I'm afraid I want to go on a rant, but I'll refrain. Instead of preaching about why we're NOT doing something, I'm going to focus on the good that comes from doing this something. This something is SELF-CARE.
I'll try and keep it personal :)
I LOVE helping people. I want so badly for people who are hurting physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to feel better. I believe that mind-body practices, meditation, silence, yoga, and rest, can REALLY help. I know these are not the only things that help, but are a few that I have found to work well. They don't just work well for me either. They have been working for thousands of people for thousands of years in the eastern cultures. We in the west are just now acknowledging their benefits.
I feel SO blessed to have this awareness and to be able to teach these practices to others for a living. In my early years of teaching yoga, I think my excitement got the best of me. I was teaching LOTS of classes. I was so happy for people to have healing experiences, to grow stronger, to learn to be still, and to feel connected to their Spirits. It was amazing! Then I started teaching workshops, and then I started a meditation community, and then and then and then......... I found myself exhausted. I even started getting resentful when my students would tell me how great they felt. I started realizing that I wasn't feeling great. I'm sad to say, it took me a few years to realize that I needed to continue the practices myself! I was, but I needed MUCH more than I did before I was teaching full time.
I realized that the amount of time I practiced before I started teaching wasn't going to cut it, because now I was pouring out MUCH more than before. In fact, I realized that I needed to almost double the time for my practices of self-care so I could stay full instead of constantly feeling empty. For the next few years I fought this over and over. Instead of saying no to a workshop or a teaching opportunity and choosing self-care, I said yes against the prompting of my my body calling me to rest. I wanted to help, I wanted to teach, I wanted to spread this wonderful message. But, ignoring myself started to steal my peace.
I had to get to a point where I knew and then honored my limits, because we all have them. My exhaustion and bad attitudes finally caught up with me and I started saying no. This was a difficult season because had I said no earlier, I think that season wouldn't have been as long. But there are always lessons to be learned so we can grow and change. After the season of feeling completely depleated I found a new rythm. I made self-care a major priority in my life because of what I do. When I teach, I am fully present and engaged with people. This takes a lot of energy. I am giving of myself in all aspects. I have learned and am still learning how to conserve my energy as I teach, but I am a VERY animated person and sometimes I can't control my hand movements and facial expressions. Haha :)
So, what I want to relay to you is that to the degree you give out is to the degree that you must fill back up and even more! Lisa Nichols shared this message in one of her talks that I watched on YouTube. She said something along the lines of, 'We don't need to pour out from our cups, we need to pour out from our saucers.' WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Basically she is saying we shouldn't be emptying ourselves until we're dry and exhausted and we're giving from the very bottom of our cups. We should be pouring out from our overflow! Our cups should stay full and be overflowing and running down into the saucer and that's what we give out of.
Dear friend, this is a wonderful concept. It's inspiring and sounds great BUT self-care is NOT a concept. Self-care is an action and you have to actually do it! It is a constant practice. It is not something you can skip and stay full and continue to give. You will feel it, and the people you are giving to will feel it. For the work you do to be what it should be PLEASE take care of yourself. Stay full. Do what you know you need to do. Don't make excuses. You'll never just get to it later. It has to be a priority for you to succeed and thrive. Don't make my mistake.
Some ways to Self-Care:
Meditation. I LOVE the insight timer app: https://insighttimer.com/
Be in nature. Go for a walk, sit outside, hug a tree, watch birds, look at the sky.
Exercise. I don't care what you do, but move your body. Our bodies hold the tensions of the mind and we need a way to release that energy.
Take a nap or just lay down in quiet for 10-15 minutes. We are constantly putting out energy and we need to have time during the day to bring energy back in. REST!
Journal. 'Writing can serve as a calming, meditative tool. Stream of conscious writing exercises, in particular, have been identified as helpful stress coping methods. Keeping a journal or trying out free-writing exercises, can drastically reduce your levels of stress.'
These are just some suggestions. Find what works best for you because we're all different and part of self-care is finding what helps us feel restored. I want to encourage you to make self-care an appointment on your calendar. Make it a committment. Put it on your schedule, or it will just be another thing on your to-do list. You deserve to feel good. You deserve to be thriving. The world needs your magic! Do what it takes to keep it flowing :)
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