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Make A Space For Yourself

Make A Space For Yourself

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?

No.

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,

 

-Allie

bohemian-nation-self-care-challenge

 

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.

 



59 thoughts on “Make A Space For Yourself”

    • I definitely need to do that more. I started bullet journaling recently, which has been incredible, but I’ve slacked on it in the last few weeks with our move. I’m going to get back to it and schedule self-care daily, or … maybe even a FULL DAY of it if I can swing it! (: <3 You take care of yourself!

  • I really loved this post because I can relate! I remember once in college I was going from class to the gym to a haircut to a nail appointment and complaining I have no time for anything when literally everything I was doing was benefiting m! It’s nice to take a step back and know it’s ok to not have it all under control all the time!

    • Thank you! It’s crazy how busy our schedules can get, and even if it’s stuff we enjoy, it can still feel a bit stressful. I’m definitely learning how to be okay with the messiness and the lack of control, which is hard for me… I like to have a set plan and follow it directly, most of the time. Learning to be spontaneous and much more fluid… it’s great for me!

  • Love this post! I totally feel ya – I also just started my blog and I’ve been feeling anxiety around getting enough posts up during the week. It’s daunting! But you’re right, it’s so important to step back and take care of your self above all else. Thanks for the inspiration <3

  • Just like the flight attendant reminds us on the airplane, you need to put YOUR oxygen mask on first, before assisting others! Light and love and fullness of spirit to you, my dear!!!

  • This is great! I have a few friends who live with anxiety, some conquer it easier than others. Its all about finding who you are and what your body wants and loves from you! I absolutely love that! I know what my body craves and wants from me and in return I can love myself while loving those around me! Great job! So excited for the challenge! 🙂

    • Thanks girl! I agree and I am so happy that you are in-tune with what your body is asking and can really focus on yourself when you need to. PS I don’t think I saw your sign-up come through – did you open the confirmation e-mail and hit the “Subscribe me to this List?” Mail Chimp is kind of annoying that it makes you do it twice 🙁 haha. So excited to read more of your posts!!

  • This is too true… and I’m the exact same!! I wonder what it is about us that makes us forget about ourselves.. when I’m getting all worked up my fiancé just says my name and tells me to breath.. somehow it works but meditation if my ultimate favourite to just sit and be.
    Love getting to know you on here xx

    • What a good fiance you have! When I was at my WORST, my husband had to lay next to me and help me do breathing exercises. Ha. It’s so nice to have supportive people in our lives. Breathing is SO IMPORTANT! Have you heard of Buteyko breathing? I like practicing that. I love getting to know you, toooo!

  • I love this honestly. Thanks so much for sharing your hardships and I’m sorry you’ve been through all that – safe to say we maybe all have at one time. Takes real courage to write about it. Truly beautiful and inspiring post, lots of love for it ❤

  • Thank you for writing this! It’s so important to take time out for ourselves, even fun things like blogging can become overwhelming x

    • Yes! Even fun things CAN be overwhelming – it’s so true. I struggle with the idea of “everything in moderation.” Once I start something, I want to do it all the time or not at all haha!!!

  • I’m trying to work on that, writing notes every week. this is a really great post, inspiring. I truly love this part you wrote “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.” it’s so powerful . Thank you so much for sharing, I was happy to read this post

    • Thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m really happy you enjoyed the post. What kind of notes are you working on writing? I loved reading your blog today, too!! (: (:

  • I just adored this post. I’m very similar- depression kicked in for a few years after I turned 19 and I experienced awful anxiety from age 24-26 from being in an bad relationship. I’m now 28 and I feel like I have conquered depression and anxiety, and I focus a lot more on my self care. Yoga has done wonders for me- just learning to breathe correctly has made such a difference. I meditate regularly, I read, I get out in nature. All these things help so much and I use them as a preventative for my emotions going downhill. I hadn’t thought of creating a space for myself- I love crystals and candles etc so I will definitely be doing this now!!

    • Oh I am so sorry you had to deal with anxiety, too… and depression. It’s NOT FUN and it’s hard to understand until you’ve been there. The only good thing I think that can come of it is that it DOES force us to consider self-care, just as a means of self-preservation haha! Yoga and breathing are amazing, and meditation and nature… yes… all of those are “musts” for me, too!

