I feel like the last month and a half I have been pulled into a million different directions. I must admit that feeling this way makes it hard to stay balanced and centered. When I finish intensive workshops or retreats, there is so much to do after!
Now if you know anything about me, you know that I want to jump right back in and start helping everyone, being there for anyone that I can be of assistance to, be other’s rock, and offer a shoulder for anyone who needs it to cry on… but that’s so hard when I am not my fullest self!
We are often taught that we should make sacrifices and put our needs second, and somehow are convinced that that’s how we will become a better person. However, in the back of your mind, you know that you should be taking care of yourself and probably can see how not making yourself a priority is keeping you from living an authentic life and manifesting your deepest desires.
I mean let’s be honest… There is an incredible feeling of satisfaction that comes from being there for others when they are in need., but unfortunately, conventional wisdom is currently centered around us giving more of ourselves to others than focusing on ourselves and what we desire to accomplish in life and often focusing on helping others alone can often drain our cup and leave us depleted and empty inside.
It took me a while to understand that there is such a big difference between being selfish or being self-centered vs. being self-aware, knowing how to draw boundaries and understanding that we have to fill our cup first to if we want to be our best self for others. It is such a valuable realization that when we choose to give more of ourselves to others than we do to our own selves, we often jeopardize our ability to live joyfully and clarify, much less fulfill, our vision of the future.
When I started on the journey of self-care, I took time to get to know myself. I know that sounds strange, but when I realized that I had created an idea of myself based on my past, and others expectations, I realized I had to stop ignoring my needs and needed to find and embrace the things that make me joyful; because I noticed how it not only benefited me, but it was also serving to uplift others. I guess it’s like when you’re on a plane and they say that you must put on your oxygen mask on first.
There are a few things that really changed the game for me…
IMPROVING MY PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
When I learned about our nervous system, and how it affects both our physical and mental health, I realized I needed to start by understanding how to take care of my body and my mind. I started by learning about the body and mind worked, so I could determine what made sense to me. I learned how to eat, how to move my body and about how the body operates. For example, our nervous system has two main systems: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic parts. The sympathetic nervous system responds to emergencies, it is our fight or flight response. Continually operating under high levels of stress, our bodies are prompted to respond with sympathetic reactions and release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to prepare the body for action. If we are continuously stressing, we cause imbalances in bodily functions and even weaken our immune system.
When I metaphorically “took a chill pill” and understood how to use my breath to calm myself and remain centered, I learned that it prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to react, releasing hormones that allowed me to relax and be connected to the present moment.
LEARNING HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES
Learning that what I allowed to come into my life, was inevitably being attracted into my life, taught me that I needed to learn to set boundaries. I realized that I wasn’t there to rescue anyone, and that all I could do was offer tools and support for them. When I started to set boundaries and respectfully allowed others to be clear on how I desired to be treated, I began to foster my own self-respect. That reason alone helped me realize that boundaries are not only healthy, but necessary.
FOSTERING MY FOCUS
By getting to know myself better, I started to bring into sharper focus the things that matter to me the most. When I began to consider and prioritize all of the things that required my energy and began to lessen my level of stress by prioritizing what was really important to me.
DEVELOPING MY CONFIDENCE
When I started to regularly carve out time to do what things I enjoyed, I began to feel like life was over all more positive. I learned that by doing more things that I enjoyed, I could affect my brain and cause it to releas endorphins that improve my feelings of self-worth and confidence.
By discovering myself, getting clear on my values, and focusing my efforts, I was able to step into my path more confidently. I also must admit that time and experience has afforded me the clarity and confidence to share any wisdom that has gotten me to this place with others. And I must add, that I used a speaking coach to help understand how to best develop my presence and improve my delivery, because I understand the power of a first impression.
Even though learning to take care of yourself may be a hard decision, in the long run, it may be the best decision you will ever make. If any of this resonates with you, just know that I’m here for you… And if you ever want to chat or work on getting clear on your own passions and life I am here to chat!