Self Care? What’s That?

Come June 7 this year, I had been out of the house just 3 times since late March and was feeling the after-pains of a nasty bout of shingles that had stopped Whizzy Bizzy Me dead in her tracks for weeks.

I didn’t panic too much at first – simply contacted the people I was booked to see, rescheduled them a couple of weeks out and took to my bed.

Sick woman in need of self care
Then I had to reschedule again

And again. And again.

Until finally I ‘got’ the message from my body, gave up the struggle and said I’d be in touch when I was well and ready to work again.

As my bed drifted slowly out to sea, I desperately tried to maintain contact with the mainland in the belief that if I didn’t, my business would fall apart and no-one would ever want to work with me again.

And on the home front, without my input the house (obviously) would become a tip, the garden would be a jungle and there’d be no food in the fridge.

Well guess what?

None of those things happened 😉

I’m coming back (gently) now feeling refreshed and re-energised, having had the time and space to have a good look at that old Whizzy Bizzy pattern and the belief that everything would fall apart without Whizzy Bizzy me.

The first ‘aha’ moment came a few weeks in, when I was well enough to sit outside in the sunshine and realised that in the 20+ years of having this lovely garden, I had NEVER just sat in it before without a part of me thinking about what needed to be done/organised/worried about next. This was my first experience of BE-ing in the garden!

Which also got me wondering

If I hadn’t been ill, what would I have been doing for ridiculously long hours each day in the mistaken belief that’s just what it takes to keep a successful business or home going? What was driving the constant busy-ness?

As I dove in, I found there were more layers than I had been expecting.

1. Using busy-ness to avoid feelings

I had been using constant activity to stuff down the pain of a codependent cycle of collapse and rescue I’d been stuck in for years with a couple of close family members (that’s another story for another post 😉 ).

2. Ancestral Patterning

I’m from a long line of Yorkshire coalminers and factory workers. Materially, life was hard and every waking moment was focussed on having enough, with a constant undercurrent of fear that there wouldn’t be enough (because sometimes there wasn’t).

No wonder I found it hard to relax in the garden. A part of me, that I wasn’t even aware of, was set to a state of high alert – almost expecting that there wouldn’t be enough.

And no wonder I found it challenging to set goals. A part of me was totally focussed on having just enough – the possibility of having more than enough simply didn’t figure on its radar. Yes, I will be tapping on that one for sure!

3. Vestiges of ‘It has to be a struggle’

‘Work must be hard to have any real value’. This old outdated belief will keep you from your life’s work (which breaks the rules by being fun) if it goes unaddressed. I wrote about it here: Is That a Proper Job? More tapping for me there too 😉

4. Self care is self-indulgent

Aahem. No it’s not! (We teach what we need to learn, people.)

If you’re self-employed, without good health and wellbeing you don’t have a business. Self care must be your top priority.

It seems I have to learn this the hard way and more than once. I’ve been stopped before by my body and forced to take a good close look at my life to see what needed to change (About Me).

This time I’m seeing the pattern much more clearly, as well as the danger of falling back into bad habits the moment I’m well again.

What if I could learn to be measured, peaceful and present without these painful reminders to stop occasionally? How freeing would that be?

I know I need support to change these long-standing habits and make sure I don’t fall back into busy-ness again. In this period of enforced rest I’ve found sanctuary in Helen Rebello’s wonderful online Sanctuary For Stressed Out Souls (I love it!). I’ve also signed up for Cathy Ballard’s Flow Alignment Intensive in August (really looking forward to it, Cathy!).

In the meantime, here I am, easing myself back into work gently, enjoying the work AND enjoying the gaps between.

Over to you

Do you prioritise self-care or does it tend to fall to the bottom of the list? Do you know where your ‘off’ switch is, and more importantly, do you use it as required without feeling guilty or anxious?

If you have any tips or insights to share, please leave them in the Comments below – we’d love to hear them.

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44 Comments on What 2 Months In Bed Taught Me

  1. Welcome back Linda! So glad to hear your slowly returning to ‘normal’ yet have learned such hugely valuable lessons along the way.
    Yes I know that tendency to be whizzy and busy, and when I’m excited and eager to carry on working it takes real will power to switch off (and not scroll through Facebook when I’m supposed to be relaxing!

    One thing I am finding really helpful throughout my day is to listen/watch the modules of the lovely Helen Rebello’s SOS Sanctuary – when I think I couldn’t possibly ‘waste’ 5-8 mins on one of those, that’s exactly the time when I need it most!

    Thanks for sharing Linda & look forward to seeing you out and about again very soon x 🙂
    Ann Brown recently posted…Quit the race to keep up (slow and steady wins!)My Profile

  2. Beautiful honest sharing Linda and I agree with you that these deep old ancestral patternings need a whole lot of our attention if we are to actually thrive in our self employment. So good to have you back and do keep taking it easy! Not just till you are 100% well….but always. Let’s all take it easy!

  3. Welcome back lovely Linda 🙂

    The scariest thing is when you don’t even realise you are totally overdoing it, and “switched on” at all times…

    Last Sunday, on day 11 of working + doing chores, not taking more than 3 hours to relax at any time, I suddenly could do nothing but nap on my mat in the middle of a yoga teacher training module. I was laid out in bed all the next day, doing no more than drifting in and out of sleep and listening to Radio 4.

