Seriously, it’s not a luxury to care for yourself. It’s necessary. And not just for you.
How we show up in the world is directly connected to how we show up for ourselves. Think about a time when you were feeling stressed, angry or sad. Did you smile at strangers you passed in the grocery store? Were you the picture of patience with your toddler? Did you lovingly fold your family’s clothes or make them a delicious home-cooked meal?
When we don’t honor our own needs, we feel put-upon, frustrated, anxious or sad. Or all of the above. These negative feelings inevitably flow into our words and actions. Studies show that mom’s mood will set the tone for the entire household. If mom is unhappy, so is everyone else.
This is by no means a reason to feel guilty, or to fake happiness. Those closest to us would be able to tell when we are pretending to be happy.
No, the answer is to actually take steps to become happy. To make a conscious effort to love ourselves. To give ourselves the room to explore what we believe will help us feel better in our own skin. Whether that is choosing better food, getting regular massages, taking a pottery class, meditating, journaling, going on retreats; all of these things, while you may initially think of them as selfish, are truthfully UNselfish.
Because when we truly love ourselves, we can finally truly love others too.
This is the reason I can tell you that I regularly prioritize my own needs at the top of my list. I do not miss a workout because someone else “needs” something. There is very little in the world that is so urgent that it cannot wait until I finish my 30-45 minute workout. Since I work out at home, I can be done & showered within an hour. I make it a priority to schedule my workout at the time of day that is least likely to be interrupted. For me, that’s about 6:30am. And because I schedule it like any other appointment, it actually happens every day.
I spend time & money to buy high-quality foods. I don’t go to coffee shops for my morning pick-me up. I take a shot of pre-workout and get to my weights instead. But the money I might have spent on that latte is put into my grocery budget, making it easier to afford high-quality, whole foods. I spends an hour or two on the weekend to prep those foods, so that throughout the week, so it is quick and easy to make healthier choices. I feel more energized and lighter when I eat more fresh foods, so I feel better about my body and never feel guilty when I DO indulge in a treat, because I know that 90% of the time, I’m nourishing my body in the best way I can. I can’t expect my body to take care of me if I don’t take care of it. If I want to feel well-rested, calm, energetic avoid getting sick, nutrition needs to be a major priority. And I love myself enough to do it.
I get my nails done twice a month. It’s something I do that makes me feel polished and pretty. I remember when my mom was battling cancer, I took her to the “Look Good, Feel Better” salon, where chemo patients are fitted with wigs & hats, and shown how to do their makeup. There is a really good reason to do this. People who LOOK better, FEEL better. They gain a more positive outlook. And positive mindset is a really important piece when a person is battling cancer. BELIEF that they can get well plays a major role in actually beating the disease. And that mentality crosses over into all areas of life. If you feel good about yourself, you take better care of yourself. So I get my nails done, get my hair done, and wear cute shoes. Feeling great about myself helps me radiate more positivity to those around me. So the way I see it, everyone benefits when I get my nails done.
I also go on retreats 2-3 times a year, to learn, teach, grow and connect with other women.
I often speak at these retreats, but I also listen to other speakers, learn from them, and connect with new friends. It gives me a few days to focus just on me and reflect on how I am showing up in the world. It lets me see the areas I would like to improve and helps me figure out the best way to do that. After a retreat, I am ALWAYS more positive, happier, more present and loving to those around me. I am acutely aware of how my energy affects others and build on skills acquired during the retreats to continually improve on myself. Because of these retreats, I feel better connected tom myself, am more loving and kind to myself, and show up better for my family. Everyone in the house benefits when I take a few days to take care of me.
I have learned to say no when I mean no, so that when I say yes, it is with a joyful heart and a true desire to give, instead of feeling put-upon or obligated.
Now that you know that loving yourself is your responsibility, and is important for your own health & happiness, as well as those you love, what is one thing you will do this week to show yourself some love? Let me know in the comments!