There I said it. It's the "filling of your cup", it's putting your oxygen mask on before your child's, it's looking after one's self so we can give to those around us.
Over the years i've learnt this lesson the hard way, often doing too much or not saying no to people. In turn, ending up ill or burnt out, unable to do the simplest of tasks and finding hibernating the easiest option. I've watched people I love and care for, give until they are empty, unable to love or look after themselves. The journey back from that place is long and tiring, and can often feel overwhelming.
So why do we do it to ourselves?
Because we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile. We prioritise our family, friends, colleagues needs over our own. We want to be a good wife, husband, brother, sister, daughter, son, friend, colleague... We don't want to let those around us "down" we feel that by doing something indulgently for you, when there is so much else to be done is somehow selfish.
IT ISN'T!!! Listen to me when I tell you, "you are the only one who knows what YOU need and can prioritise YOU!" Not your boss, husband or friend but YOU.
Think of self care like a relationship with yourself. You have to find and make the time to spend together being present in the moment. Relationships don't work when one side is always giving and the other always taking. We need to treat ourselves with that same respect and attention you might treat a new partner or job. Like a relationship, at times it gets pushed to the side slightly if we are busy with life, kids, work. Eventually it begins to take it's toll, pressure begins to rise, often ending in a volcanic eruption of some kind which either leads to resentment or just feeling drained.
"But I just don't have the time/money"
I've thrown this statement out a few times myself but can I let you in on a secret? Self care doesn't always have to be a day at the spa or a weekend retreat, it's the permission to run your life at a slower pace. It can be as little as 5 mins, giving your self time to stop and have a hot cup of tea and a flick through your social media or a magazine. It can be an evening of rewatching your favourite movie knowing that the dishes are in the sink and the ironing pile is waiting. It's ok, i'm giving you permission to indulge in yourself. What i've found over the years of this vicious cycle, the washing WILL get sorted, the ironing EVENTUALLY gets done and the dishes can often be blitzed quickly in the morning. Wrap up and take a walk in the park, take a flask and sit by the pond. Go for a 20 min run, a swim or bike ride. Whatever makes you feel a bit more like you, make it happen!
Just this weekend I spent an entire day in bed. Yes that's right an entire day. Why? because I was tired emotionally and physically (I also may have been out the night before and being off-call, just may have indulged in a touch too much wine). It started off as just a nap but ended up as a crochet/comedy watching fest as my husband was beavering around the house doing "important" things. It really took all I had to just stay in my bed and had to just push the guilt aside, however I did it.
The following day my husband actually said I was glowing, and looked refreshed, (anyone that knows my husband will also know he is a man of few words) I took the compliment reminded him that must have been my deliciously indulgent day in bed and headed off on the school run where I received similar feedback.
You see it's not just you that benefits from your taking care of yourself. It ripples out to those around you. Make yourself a priority today, find 5 minutes for yourself and take it from there.