Hey friends, can we be real for a minute? Please let me know that I’m not alone here.
When it comes to taking care of other people – my family, friends, pets, (and sometimes complete strangers!) I almost always show up and follow through for them.
I do my best to leave work on time to get home, show up on time when going out with friends, let people go first if we’ve both stopped at a stop sign at the same time, and prioritize a walk and play-time with my pooch.
But when it comes to taking care of my needs and my body, not so much.
I recognize that I should cook myself a nourishing meal, I should get to bed early so I can get 8 hours of sleep, I should bring my tennis shoes to work so I can do some laps at break-time.
But sometimes, I just don’t.
I have the thought that I should xyz, and then I’m on to a new thought like, “I wonder what the weather will be like today?”
Why is it so much easier to follow through with other people’s needs, as opposed to my own?
This is so interesting, because it’s a non-negotiable for me to exercise my dog, it’s a non-negotiable for me to check-in with friends, it’s a non-negotiable for me to help a family member in need or cover a co-worker’s shift.
I enjoy taking care of others. It’s part of who I am.
But from personal experience, it’s clear that when I’ve not made my own needs a priority, I show up for loved ones half-heartedly. I’m exhausted, distracted, and overwhelmed.
And how much am I really helping people when I feel like that?
After some curiosity and journaling about this, I came up with a few realizations.
When it came to taking care of myself, I gave myself an out. I made taking care of my body an OPTION, instead of a non-negotiable.
I had flimsy boundaries around taking care of myself BECAUSE:
I hadn’t fully committed to my relationship with my body.
I hadn’t truly internalized the reverence and appreciation that my body deserves.
I hadn’t realized my needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
A lot of days, my body was just something that got me from point A to point B.
And if I was going to eat healthy or exercise, it was only to change what my body looked like on the outside (not exactly being my body’s ally, right?).
So, I decided to do something different.
Every morning, I would write my needs down.
My physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs.
An example is:
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Journal for 5 minutes
- Go for a 20 minute walk/run
- Eat a nourishing breakfast
Then, I would take action right away and would not let anything get in the way of achieving what I needed to do for myself (hint: make a non-negotiable + honor my personal boundary).
No scrolling social media, no emptying the dishwasher, no answering emails.
This was not easy, because I had such a deep belief that everything and everyone else’s needs came before my own.
For example, one day my brother asked me to help him move a couch. He told me what time he would be ready for me to help. And since I hadn’t taken care of my needs yet, I told him I wouldn’t be able to help until the afternoon.
What was incredible about this day was not only did I take care of myself AND help my brother, but I was also able to scratch tasks off my never-ending to-do list (FINALLY!).
I was more helpful and productive because I had taken care of myself first.
And this is why honoring your boundaries is so important.
Because no one knows what you truly need, and no one is going to honor your needs for you.
It’s not anyone else’s job to know what you need and to make you take care of yourself.
It’s understanding that you are worth it. You are worth the time it takes to tend to your body and your well-being.
It’s saying “no” to distractions in order to say “yes” to yourself.
Because of this, you are able to show up more fully and more present for others.
YOU must give YOU the permission slip.
Because honestly, you’re the only one that can.
Sending you all the strength and love. You’ve got this!