Are you flexing your self-care MUSCLE enough? Recent news shows that the personal development business is on a steep rise. There are many facets of this phenomenon: self-help books are flying off shelves, Americans over 40, especially women, are hiring life coaches and personal business consultants. We’re taking more vitamins and working out more, and we are going back to college.
But what does personal development mean to someone who is working 70+ hours a week, inside and outside the home, barely has time to shop for healthful food, and is battling major stressors in her life, including juggling her children’s education bills with taking care of elderly parents?
Recently, I heard from a woman who said that she is suffering from cancer, works because she needs to, and that not all role models for DARE-ING women should be celebrities. At The DARE-Force, we reference celebrities because they’re some of the best-known and omni-present examples of what is possible for women over 40 to achieve and keep achieving.
However, we also reference women over 40 who arguably are contributing far more to society than any Hollywood actress or TV star could: they’re running Fortune 500 corporations or major national nonprofits. They’re running community action campaigns to improve our children’s education, or to increase safety in our neighborhoods. Many women over 40 are accomplishing these feats while also fighting chronic illnesses, systemic disabilities, and life-threatening diseases.
These women are using their MUSCLE in a completely different way than celebrities or Fortune 500 powerhouse CEOs, or even the directors of major nonprofits. Women who are juggling multiple stressors or illness, such as the woman who wrote to me, are the ones for whom we all need a different kind of MUSCLE. For those women, we should all exercise the most important MUSCLE of all: our HEARTS.
It takes a lot of MUSCLE during a down economy for even the healthiest women to juggle multiple responsibilities. If there’s a woman in your life who’s juggling more than the strongest MUSCLES could handle, flex a different kind of MUSCLE just for her. Reach out to her with a kind but not patronizing offer of help, or just an acknowledgment that she matters. You would be strengthening your most important MUSCLE of all.