Lately, I’ve been doing something dumb. Really dumb. I have a super exciting self-care project I’ve been working on (along with my upcoming Self-Care Challenge), and instead of being excited, I’ve been majorly stressing myself out about it. Finding people to share my idea with. Trying to promote my blog. Trying to get people to read it. Trying to write this self-care resource. Staying up way too late working. Forgetting to eat lunch and then realizing it’s 4:00 pm. I’ve been focusing on it every moment I’m not tutoring or recipe-testing, at the expense of almost everything else in my life.
It comes from a good place, I swear. It comes from a passion about the subject and wanting to reach out and help others.
Look, my blog might only be 20 days old, but we’re getting to know each other, right? And I think by now we trust each other. I’ve talked about the dangers of seeing “perfect relationships” all over Instagram. I showed you pictures of how terrible my skin was in college. I’ve shared with you about being sick and struggling with anxiety and depression. I enjoy celebrating with you my successes, along with admitting my shortcomings. My main goal of this blog is just to keep. it. real. I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. I have breakouts, arguments with my husband, and days where I don’t get dressed or leave the house. I cry because I feel lonely when I go too long without talking to my friends. I make terrible recipes, like the coconut ice cream that totally FLOPPED. I do dumb things sometimes.
So I’m going to share this with you, too.
Last night, I got so overwhelmed by the expectations and deadlines I put on myself with this blog that I actually had a panic attack. Followed by a night of not falling asleep until 3 am. Followed by dreams that I was drowning. Falling off a ship into the ocean, covered by massive tidal waves, unable to keep my head above the water – I was drowning, then waking up in bed choking on air, with twisted sheets cutting off the circulation in my hands.
And I’m no stranger to anxiety. It was something that came to me (invaded me, took me hostage, drowned me) later in life, in my mid-twenties. It was never something I understood in high school or college, because I was a quintessential extrovert, free-spirited adventurer. I took road trips alone, moved to Bilbao, Spain to take classes, flew to California multiple years in a row by myself to attend a summer-long National Writing Project, sat by strangers in coffee shops, made friends on airplanes, even dated someone I met on a train to Chicago. Anxiety wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary, unless we’re talking flying – I’ve always hated that. (:
I loved a packed schedule. No time to think. Social calendar filled to the brim with events and lunch dates. Two or three jobs at a time. This is how I thrived.
Something changed in my mid-twenties. Whether it was my string of illnesses, unbalanced minerals, low neurotransmitters, stress catching up to me, or what, but I became an anxious person.
This past year, since dealing with anxiety SO crushing that I lost the ability to drive myself in my car for a few weeks or go grocery shopping alone without a panic attack, I’ve learned that I need to take care of myself. I can’t keep pressing forward pretending everything is fine. I can’t distract myself with 12-hour days of working on the same resource, and forget about nourishing my body. I have to stop, listen intuitively to what my spirit is telling me, and then find a way to answer.
Sometimes, self-care is almost like you’re taking yourself on a date. When you’re dating someone, don’t you consider what they want to do? What would make them happy and comfortable? How to be thoughtful and make their day? Well, I want you to do that for yourself. Try to win yourself over. Try to listen. You’re intentionally creating a place where you feel relaxed, where you can de-stress, breathe, and consider what you need at the moment. It’s that gut feeling, the voice in the back of your head, a pull toward an answer. Your intuition.
To get in the right mindset, I’ll create a space for myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. It’ll look something like this: a little meditation corner, a bright tapestry, my crystals, succulents, plants…all things that make me happy. I’ll turn the lights off, keeping the “firefly” lights on, and diffuse some Stress Away and Lavender. I’ll take a candle-lit bath with a big glass of coconut water, trace minerals, and Pure Radiance whole food Vitamin C.
But if you’re like the “old” me, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time for self-care. I’m so busy with work, events, seeing friends, taking care of everyone around me that I just can’t possibly fit it into my schedule.
Well, you know what I think? I think we make time for the things that are important to us. Self-care doesn’t have to take all day. It can be five minutes when you wake up. Ten minutes before bed. Taking your lunch break alone outside, sitting in the grass, doing some breathing exercises while you eat your salad or sandwich.
If you’re busy, you might just have to pencil yourself in.
I mean it. In your planner, or your phone alerts, you might just have to block of a time for yourself. However much time you can allow, take it. Use that time to pour into yourself in whatever way rejuvenates you. Do it tonight. Do it right now.
In the last few months, since I’ve been getting back on track with self-care, overall I’ve been improving a lot. I’m able to drive again, enter stores, go to restaurants with my husband.
But, like I said. I mess up.
I put too much pressure on myself.
I become laser-focused on getting something done, that I completely ignore the cries of my body – for the simplest things like food, like meditation, like a simple stretch break, time for my eyes to focus on something other than a 15-inch screen, time to decompress. My soul is crying PAY ATTENTION TO ME, please nourish me, and I’m ignoring it because I’m a to-do list junkie and I can’t stop and I’m obsessed with writing and creating this resource and helping others avoid doing WHAT I’M DOING TO MYSELF RIGHT NOW.
How ironic, huh.
I can teach about self-care all day, but do I always remember to do it?
Does that mean I can’t help other people achieve a deep level of self-care and awareness?
No. I can help.
We’re all human. We’re all on a journey to find happiness and have a fulfilling life. But this was eye-opening for me, working myself into a panic about something that is not deadly, it’s not worth of this amount of stress. It’s all self-imposed.
So I’m stepping back. I’m going to focus tonight on rest, unplugging, and figuring out how to answer the cries of my body I’ve abused and ignored. How to come softly back, asking for forgiveness, promising to do better next time. Instead of lesson planning and blogging and commenting, I’m going to do some restorative yoga, have a nice, long meditation session, and make some green juice. It’s what I’m craving. It’s what I know I need… and then I’ll wake up tomorrow (hopefully with no dreams that involve water) and feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes my way.
If you have absolutely no idea what self-care means to you, and if you’re willing to learn from someone passionate but imperfect, whose heart is open to exploring this self-care thing right alongside you, then please sign up for my FREE Self-Care Challenge starting on March 10. We’ll be focusing on some self-care avenues, self-love, stillness, meditation, and using intuition to know what your body and spirit need in that moment. (Please remember to confirm your e-mail address, or your spot won’t be reserved.)
<3 Thanks for listening, and always, sending you peace and positive light,
What does your self-care look like? Are you consistent? Do you need more help and encouragement to put time into yourself? Do you never consider it? Let me know in the comments below.