    • Aww Heather I am so sorry you’re dealing with this, too. I know you’re a teacher and it’s an incredibly stressful (and honorable and important!) job that leaves little time for anything else… at least when I was teaching. I’m excited you’re doing the challenge!!! Can’t wait to read some more of your posts on writing! (:

  • Allie, I absolutely adore your authenticity and your heart in sharing this! Thank you for being so brave and transparent. You’re not alone, we all stray from our core from time to time, even with the best of intentions to stay true to it. I’m so glad you’re re-prioritizing caring for yourself. For me, self-care looks like time each morning to read the Bible and pray, eating a substantial breakfast (NOT a Larabar, which is sometimes my default on busy days), and getting at least a few short minutes of sunshine any time I can!

    • Thank you, Traci! I spent a lot of my life wanting people to think I had the perfect life, perfect relationships, perfect jobs… everything. But it’s much more freeing to be authentic. It just took me many years and successes and hardships to get here. (: I love your self-care ideas. I, too, have been a Larabar-for-a-meal person, but I feel so much better when I eat something more. Have you tried RX bars? I just made the switch and I’m obsessed with those! Still really good/clean ingredients, a bit less sweet.

      • I’ve heard of them but have never tried them! I’ll def check them out! (Maybe after I finish off the two boxes of Larabars I just got haha!) Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  • What you said about scheduling time yourself is so important in my book! When we aren’t intentional about how we spend our time, life can get away from us. Don’t get me wrong, I love spontaneity–but even spontaneity needs an invitation to take space up in our lives. In the past I’ve done exercises where I list what I do with my time each day (even down to brushing my teeth). If I’m not happy with how I’m making space for my values, it’s time to reassess, reschedule, and recharge. I’m looking forward to seeing these self-care guides you’re putting together, Allie! Don’t you worry about perfection, girl… Opening the opportunity for introspection and conversation will surely be fruitful! Thank you for your genuine honesty here!

    • What are you doing, commenting on vacation!?!? Get outta here. (: haha just kidding… I really appreciate your words! I love what you said: “When we aren’t intentional about how we spend our time, life can get away from us.” That is sooo true. I like your idea about listing how I spend a day and evaluating what I’m giving space to. I’m really excited that you’re doing the challenge! And I can’t wait to see how your house looks when you guys get back from your trip! Have so much fun – love you both! <3 <3

  • I struggle with anxiety, too. In fact, that’s the main thing my blog revolves around. The good days, bad, days, how to cope, etc. I’ve recently made a space for myself. My hubby actually had the idea to turn our spare room into my closet/organization room. A place for all my favorite things, decorated just for me. When he’s at work, I’m in my new room on the laptop or reading. It is really a stress reliever to have it.

    • Your husband sounds awesome! What a good idea. That’s kind of what I’ve done… we just moved and now have a second bedroom, so I have my tapestries and crystals and diffuser and everything in there. It makes me really excited to go to yoga, since I’ve decorated it how I want it to look (: I’m happy you have that, too!

  • This article came at such a right timing! I feel like it’s a vicious cycle, pinning, interacting, making content, fixing never-ending tech issues. I’m looking forward to March 10th to start your challenge. Thank you for shredding the light on such an important topic, Allie!

  • My self care consists of taking a nice bubble bath while enjoying a glass of wine! Pinot Grigio is my fancy! Really enjoyed reading your blog post! Sometimes we get caught up in everyday life and forget we need to take care of ourselves as well! This was a great reminder! Xo

    http://www.thebbar.org

  • Loved how you write from a very honest perspective; so genuine and real 👏🏻👌🏻. I do believe self-care is vital and essential to succeed in life. We often get so caught up in our daily lives and projects that we forget that we need to set asside time for ourselves. “I’m too busy” is just an excuse we use because we don’t have our priorities straight. Making time is a matter of priorities, it doesn’t depend on how busy we are. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational post! 🙂

  • I SO needed to read this. I always see self care for when I have ‘time’ yet we’re not given any more time we just make it. I also saw it as some form of procrastination and that my tasks won’t be done on time or that I just want to finish up all I can do and fall asleep.
    So I’ll be trying your self care course for sure!

    Thanks for sharing
    Charlotte
    http://www.monnolife.com

  • Thank you for posting this! I feel like I have followed a similar path, and am seeing the same end result — increased anxiety over something that really should not be a cause of panic. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter what I post or how many people will read it or how many hours i need t o promote it. I should publish something I enjoy, and hope that people will do the same 🙂

  • Aww, girl. Look after yourself. Sounds like you know what you need to do. I get the same way sometimes too but I’ve definitely gotten better as I’m getting older at just taking a deep breath, not getting so stressed and prioritizing self-care. Great post, the self-care challenge sounds awesome! You got this!!

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