I AM A PEOPLE PLEASER. Let’s first start there. I have a habit of putting more on my plate than I can possibly chew. It is nobody’s fault but my own. I have tried to remind myself that it is okay to set boundaries. It is okay to say ‘no.’ Yet time and time again, I convince myself that not only can I handle all that is piled on my plate, but I can do it so eloquently that you can’t help but wonder, “how does she do it?” Reality check, I do it, but at a HUGE cost. Always at the expense of myself. Behind the scenes, I am overwhelmed. Scrambling. Having mini mental breakdowns as I mask my stress with smiles and laughs. Why do I do this?! Because I don’t want to let anyone down. Because I enjoy making people happy. There’s no better high in my book. And in a selfish sense, it provides the validation of an achievement. Another task checked off the list. I know, I’m a goal oriented freak. Honestly, it’s part of my high functioning anxiety. But that is a topic for another day. This past weekend I was reminded how quickly I can overwhelm myself. Typical case of showing up for others and not showing up for myself.
In retrospect, this past weekend was amazing. Saturday I spent the day at Bok Towers, a beautifully preserved garden in Lake Wales, FL. After spending the day in Satan’s playground (it was about 90 degrees), I went grocery shopping and continued home to prepare for a girl’s night I was hosting at my place. Truthfully, I should’ve taken the opportunity to nap. Being in the sun and heat all day can take a major toll on your body. But I wanted to clean up the house and make sure everything was fully prepared for the night. So I completely ignored my exhaustion and continued with my tasks. Well, before I know it, it was 4 AM when I finally laid my head in my glorious bed that night…and I had to be up at 9:30 AM. Sunday I attended a women’s self love party for all of the boss babes in the Tampa Bay area. It was a beautiful event filled with emotional moments in between. The event started at 12 PM and ended roughly around 4 PM. After, I went out to eat with a friend. I had every intention of going home after that but another friend contacted me asking if I was coming over her house since my fiance was there with her boyfriend. I should’ve said no but I hadn’t seen her in a while and wanted to keep her company. So I didn’t go home and went straight to her house. By the time I got home, it was 7:30 PM. But my day was not over. We were having a little get together for the Game of Thrones finale (RIP) at 9 PM and the place was a wreck. Of course, I felt obligated to clean. It didn’t take much after that before I was crying in the shower lol exhausted beyond explanation and feeling defeated for being such a crybaby. This is the behind the scenes no one really gets to see. I wanted to hide under a rock for a week straight just so I can recharge. I’m not telling you all of this to complain or make it seem like I have it SO bad. Just a simple timeline that illustrates that I did not take the best care of myself this weekend, mentally and physically. It is okay to be there for others. It is NOT okay to neglect yourself in the process. Because how can you put forward the best version of yourself, if you forget the importance of self care?
So here’s a few tips and reminders for effective self care (for you AND I):
- SET BOUNDARIES. Not one person operates the same. It is okay if you cannot, or simply do not want to deal with chaos. It is okay if you feel overwhelmed by too much thrown at you. It is okay to voice at any given time that you do not want to do something. And most importantly, you have every right to say ‘no’ with no explanation whatsoever. Boundaries have to be clear because how else with others know? Those who truly value your well being will understand, PERIOD.
- REST UP. I cannot stress the importance of adequate rest. You cannot run like a full service, mean machine if you do not replenish your fuel. Don’t burn yourself out on the account of others. Don’t burn yourself out on the account of productivity. Trust me, it does not work out. You WILL crash and burn as I’ve learned many times!
- BE MINDFUL AND IN THE MOMENT. Sometimes, the best act of love you can show yourself is to slow down and be present in the moment. Feeling overwhelmed? Stop everything you’re doing and take a deep breath. Inhale then exhale. Light one of your favorite candles. Take a break. Go work out. Have some fun in the sun. Read. Meditate. Put on a face mask. Eat that chocolate cake!! Indulge and enjoy every moment of it. Be mindful and attentive to your own happiness. Honestly, everything else can wait.
- RELEASE THOSE EMOTIONS. I’m a big believer that venting and crying can be cleansing. Not everyone wants to hear you complain. However, I can almost guarantee there is at least one person who is willing to be that shoulder to lean on without judgement or annoyance. Take advantage of that! It is human nature to be heard and understood. Don’t bottle up your emotions. Just remember that although it is okay to vent, it is not okay to dwell. Release and move on. This is something I am working on myself.
- UNPLUG. Let’s face it. We all need a day of solitude at one point or another. A day to unplug from all of the outside noise and enjoy some silence. A wide empty space that offers the opportunity to become inspired and motivated. One on one time with yourself is so important. Cancel those plans you were not feeling int the first place. Turn off your phone. Have a day with no organized agenda. Just go with the flow. Utilize your solitude and don’t apologize for it!
Let’s all make a conscious choice to take better care of ourselves. Be more aware of your needs and tend to them. Self care is not selfish and indulgent, it is survival. Be kind to yourself. We all deserve it.