I can recall being outside at 10pm hanging out the washing one night as my husband came out to me and asked what an earth I was doing. I literally needed tooth picks to hold up my eye lids. Yet I was still going, getting stuff done. Ticking off the never ending to do list.
I ran my life like this as an entrepreneur for years. Yes, I created success financially, but at the sacrifice of myself and important relationships around me.
I just did not understand how I was going to get my to do list done, make enough money, be a good mum and wife and somewhere in there, I was supposed to look after me. The way I looked at it then was – “I will look after me when I am successful”.
I had lost sight of the goal and the person who was completing it. And it led to burn out (more than once). At first, I thought this just meant there was something wrong with me, and then my second option was to work harder and at twice the pace. Both of these methods also failed.
Eventually I really had to look at it differently. What was I really running from or towards?
After all that was what I was constantly doing – “running”.
Can you relate?
I thought self-care meant massages and getting my nails done. I didn’t have time for that. And self-care for me was something else. I didn’t have a social norm for my style of self-care.
Whilst that can be part of selfcare, it is more the icing on the cake.
Why? Because selfcare at it’s core is to ensure we are meeting our basic needs. Those are enough sleep, good food, enough water, clean our teeth, have a good moral code. Often you are attempting to reach for the top end of selfcare, and yet the foundation is not in place. No amount of massage will overcome not enough sleep and running on your adrenal glands.
However, I knew that this way was becoming more of a punishment lifestyle than a reward-based lifestyle. Maybe you can relate, do you have defined what self-care is for you?
It is difficult to implement something, if you are unclear on what it looks like for you. We can live be our own definition of this, one that is in alignment with us.
Check in with yourself and see if the way your are treating yourself is a punishment or rewarding.
So how do you flip it on it’s head?
You have to confront several things.
1. You are not prepared to continue in the same manner.
2. How do you actually want it to be.
3. What steps can you take now to change something (pick small steps if needed, so as to not trigger off more fear). You need to break the fear cycle and decrease your fight and flight response in order to even start being able to complete self-care.
4. Play the game the way you want to play it, not based on what someone else wants. Have healthy boundaries and the ethics to keep them in place. Build up you “no” muscle. Yes, this is a practice as it is likely you have not used it much.
5. Ask for help – not tell people you are overwhelmed and not coping. That is not clear communication. Asking for help – outline what you need and when by, ensure those you are asking can complete that task in the timeframe you need.
6. Understand when you make a change, that things get messy. Think of it like cleaning your house. Your house gets messier before it gets cleaner. Chaos before calm.
These are 6 steps that you can start to use to implement a self care business. Healthy life and healthy business. One that feeds your health, rather than destroys it.
You deserve the best.
Guest Blogger: Alison Wheeler