Are YOU on your to-do list?
A friend and I used to get into discussions about how she put everyone else's needs before her own so consistently, that she seemed to always be the last person she ever considered. She's generous and selfless, two of her most admirable qualities, but she doesn't show herself the same love, care and support that she gives to others, day in and day out.
She doesn't want to feel selfish putting her needs before someone else's, but at the end of the day, she can find herself feeling weary, depleted with not much energy left to move towards her own aspirations or fulfill her own needs.
In fact, I think that describes a lot of us, actually. We are often the last thing listed at the end of an incomprehensibly long mental to-do list. Somewhere after "re-grout the tile on the bathroom floor" you might find "oh and, if there's time, take care of yourself, too."
But taking time out to take care of yourself and fulfill your own needs isn't selfish, it's necessary. When you do and give so much in your work, home and to the people in your life, taking time to show yourself some love, creating moments for yourself to reflect and relish in all the hard work you do- it's the way to refill that well of energy so you can keep on giving.
If you don't take time to "refill", so to speak, you may find yourself stressed out, irritable and maybe even resentful against some of your responsibilities and then subsequently guilty about feeling resentful...ugh! It's a big spiral that can suck you down and down until you find you never give time to yourself at all and then you start to feel neglected or burnt out.
The gift that keeps on giving
So, surrounded by all the traditions and rituals that have become so ingrained with the holiday season, Jen and I thought that maybe the best gift we can all give ourselves this year, is to create a self-care ritual.
Creating a self-care ritual is a way to connect with your deep down self, that non-judgemental center that reminds you of just how strong you really are. It's a way to find balance between the always giving, always helping and always doing for others by showing some appreciation to yourself, too. It's a way to give back to the incredible body and mind that carry you through this world and have made you the unique individual you are today.
A self-care ritual can be anything from setting up a date-night with yourself to taking a long hot bath, getting a massage, going for walks, writing in a journal, creating art, curling up with tea and a good book...
Whatever floats your peaced-out boat, whatever helps connect you back to yourself and pull you out of the trap of hectic life- we want you to make it a regular thing. A ritual that you can honor as sacred time just for yourself, and something you know you can come back to again and again whenever you need to fill that energy-well back up.
We want you all to give yourself the gift of time and space to reflect on your thoughts, your needs, your aspirations and what really makes you happy. The more often you can reflect on those things, the better able you'll be to shift your life in the direction you want to go. And the more often you let yourself slow down, the faster you'll be able to run when the marathon of life picks up.
My morning routinue has definitely become my own self-care ritual- I start each day by giving my body the energy it needs and my mind the clarity it needs with exercise and meditation. I can still feel the pull of obligation trying to blow out my incense and pick me up off my meditation chair in the mornings, but I remind myself that taking this time just for me each day helps give me more energy, enthusiasm and positivity to share with others throughout the day. My mornings help me feel calmer, more understanding, and more fulfilled, and that is better for everyone around me!
So really, you can think of taking time to take care of yourself not as an act of selfishness, but as a gift for your life and everyone in it. The more joy, calm and clarity you can cultivate in yourself, the more you'll have to give to others.
And then, instead of finding yourself in that burnt-out place, feeling like you have nothing left to give, you'll be able to keep drawing from that well of energy you're creating through self-care- and whether you need an eye-dropper full of strength to get you through the day, or a bucketful, it'll be there waiting for you.
Do you struggle with feeling selfish making your own needs a priority? What would your ideal "self-care ritual" look like, and what can you shift in your current schedule to make it a reality? Where can you create more time and space in your life to give back to yourself and explore what makes YOU happy?
If you need some ideas on how to create your own self-care ritual, that's exactly what Jen has over on her post today!