Creating change,  Life Lessons,  Self-Care

Bad-Ass Change Agents: Self Care Isn’t Selfish

We can be our own worst enemies.


We take on tasks we don’t have time for, that aren’t even our responsibility. We work too many hours, cut back on sleep and stuff ourselves with junk food because it’s quick and easy. And if that’s not enough, we feel guilty for saying ‘no’ when anyone asks something of us.

Can you relate? I know you can!

We need to consciously make self-care and community care a priority in our lives – as it should be.


I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgence,

it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

-Audre Lorde


Think You’re So Strong You Don’t Need Self Care?

Many folks believe they don’t need self-care and claim it’s something they don’t have time for. Or they keep putting it off until they can “make time” for it…at some point in the distant future. Sound familiar?

I’ve developed a checklist, “How Much Do You Need Self Care? A Checklist for Change Agents.”  I’d like you to take a few moments – for YOURSELF – and rate the following questions.


Answer each question with a number: 5: almost always, 4: often, 3: sometimes, 2: rarely, and 1: never.

  1. I feel tired and stressed out all the time.
  2. I feel overwhelmed.
  3. I drop what I am doing to handle the next crisis that occurs.
  4. I wake up in the middle of the night and obsess about all the things I have to do.
  5. I use alcohol and/or drugs to relieve my stress.
  6. I overeat and/or eat foods that are not healthy for me to relieve my stress.
  7. I feel less joy, enthusiasm and happiness in my life.
  8. I feel like I’m just going through the motions.
  9. I am unhappy with my weight and body size/shape.
  10. I zone out on social media to relieve my stress.


Are you starting to get the picture? If you’re answering with a 5 or 4 to most of the questions, you’re headed for burnout. You may be only going through the motions of life – and not much more.

Self-care and community care should be a top priority for us as individuals and within our teams – but it isn’t even on the radar for many of us, much less our organizational leaders.

That needs to change NOW.


“People who love themselves come across as very loving, generous, and kind;

they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness, and inclusiveness.”

-Sanaya Roman


Give Yourself Permission – To Do NOTHING

It’s ok to sit back and relax – and do nothing! Give yourself permission and STOP feeling guilty! Yes, even you – the tough, bad ass change agent!

I know you’re tired of hearing the uplifting statement: Find joy in each day. I scoffed when I first heard it! But now, I realize I’m at my best when I’m feeling joy. Forcing hard work or long hours only gives me the false illusion of being important!

Discover your source of passion and re-connect. Whether it’s reading, cooking, taking a walk, listening to music or sharing meaningful time with your partner – DO IT.

Once we’re rested, refilled, reflected, reprioritized and rejuvenated, we’re ready to revolutionize and make meaningful changes in our lives – so we can stay in this essential work for the long haul.


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

– Buddha


‘Tis The Season – Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care

While many love holiday time, they dread the drain they feel at being pulled in so many different directions.

People want – and expect – more from us as change agents. We can become exhausted, running on fumes and end up feeling helpless and hopeless – and possibly, burning out and dropping out in the process.

I know you know the feeling!


It’s simple: If we don’t practice the self-care that all of us are so very deserving of, we won’t be there in times of crisis to keep going. You know the saying: You cannot give from an empty cup.

So put YOURSELF at the top of your gift-giving list. Give yourself the gift of self-care – a gift that will keep on giving.

I know when I’m rested and practice self-care, I have more to offer others. When I ground myself in my faith and engage in ways that are consistent with my values, I am far more useful in the social change work that I do.

And that’s when we’re truly effective change agents.


“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list.”

-Michelle Obama


For some free comprehensive self-care resources, be sure to check out this page I’ve created just for you.

And if you’re ready for more easy strategies to make self- and community-care a part of your everyday activities, check out my FREE 75-minute webinar that you can access anytime right here. 

One Comment

  • Matthew David Miller

    Right on time! I am resting right now from a particularly difficult assignment and decisions, and this article affirms a perspective that would allow that thought to enter my mind 🙂

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