Learning to say ‘no’ is the hardest part of self-care, right?
The hardest part is learning to say yes to yourself.
Right now, as I’m writing this, there are a million other things I could be doing. Urgent things. Things (and these are the worst) I should be doing.
We all struggle with that feeling of being stretched too thin. But perhaps women suffer worst of all.
It came up a lot at the moon lodge I attended last week.
Now, moon lodges are totally sacred and everything said within the circle is completely confidential.
But I don’t think it’s breaking any kind of trust to tell you that all the women there were feeling a big squeeze on their time and energy reserves.
[If you’re new to moon lodges, picture a women-only gathering. We get together and support each other in whichever way is appropriate. Each lodge is different.]
Between family life, work and crisis management, these women were fraught and exhausted. I know the feeling, and I don’t have kids.
But, I’m trying this new thing: saying yes to myself.
You’ve heard of being in denial.
But are you denying yourself?
I’m new to this whole self-care thing. It has taken me 29 years to realise that rarely do I eat properly, sleep enough or move my body in the most beneficial ways.
Rarely do I nourish myself on a deeper level with my true loves: books, bubble baths, spiritual me-time or creative work – drawing, painting, cooking and so on.
[Side note: I do spend time with my true love, my husband/life partner/soul mate, and our dog. But even that time gets squeezed sometimes, especially now we’re both self-employed.]
The one thing I do know about self-care? It starts with a big, fat ‘yes’ to you.
Recently, I started saying just that.
I go to an awesome personal trainer once a week, and do as many of her workouts as I can in the meantime.
[If seeing a PT makes me sound like a celebrity, let me tell you that it’s totally affordable and so worth it.]
I eat healthily (most of the time).
I get my hair done.
I get my nails manicured and my eyebrows waxed.
I read a little before bed.
These are all small things that I could easily talk myself out of, due to time and money constraints.
It’s been hard.
I’ve had to completely restructure my entire bloody life.
It’s an ongoing process.
The struggle is real.
But I don’t care.
But the truth is, it’s all worth it. I’m worth it. I’m already closer to living the life I want to live. And I want you to do the same.
I know your finances/kids/spouse/commitments are getting in the way.
But I also know that, if you’re honest, the only thing getting in your way is you.
[Credit to my awesome friend and inspiration, Georgina Sirett-Armstrong-Smith, for teaching me about denial, procrastination, and standing in my own way, as well as so much more.]
I know because I’ve been there, and I’m still there, most days.
That bubble bath you don’t have time for? Run it.
Peel your clothes off run naked around the house until the tub is full and the bathroom is full of smelly, sweet steam.
That expensive manicure or relaxing facial that a friend bought for your birthday? Book it now. If it’s too late to call, just send an email. No excuses.
I could give you a bunch of reasons why you need to look after yourself. Instead I’m just going to give you one.
You’re a woman on a mission. I don’t know what that mission is, but I know it’s important. It’s essential to who you are and it will probably change the lives of the people around you, and maybe the lives of the people around them.
By letting yourself become exhausted or trapped in other people’s dicksand, you are placing your goals in jeopardy.
Say yes to you.