There was a time, not very long ago, that I was stretched too thin. I was working three jobs, studying full time and trying to maintain positive relationships with my boyfriend, family and friends. Alongside this, or on top of this rather, I was also trying to grow a business. Funny, that when I look back on all of that I don’t even factor in myself as an element. I neglected myself and what I needed for at least a year. I was tired all the time, and missing out on lots just because I was spread too thin. And surprise, surprise: everything suffered by consequence. I wondered why my business wasn't growing and found myself down over the silence of no emails and no work. I never took one moment to think that the reason behind the lack of growth was because the very person responsible for the growth and development was being neglected entirely.
Today, I value myself and my contentment highly and I am not ashamed to say so. This is largely because I have some beautiful people in my life who have encouraged me to do this; who have taught me that it is not selfish. In fact, self care is quite the opposite. Most of all, self care is empowering. Do you know how great it feels to put yourself first? Our individual happiness is paramount, feeling good is paramount, living a good life is paramount. And what I think most people don't realise is: it makes you a better human being. So essentially: caring for yourself is caring for others. How's that for some self care justification.
But okay, yes, I understand that all of us are in different positions. I hear you from here, you work two or three jobs because you need to. Perhaps you study full time. But, that won't stop me from ever telling you that you are still deserving of self care and putting your feelings first. No matter your position, you are doing the best you can and you are rocking it. You deserve to feel cared for. So, I am going to share my favourite ways in hopes it inspires you to do the same. I’m beginning the month by writing this out so when I feel overwhelmed and at the very end of my tether, I can remember this. Because, truthfully, although I adore my job, there are some days where I feel very tired and in need of rest. I know there are some people that don't like to talk about the negative aspects of anything, but I think it's important. Wedding photography is taxing, newborns who won't settle are distressing. On the whole, I could talk about my job to anyone who will listen because I am so passionate about it, but that does not mean that there are some days that are difficult. Which leads me to:
My favourite ways to practice self care: Saying no, without reason. Almond butter + banana on toast (salivating as I type). Moving my body, but not feeling guilty when you don’t. A couple of Thursday’s ago, I opted for takeaway laksa and trash TV and I still applaud myself for this exemplary application of self care. 10 points. Long showers, long lunches, long everything to be honest. The longer the better as far as I’m concerned. Lavender oil (I think I once mocked 'essential oils' but I can hand-over-heart tell you that I am eating my words because yes, essential oils are the bomb). Peppermint tea. Roasting vegetables for the week every Monday. Every single Aesop product I can get my hands on. Remedial massage (HUGE love for me). Going out for breakfast and ordering the same thing every time because you love it and that's okay. Never scheduling work on a Sunday. Setting limits. Only replying to emails twice a day, which goes hand in hand with: turn off your damn push notifications. Mid-week dinner out. Spending money on experiences. Saying yes to opportunities. Saying no some more.
Just typing that out filled me with contentment. Stop feeling guilty about things that you need; the things that make you feel good. I hope, if you too feel overwhelmed or overworked this month, you take the time to do something for you. And I hope you feel good about it. I’ll be right alongside you. Let’s conquer May together.
All my love.