Self care looks different at every stage, every week ,every moment of our lives. Some days the most we can do is sit still and breathe for a few moments, some days we can get a massage, spend the full day with friends, take a trip, not take a trip, and fully dive in.
In the last 6 months I have been in a transitional period that never seems to have a destination. I have been training for a new job in my field, I moved in the beginning of the year, I have bene working more than ever, taking on new projects, giving my business a space to thrive, creating new friendships, allowing others to shift, and in turn being the busiest I have ever been in my life. I think I say this often. “I’ve never been busier”, yet the plate that was seemingly full last year, has only gotten fuller as the plate gets bigger. Right now it feels like a freaking platter.
The amazing part about all of this is that I don’t dread what I wake up early to do for work. I look forward to it, I love it, I feel alive when I’m in the middle of it, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when I don’t burn out. Waking up before the sun comes up and putting my body through a lot of physical stress is the easiest way to have the answer to “how are you?” be “tired”. Always.
Right before I took this trip I was close to tears every day looking at how much was on my plate. Keep in mind every time I take a trip I treat the days leading up to it as if I’m never coming back. I always feel I have to get EVERYTHING done and pack the days before I travel until the moment my feet hit the plane. I was tired. I was burnt out. I was lonely. I was doing what I love but I was GIVING SO MUCH. Every meeting, class, work appointment I showed up to I was giving and I was not giving myself an opportunity to receive. To stop for 2 minutes and breathe. To nourish my body and allow myself to sleep the amount it deserves.
Now don’t get me wrong I did this to myself. I sign up for everything I do. But what I can’t excuse is that I didn’t allow that hour to recharge every day. I didn’t make meals a priority. I didn’t factor in 8 hours of sleep as I was planning out my days. And that. does. not. work. By no means am I complaining, MY LIFE IS ABUNDANT AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THAT, but the balance has to be there. The self care HAS to be there.
A couple weeks earlier self care looked a lot different. I would put on a face mask, pick up my favorite healthy meal, take a bath, and watch Real Housewives and give myself a full few hours that were truly dedicated to me and not to work or anything / anyone else but me. That hour or two allowed my body to rest, allowed my mind to take a break, took me away from emails, and allowed me to give myself something in return.
As humans we give. a lot. We do it because we have to, because it feels good, because it pays our bills, because we want to. But what we are so quick to forget is the need to take. IT IS NOT SELFISH TO PRACTICE SELF CARE. I think it is the opposite. It is selfless to put myself first for a portion of time so that I can give effortlessly when I need to.
My point is, self care will be necessary no matter what. For me, it is a non negotiable. And in every stage of our lives it may look different. I can guarantee this week will look different than the last. And that’s ok. This week I got to be with my family in my favorite place in the country, sleep in, break my routine, and enjoy taking a break. Did I check my emails? Yes. Too much. Did I work on projects? Yes. But I gave what I needed to and listened when I needed to stop.
When we think self care we can immediately go to massages, face masks, meditation, etc. But it can be whatever you need in that moment. Maybe it’s 8 hours of sleep, maybe it’s 5 minutes to sit without your phone in your car before a meeting, a podcast that will lift you up, calling a friend, cooking a meal that nourishes your body, pausing, who knows. It is what you need in that moment. It is whatever will allow you to recharge.
So listen. Get quiet for a moment. And allow yourself to tap into what you need. When we move at 100mph we are ignoring the voice inside that is telling us what’s necessary.
Slow down if you need to.
Be where your feet are.