Not long ago, I drank a bottle of wine a night, lived with chronic tension headaches, and was exhausted and run down all the time. I thought very little of myself. I was an approval seeker and a people pleaser. I was a selfless woman.
I moved from one day to the next, giving everything of myself and barely making it through.
Do you know the feeling?
I prayed for relief.
The answer was simple yet difficult.
I had to make myself a priority. I had to start taking care of myself. I had to believe in my worth. I had to stop being selfless.
I had to get uncomfortable and release some deeply ingrained beliefs about what makes a woman worthy. There would be deprogramming and discomfort. It would require baby steps.
So, I started small. I had to. It was scary, and I didn’t know what I was doing. So, I began with quick and easy actions that wouldn’t take too much time away from my responsibilities. Some at-home yoga, early morning meditation, a gratitude practice, and daily walks. It grew from there, and eventually, I was putting my well-being at the front and center.
It’s ok to make yourself a priority in bits and pieces. I’m not sure any of us would be able to do it otherwise.
In the beginning, my self-care was a dirty little secret. Shame-inducing. You don’t want anyone to know that you are taking care of yourself, especially women who are killing themselves and NOT putting themselves first.
Now, I carry no shame. I am proud of how I show up for myself. I want to share it with anyone willing to listen so that they may find the inner strength that will allow them to care for themselves.
As a source of inspiration (hopefully), I will tell you about some of my practices. Of course, you will want to do what’s best for you, which may not be what I do. If something resonates with you, please feel free to take it for yourself. If not, leave it behind.
Every day I start the day by myself. My morning routine is ever-changing, but the one fact that always remains the same is that I am alone. I sit in silence. I connect with myself, Mother Nature, Spirit, and my guides. I ground myself. I tap into the universal love flowing around and through me. I provide myself with sound and Reiki healing. Maybe all of this sounds too woo-woo for you, so let me put it this way…I do what I need to handle what comes my way that day, before doing anything else for anyone else.
I spend time in nature. Every day. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. Nature feeds my soul. Given a chance, it will feed yours too. Of that, I am 100% certain.
I move my body. I like to run, walk, dance, and do yoga. While good for my body, these activities are also incredibly therapeutic for my mind and spirit.
I pause to take in special moments, like the sun hitting the trees just so, a feather floating from the sky, or a hawk circling above. Maybe that special moment is my child doing something wonderful or my fur babies being cute. Whatever it is, it gets my attention.
I connect with people. I have a community of support that helps me heal, restore, and balance myself. I hope, in turn, I help them to do the same.
Are you wondering how I find the time for all of this? It would have been my question if I was reading this a couple of years ago. I don’t know that I would have read this far, certain that I could never make any of this work. Indeed, I am now fortunate enough to have a lifestyle (and mindset) that accommodates all of this, but that wasn’t always the case. I had to make it work. I needed to make choices. I needed to choose me.
Ironically, by choosing me, I chose everyone, for everyone I encounter benefits from my self-care. Everyone.
The act of meeting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs is not selfish. So why are we trained to believe that it is?
Burnout, as a result of not taking care of yourself, creates stress, anxiety, bad moods, exhaustion, illness, and resentment. That sounds a lot more selfish to me.
Let’s change the script.
Doing something that brings you joy requires no guilt. You are not a bad person for resting. Receiving help from others to restore and heal yourself is not the act of a greedy woman. Spending time with people who fill your cup is not selfish.
A balanced life is the goal, not something to apologize for. Showing up for yourself creates the version of you that is best for everyone.
You are ready. It is time to make yourself a priority. You don’t even need to fully believe in this, just enough to start small.
If not for the little voice inside telling you that you can’t, what would you do to create a little peace, joy, connection, balance, or happiness in your day? Let’s start there.
Until next time…