“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel”.
~ Eleanor Brown
Self-care. Such a hot topic these days and one that I am no expert. What I am learning, though is that the more I tend to myself self the more I actually have for others.
I love the water vessel analogy. Imagine that the level of water in a vessel represents the amount of energy you have. We pour a little here at work, here on our children and a little there on our partner. We keep pouring ourselves out because we want to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I’m sure it’s no surprise, but If all we are doing is pouring out then eventually, we will have nothing to give.
Trust me, I know from experience. I tend to be more of a pleaser when it comes to people and in the habit of giving more than receiving. I was so used to neglecting myself for the sake of others that I did not even know who I was anymore or what I needed to fill my own vessel. The funny thing is this loss of self-actually helped no one and only required more from my loved ones (feeling like they needed to tend to me) and left me feeling frustrated, with a low self-esteem, burned out and overall out of touch with myself.
I am so grateful for my spiritual director/ soul friend who came along side me encouraged me to take care of myself and to honor myself first, it was not always easy but eventually helped us all. You know the saying that the way we treat ourselves is the way we teach others to treat us. It’s true and it was hard to break the patterns that we were all used to.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. ” – Lucille Ball
It feels important to bring up the topic of self-love /self-care particularly in quarantine and the approaching Holiday season. Since the demands and roles/responsibilities we have never really stop and have taken on a whole new level it’s even more important to learn how to fill our vessels. If we don’t, who will? And although our roles and the things we pour into are so important, they are not what define us. Buried within and below the role is our true self and she needs you so that as a woman in business and home, wives’, moms, daughters, aunts, and friends we can offer the most vibrant best parts of ourselves to those around us.
So how do we do this work?
I believe it starts with simply integrating some self-care habits into our daily schedule. Remember Self-care is not selfish or a luxury but vital to our well-being! It’s work we do on the “inside” to nourish our soul and on the outside to care for our physical body. As Agnes Wainman explained, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from you. Do you know what refuels you? And what you need to fill your vessel? It’s ok if you don’t know -you will. Things take the time they take but remember no one can do it for you. It is solely our responsibility hence the term, SELF-care.
Start today- set aside about 10-20 minutes this week to set some intentions. And guess what? Everyone around you will benefit too. Find a spot outdoors or at a favorite coffee shop or favorite place in your house. Take time to ask how yourself how you would like to feel holiday season? What is important to you? What helps you feel joy? Connection to yourself and others? Write it down so you can look at it often. Remember we teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. Design a holiday (and eventually a life) that allows more time for you.
More Practical suggestions:
- Start small but do one thing for yourself every day. Watch the sunrise alone, drink a glass of water, meditate, sit with your face to the sun even for 5 minutes. Exercise is so good to promote good health. If you are stuck in your house, take time to move your body. Get online workouts you can do at home with O44method.com. Endorphins are amazing!
- Give yourself a break from social media or if you don’t want to stay off that’s ok too just remember no one is having the perfect quarantine holiday ☺ even though it might look like it.
- Keep food and decorations simple this year- If cooking up a fancy meal refuels you by all means do it. Otherwise hit the easy button. Order some meals out, fill your house with simple things like greenery and candles.
- If at all possible, maybe the best gift of the year -plan a time to reconnect with yourself. If you can find a 24-hour getaway do it! I remember when my kids were little finding an hour away felt impossible, but it probably wasn’t. Ask for help-work with whatever you have and don’t apologize for needing to re-connect with yourself. Remember we not our roles or who others tell us we are. Get to know yourself beyond the labels and responsibilities you have. Who are you outside of your roles? I can’t wait to see what you discover.
I am pulling for you and in it with you… Enjoy the process and cheers to all that is ahead!