Want to know a secret? I'm pretty terrible at taking care of myself, even though I have this business that is all about making self-care possible for people. I've been asked before to speak as an expert on self-care, but I've always hesitated, feeling like a hypocrite, like I don't have any answers. I live in an almost constant state of GO-GO-GO and varying degrees of burn out. Something has to shift.
It occurred to me that maybe there is value in sharing honestly about my own challenges with self-care, because we are ALL in process - BUSY, putting everyone else's needs before our own, and just trying to get by. When we scroll our newsfeed, everyone seems to have it more together then we do. My Instagram looks like I'm always having adventures with my kids and there's all this exciting stuff happening at the studio... We share about what's beautiful or what's working, and don't tend to include the meltdowns and the mundane and the struggle. So stop comparing your backstage to everyone's show! No one has it figured out. We are all faking it.
Be KIND to yourself. What advice would you give your very best friend? Tell it to yourself. Try writing it down! Journalling can be a really helpful way to clear your head and shift your focus. Just open a book and start writing. I've been writing for a few minutes before bed. (By that I mean, I did it last night and it's a habit I want to cultivate, so I'm declaring it to you! Accountability really helps me follow through.) When I feel overwhelmed by my to do list or I'm being hard on myself about a day, I find it really helps to do a "positive focus", where I write down the things I DID do. If you can't think of anything, start small. Own the tiniest of victories. Suddenly that flop of a day doesn't look so bad.
Speaking of the never-ending to do list... time is never going to magically appear. We need to be intentional and creative about inserting small acts of self-care into our busy days. Self-care doesn't need to be a grand gesture. Maybe it's sitting and drinking your coffee while it's still hot, or lighting candles and busting some great tunes while you cook, or having a stretch on the floor while you watch Netflix. Make your downtime quality time. Maybe self-care is a gradual shift in mindset, a skill that we strengthen with practice. What is the next tiny act of kindness you can show yourself? Choose something achievable and declare it to someone. I just looked at my week and figured out when I can actually get to a yoga class, and then I wrote it in my calendar (because if it's not in my calendar, I'll never do it!) Connect with the WHY. “Because I should exercise” isn’t a juicy enough reason. How do you want to feel? Be creative about fitting it in - maybe you can sneak out to a class on your lunch break or take a meditative walk instead of driving. Some people find that consistency helps when they are building a habit; but if your schedule is all over the place, pencil it in wherever it fits! Enlist the support of people who love you. Explain why it’s important.
Within the mundane moments of your day are opportunities to be mindful. While you’re waiting in line or washing the dishes, feel your feet on the floor, notice your posture, notice your breath. Pause and really see your kids. Take in that beautiful blue sky. This isn’t something you can fail at. We are all in process and every day is a starting place. Right now, wherever you are, connect with your breath. Acknowledge your effort and all that you give. Ask yourself what YOU need, and what small first step you will take. Write it down, tell someone, share it here.