Self-ish or Self-care?

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Self-care is such a big buzz word on social media right now.  Everywhere you turn you meet someone telling your their life changing story of how self-care saved them and their sanity.  

But self-care has long been an issue for me.  TBH, self-care has always felt more self-ish than anything.  I didn’t find it relaxing or rejuvenating. I found it stressful and a pressure.

This is not uncommon for typical people-pleasers like us.  

When you have grown up conditioned to put everyone else's needs before your own, even stopping to get yourself a glass of water or take a pee can feel like a struggle, let alone taking 2 hours to go get a massage!  

I know that there will be many mamas reading this that hear me.  You know who you are - you answer texts on the toilet, you get to the end of the day and realise you haven’t had one glass of water, you feed everyone before yourself, you often forget to shower (for days), your child probably still sleeps with you, you can’t remember the last time you bought a new bra, or went out for coffee alone, or managed a lunch date with a friend.  

So when someone utters self care, you can often feel more like telling them to kindly F-off!

But this is a real issue, and one that we need talk about, because otherwise our children are all going to grow up with the same excuse-ridden, entitlement syndrome that we are currently suffering from.  

It is time for us to realise that we matter.  And that if we don’t work (and by work I mean run smoothly and healthily, not DO more!) then nothing works.  

And so we have to learn to get that great big prince charming chip off our shoulder, stop waiting for everyone else to offer to ‘help us’ and instead start to claim what we rightfully deserve and look after ourselves (because, hate to tell you this, but Prince Charming ain’t coming).

My relationship with self-care changed when I realised that I was modelling my self-sacrificial behaviour to my son. When he started to mirror back to me signs that he was starting to become a mini people-pleaser I woke the hell up.

Here I was with a son telling me how exceptional I was, how much he loved life, showing me how to love play and spontaneity and going slow, and all I was doing back was being a martyr and moaning how tired I was.

I had a teacher right in front of my eyes telling me to take some time, do what I needed, and yet it was out of habit, programming and social conditioning that I couldn’t even sit still long enough to watch him build some lego or sit in the bath myself every night.

And so slowly I started to pause, and think about I wanted my days to be. I had to stop waiting, and start creating what it was that I wanted.

It is not selfish to treat yourself with loving kindness.  It is a requirement.

It is not selfish to want a healthy, vibrant body.  It is a necessity.

It is not selfish to need alone time away from your kids.  It is restorative.

It is not selfish to put yourself first.  It is a life-lesson that our children need modelled for them.

We cannot pour from an empty cup.  We cannot live our life’s purpose when we are busy living for everyone else.  And we cannot raise healthy, empowered, independent and fearless children by treating ourselves like doormats.  

This will not be easy ready for many.  It was not easy writing. And it took me a long time to get here.

I don’t expect you to read this and throw caution to the wind and declare everyone get their own dinner tonight because you’re taking to the bath with a bottle of champagne and a book! (although you could do that if you wanted!).

I struggle with some of these things in a daily basis. But slowly I started claiming those pauses - eating more slowly, lingering in bed for 10 minutes every morning, sitting and listening to the birds, having a bath everynight (even though its often filled with lego or Flynn is reading to me!.

But slowly over time, this mindset change added up to me mostly recently being able to make a huge investment in my health that meant carving out me time everyday and saying no to my son for 30 mins, but we are both already reaping the rewards.  

My mantra to inspire my self-care this year is to choose what brings me delight.  Others mantras my clients are choosing are:

To mind their own business,

Say no instead of yes more,

Choose for them at least once a day,

Follow what feels good,

To appreciate the little things,

To dance every day,

To ask what would love do,

To choose Joy.  

And so, to help you along too, I wrote a little manifesto.  If you struggle with putting yourself first, and need some ideas on how to reclaim yourself this year - please read it below - I wrote it for me, for you, for all of us.

There may be one line in it that leaps out at you, or speaks straight to your soul. Let that be the thing you choose next to do for YOU. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

This is the year of impeccability.  The year you say what you mean, and do what you say. This is the year that you let go of all those excuses - no matter how pretty they dress themselves up - they’re existence is only to cause separation and limitation. And this is the year that you are returning to wholeness. This is the year that you forget all that was, and remember all you ARE and were made to be. The year to swap expectation for appreciation.  This is the year that you dance like no-one is watching, and live like you’ve no more time. For we think we always have time. This is the year for courageous, audacious and exponential growth. Because, if not now - when? This is the year for saying yes to you, and no to all the things that drain your soul and empty your cup. Because nothing works unless you do. This is the year to mind your own business, and be impeccable with your own word. This is the year of congruence, of magnificence.  This is the year to be delighted. This is the year of no more stories, only vision; no more past, only present; no more fear, only Love. This is the year of the Rising.

(If you want to learn how to put yourself first so you can be stronger and more empowered for your family and your business, then why not see how I can help?)

Mary HoustonComment