I always used to think that focusing on myself was selfish.
I put ALL of my energy into other people, and poured myself into all of the numerous obligations and commitments that I took on in my life.
I was a YES girl. The idea of letting someone down was not an option in my world (and is still something I battle with to this day), so I did everything in my power to make every one else happy, often at the sacrifice of my own personal well being.
But here's the thing: what I failed to realize for so long is that by not prioritizing myself and my self care, I wasn't able to be my best self.
Last week, my hubby Kevan and I had to move out of our brand new home in our cute, cozy neighborhood in Logan Square, into a glorified dorm hotel room in the heart of downtown Chicago. And to be 100% REAL with you, I have had a really hard time handling it.
I haven't lived, or really ventured much, to the loop (Chicago's downtown area) since I was in College. I may be an extravert, but man oh man do I appreciate being able to come home to a safe, quiet and comfortable space. A place where I can create, relax and connect with myself and my thoughts. And a teeny tiny hotel room in the middle of downtown just doesn't do that for me.
I never realized how much impact my surroundings have on my emotional well being. And let's just say that this past weekend, I hit my breaking point.
I was in a MOOD.
Chances are, if you're anything like me, you know exactly what I'm talking about...
Feeling like nothing is going right and feeling helpless because you feel like there's nothing you can do about it.
And nothing that anyone else says or does can possibly make you feel better.
So you end up spending the day drowning in self-pity and frustration.
SUPER FUN, am I right?
Feeling like shit is just NOT what I signed up for in this life.
So, after spending the day feeling super mopey and like there was nothing I could possibly do to make myself feel better, I made a decision.
Instead of focusing my energy on the things that I couldn't control and on how frustrated and uncomfortable I was with our situation, I made a promise to myself that I would switch my focus to what I COULD CONTROL. That I would make it a priority, every single day, to do the things that make me feel HAPPY & GROUNDED.
To put Self-Care at the top of my To-Do List.
What does this mean to me?
To me, self care isn't just about taking a bubble bath or getting a massage (although that can be part of it), but it's more so about a state of mind. And a decision to stand up for yourself and decide that you are worthy of true happiness.
It means putting my own needs first.
It means listening to myself and honoring the signals that my body is putting out.
It means carving out time in my day to do the things that light my soul on fire, instead of numbing my mind with hours of Netflix (as tempting as that may be).
It's doing things like waking up early for my morning workouts because it will start my day off feeling energized and strong.
Or harnessing my creative energy and working on a project that I've been putting off because there were "other more important things on my to-do list".
To me, Self Care is all about taking ACTION on how I want to FEEL.
...And guess what? It worked.
Just be shifting my MINDSET, all of the overwhelm, the frustration & the pain went away.
Is my situation still the same? Yep. Are a bazillion things still out of my control? You betcha. But by implementing self-care into my day to day life -- by placing my energy into doing things that made me FEEL good -- I was able to turn everything around for myself, and become a way more enjoyable person to BE around as well ('Cuz yup, as I'm sure you've noticed, when you're not taking care of yourself, it's damn near impossible to take care of other people in a way that's positive for them!)
True self-care is about honoring, nurturing and loving ourselves, and it is fundamental not only to our personal well-being, but also to our relationships with the people closest to us. It empowers us to be more generous and truly available to the relationships with the people closest to us.
It also is not always EASY. It takes COURAGE & true DEDICATION, especially for those of us who are so used to giving all of our energy away.
But is it WORTH IT. Hell to the fucking yes.
Because when you start taking care of yourself, AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN.
You'll feel amazing & nourished from the inside out.
You will be able to bring LIGHT and JOY to your relationships and everything you do.
You'll be the most effective and energetic version of yourself.
Here's a quote from The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte that has really STUCK with me:
"Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.
When you’re not feeling the way you want to feel, it can take just a small gesture to shift your state of mind. Seek out environments that match your desired feelings.
You can change your life daily, practically, through small, deliberate actions. Let the beauty and the power rub off on you. The idea is that you do easy, natural things that are aligned with your core desired feelings. These small, steady actions won’t change your life in a flash, but they will change your life day by day."
I cannot say enough good things about this book. It has taught me SO much about living my life in connection to my values -- and it literally helped me uncover what my core values (or what I like to call the things that light my SOUL ON FIRE) truly are. If you want to really dive in and get down and dirty with your self-care, I cannot recommend it enough.
In the meantime, I encourage you to take 5 minutes out of your day and write out how you want to FEEL. What your true values are. Dig deep, listen to your heart, not what your head thinks you SHOULD want to be feeling.
For example, my current Values are:
JOY - CONNECTION - COURAGE - BLISS - STRENGTH
Once you've done that, write down things that you can be doing, on a daily basis, that would allow you to achieve those feelings. And here's the kicker, PUT THEM INTO ACTION. Because without actually implementing these things, you won't get to truly taking care of YOU.
Show up for yourself, Lady Love. Even if it's just for 30 minutes a day. Because, hot damn, you DESERVE to be happy.
And man oh man are you WORTH IT.
All the Love & Light in the world,
p.s. I would LOVE to connect with you about this! Email me your Values & we can chat about how to really DIG IN and take care of YOU. :)