I need to refuel.
Execution is applying the oxygen mask on myself first so I can turn around and put it on my loved ones next. It’s pushing away the guilt that I know creeps up because I’m self-aware. It’s trusting that life will be better when I implement caring for my body, mind, and soul.
Self-care is always important, but I encourage you to take additional care to implement it during the busiest times of your calendar year. You and your family will thrive as you focus on prioritizing your health.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 20, 2018, and has been updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.