As a woman, I’m sure you can relate to what it’s like to live a full life. Between looking after your kids, partner, work, home, causes, friends and family, it can be challenging to keep all the plates spinning all the time.
When you're in the habit of expending all of your energy outwards and constantly put your care, your rest and your play, last, you're bound to end up tired, grumpy, uninspired and overwhelmed. We all know those feelings. You can't run on an empty tank!
This is where self-care comes in. This term is so trendy these days, but taking time for yourself really is an essential tool if you want to have the energy to handle the highs and lows of life, to put passion behind your endeavours, and to be patient, kind and present with yourself and those around you.
The number 1 stumbling block for women when it comes to self care is this one statement which I bet you’ve said yourself:
“I don’t have time”.
Which really means (tough-love-truth, here),
“I’m not making myself a priority”.
What it really comes down to is that women typically prioritize everyone else’s needs above their own. So, the first block is placing yourself at the top of the list for a change.
The second block is that we tend to have a hard time saying ‘no’ to things or setting boundaries and so we find ourselves with an overwhelming amount of responsibility on our plates and can’t fathom how self-care would ever fit in to the schedule. Can anyone relate?
Let’s get number 1 out of the way, right now.
When you take time for self-care it benefits not just you, but everyone around you, too. It’s not selfish. It is actually essential for the quality of your relationships, the health of your body and mind, and longevity of your work. When you take time to care for yourself, you are able to do all the things you love to do, but from a better place – a place of greater energy, open heart, present mind and calm spirit. Everyone wins.
Now, for number 2, this misconception that self-care has to complicated, expensive or time consuming in order to be effective.
Self-care can be as simple as 5 minutes of quiet over a hot cup of tea (or wine), 2 minutes of deep breathing by the ocean, or 60 seconds alone in the bathroom to brush your teeth in peace. Simple stuff. What's more important than what you're doing, or how long you do it for, is the attention you bring to the moment and the intention behind it. Each one of us will find our own activities that nourish us. Baths and chocolate are popular ones, but others are more obscure.
The key to self-care is finding the simple, inexpensive, accessible things you can do CONSISTENTLY to keep yourself nourished - the things that you can easily tuck into your week on a regular basis - so that you don't reach that point of all out stress and melt down (so often) where you run out and blow a bunch of money on shopping to make yourself feel better or eat yourself silly to comfort yourself.
Things like spa days with girlfriends or taking a vacation are lovely, no doubt - but, most of us can't make those things happen all the time - and they tend to be short term fixes. We feel relaxed while we're enjoying them and maybe for a day or two after, but once we come home from the spa or the beach, we find life is still here with all its responsibilities and demands... what we really need is to connect to the simple, consistent practices that can be implemented in our life on a regular basis, to support us to feel nourished and at ease in the midst of it all.
I recently compiled a collection of stories from real women who shared their self-care practices, plus the self-care trials and triumphs they’ve experienced as they navigate raising a family, running a business, or both.
The honesty, vulnerability and wisdom shared lit up my face with smiles, swelled up my heart and also brought a few tears. What made me so emotional is the recognition that while we are all walking our own, unique paths there is also so much we have in common.
Of all the questions I asked of the women that contributed to the e-book, the most telling was when I asked them to list how they felt when they took time for self-care vs. how they felt when they didn’t take that time. Every single one of them identified with feeling better (more happy, at ease, themselves, inspired, energized, capable, open, patient, accepting, confident, grateful, joyful, calm, playful, strong and balanced) compared to when they don't nourish themselves.
It was really powerful to read, and yet interesting that even when it’s so obvious that self-care makes a big difference, we still live like it is negotiable - like it's a treat, a privilege, a low priority - but, it's not.
Simple, consistent, small, inexpensive acts of self-care are essential to you being the best mom, partner, employee, business owner, customer, athlete, artist, friend - the best YOU - that you can be.
So, stop at some point this week, sit down with a cup of tea and the Nourish E-Book, and read the self-care wisdom shared by real women who are just like you – including our very own Modern Hippie Housewife, Carly!
I hope the stories inspire you, spark reflection and encourage you to take some time for YOU.
Know that you are not alone on this journey – we are all navigating this, together, which is why I absolutely love supporting busy women to nourish themselves through my online programs, workshops and retreats. Sometimes you just need someone in your corner, giving you gentle nudges, reminding you to make time for yourself. I got you.
Ps: if you’re still stuck on self-care feeling selfish, read this post which explains in detail exactly why it is not.
PPS: stuck on simple ideas for self-care and want some inspiration? Here are 15 ideas, many of which can be done in 5 minutes or less.
PPPS: Want to know more about the work that I do? Check out this 1 minute video that communicates the heart and soul of my work, supporting busy women to nourish themselves.