Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve learned the ABC of Self Care and undertaken a major life overhaul.
The catalyst for this change came when I was interviewing a remarkable young man for a podcast interview and whilst he was describing the 12 steps program of AA, I came to recognise that I had my own form of ‘addiction’ – I’m a workaholic.
As a single mum with 2 dependent children and a mortgage, there has been pressure on me to support us and our standard of living. What I also came to realise is that my quality of life wasn’t so great! Unlike my friends, I was not having fun. I was not enjoying life.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my work – in fact, it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ and that’s why it’s been a bit of a trap for me to dedicate my ‘free’ time to my work because of my genuine love and passion for what I do.
It was also an escape – an excuse – to not engage in the joy of life. Nor to rest.
I was not raised to value rest. If I wasn’t working, I would feel guilty to simply put my feet up or read a book for pleasure. Does this sound familiar?
I knew this had to stop. My body once again came to my rescue, and gave me much pain and discomfort to gain my attention.
So I committed to a supervised Ayurvedic detox which focused on removing inflammation from my body and to improve my very low blood pressure. This involved a very strict diet and daily visits to the West End clinic for various body treatments.
I knew if this was to have the intended results, I would have to fully commit – that meant:
- Switching off from work
- Having my VA handle all work enquiries
- Putting an Out Of Office message on all emails to clearly communicate my absence and to manage expectations
- Pre-recording my weekly online Purposeful Pause meditation sessions
- Allowing messages to be attended to upon my return
- Putting my computer away for the 2 weeks
- Only reading for pleasure and fun
- Focusing on ME and tuning into my body
- Daily meditation (much more than usual)
- Allowing myself to REST, be still, and DO NOTHING without feeling guilty (this got much easier over time)
So, how did I go?
I passed with flying colours!!! In fact, my closest friends were totally shocked that I was actually able to do it. So was I!!!
Something shifted in me.
Once I decided this is what I needed to do for myself, that was it – the deal was sealed. And I did it!
What did I learn?
Here’s a start of what I learned about the importance of and the ‘how to’ of Self Care:
A: Awareness. Acknowledge the truth of where you’re at, and the role YOU played in getting here. Don’t beat yourself up – this step is so important to create awareness and to acknowledge the truth of your situation. Being self aware begins your self care!
B: Be Brave and Be Bold. Break the patterns that got you into the habit of work addiction. What beliefs need to be challenged? What new beliefs need to be birthed?
C: Commit to YOU. It’s not a choice. This is a decision to COMMIT to YOURSELF. Your health care starts with self care and you are choosing now to take full responsibility for your own wellbeing – body, mind and spirit. You may not have been taught to or encouraged to self care, but you CAN start to give yourself the loving care you deserve right now! You CAN if you WANT to.
D: Declare it! Communicate clearly to all important stakeholders and declare your boundaries. Others will only respect your boundaries if you have them and you respect them. You lead by your own example.
E: Enjoy. Smile. Delight and celebrate every stroke and moment of kindness towards yourself with a genuine open hearted ‘thank you!’
So if you find yourself in a place of down heartedness, exhaustion or know you need to rest, please consider these ABC of self care tips I offer you.
How do you look after yourself on a consistent basis? Drop me a line and let me know what you do for self care.
Remember: your self care is your gift to the world.
Until next time, I will hold you in my heart and wish that you be safe, be calm and be well.