No one taught us how to take care of ourselves as we ran our households, worked, and loved. Most of us did not have female role models who made sure to exercise or meditate regularly. By midlife, many of us find ourselves ready to make some serious changes in our lifestyle. Some of us have friends and relatives who have succumbed to serious illness or died. We also witness many older relatives frail from not staying active. Many recognize that while we doled out love and fulfilled our duties we skimmed on ourselves. We know now deep down it’s time take better care of ourselves.
I’ve spent the vast majority of my professional life designing programs and coaching women in midlife how to make lifestyle changes that stick - so they can finally have the energy level they waited for as well as better control their weight. But I recently created and am teaching a new class for the University of Michigan, “Women’s Health and Well-being Across the Lifespan.” And I’m geeked!
I have always loved working with women in midlife, and now at 45, I’m smack dab in the middle myself! Yet, the idea of reaching young women in their 20’s, BEFORE they enter the workforce and/or start families is humbling and exciting.
The goal of my class is to use psycho-social scholarship to educate my students where the quicksand for women tends to be, so they can strategically avoid it. I aim to teach them the latest science about motivation and skills like negotiation, so they can achieve their professional as well as personal goals. Most importantly, my goal is to help my students become mindful about what they most value and how they care to feel and treat themselves as they enter “real life” and forge true independence.
Most of us were not fortunate enough to learn the art of designing happy and healthy lives when we were in our twenties. Yet we now have an opportunity (and maybe a responsibility?) to expose our lessons about self-care to our daughters (and sons). Parents are CRUCIAL role models for children, both about what helps as well as what hinders. In fact, the younger our children are when we speak about the importance to carving out time to honor and tend to our WHOLE selves, the better.
What is important for you share with your daughter or son about self-care?
Dr. Michelle Segar is a women’s happiness and self-care coach and a motivation psychologist at the University of Michigan. If her ideas resonate with you check out her coaching, speaking, and consulting, please visit www.michellesegar.com .
The Best Foods for Women in their 20s? See here.