    Sometimes the body just takes over and MAKES you stop…

    (Mind you, I was scrolling through Facebook when I found your post at 23:20…so it’s a lifetime of learning, this self-care business!)

    Kate x
    Kate Bacon recently posted…Help, I can’t get my website finished – it never feels good enough to launch!My Profile

  4. Ah Linda…so much wisdom in your words and I feel your strength and clarity as I read this post. I will take your words and adapt them to my own journey right now. My business has literally been abandoned by myself due to a chronic return of social anxiety as I had been pushing my comfort zones with no respect for my underlying condition…so I have to start again somehow. As you know, I am also on a personal journey that is zapping my creative energy and focus… I wish you well on your continued recovery and hope to see you soon xxx

  5. Welcome back Linda, and thank you for a wonderful, personal post.
    I can so relate to your words.
    I think when we start a business we’re sucked into the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ & we feel we ‘have’ to do all these things, otherwise we’ll fail. And the truth is that we can shape our business in our own way, to meet our own needs and lifestyle.
    I also relate to your experience, having had something similar myself recently. Although I haven’t drifted off to sea, I have let go of a few things and taking more self care (I’m from Yorkshire too so I know how hard it is!)
    I believe that this quote from William.C Hannan is true ‘I know this transformation is painful;, but you’re not falling apart, you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful
    I’m glad you’ve learned so much and I look forward to working with the ‘new’ Linda
    Lesley x

    • Love that quote, Lesley. I haven’t come across him before – have you read any of his books/watched videos and could recommend a good place to start?

      Sending you love and hugs from one Yorkshire lass to another (that’s already progress for us, hey?).
      Linda Anderson recently posted…Is That a Proper Job?My Profile

  6. Thank you for the wise words, Linda. And I’m so glad to hear you’re returning to yourself, and at the same time changed through your learning and growing. Keep enjoying that garden!

  7. So pleased that you are getting better Linda and love your honesty that you simply had no choice but to stop and really take care of you. Life’s curve balls give us enforced time out and sounds fab that you are now being in your garden and not always doing. A brilliant reminder to simply be more. Welcome back xxx

  8. So good to hear that you’re well on the road to recovery Linda.
    I identified so much with what you said, having had some health issues of my own recently which haven’t stopped me in the same way as yours but have nonetheless made me take stock. I could see just how out of kilter my work/life balance had become and as a result I have now – drum roll please- given myself permission to work a 4 day week! And guess what? The sun still rises every morning and my business hasn’t collapsed – in fact, I now seem to achieve more in 4 days than I did before – there’s a message there somewhere!
    Long may you continue to feel ‘measured, peaceful and present.’ X
    Karen Knott recently posted…Inger Madsen: The Power of NichingMy Profile

    • Oh, I love this, Karen, that you actually get more done in 4 days than you did before, AND you have more time to relax or do something that nourishes you – yes, huge drumroll required!

      I think we’ve all been believing the stories we tell ourselves in our heads about what it takes to have a business. Which were not our stories in the first place – just handed down from one generation to the next. Good time for an information update, I think, as the world has changed radically since the days of having a proper ‘job for life’!
      Linda Anderson recently posted…Is That a Proper Job?My Profile

  9. Such an important topic and one that I really resonate with! It’s so easy to get caught up in the “must keep moving” vibe but, at the moment, I am managing to take that as a signal that I must, in fact, stop moving RIGHT NOW and take some time out or lose that precious connection with myself, without which nothing works. Very glad you are feeling better and that the world did not shudder to a halt, even though you had to…
    Lizzie Carver recently posted…Changing your mindMy Profile

  10. Lovely article Linda and like all the others lovely to hear from you again. I have spent this past week looking at energy levels – something I have been interested in for some time. I have been reading and watching videos from Joanne Martin who I think has some very interesting points about our current ‘busyness’ and a suggestion that we should not look so much at being productive as being fruitful. (Most recent blog post has links 😉 ). Take care and take time – there really is plenty of it although it sometimes doesn’t feel that way.

  11. Lovely Linda – you know that this is a topic very dear to my heart – for the same reason as everyone else – which is that I teach the things I’m always learning for myself (that and I’m also formed from northern roots!).

    Thank you for sharing your discoveries – and for sharing my work – I hugely appreciate it. I’m so happy to have been a part of your healing journey – especially given that you’ve been a huge part of mine too through working with you 🙂

    These learnings are never wasted – they help inform us, help us grow and help us to better help others – because ultimately we are all the same – we all absorb the messages we see and hear, and we forget that we have our very own ‘rule’ book inside us – mainly because no-one actually taught us that in the first place 😉

    We are the generation that gets to rewrite the rules our ancestors carried through to us – and I love that – it excites me and energises me – and I’m pretty damn sure our ancestors are cheering and supporting us Every Single Step of the way.

  12. Brilliant blog Linda and welcome back! So happy to hear you are well on the way to recovery. I can so identify with that ‘push, push, push’ feeling that comes with being self employed. I’d been having those ‘got to keep on top of things, get myself out there’ feelings until this week I stood back and reflected on what I really want my business to be for me as well as for those I help. So I’ve taken stock and it feels good – I can still help and also have time for me. Thank you for sharing your experience and thank goodness for tapping!! I still reap the benefits of our working together!
    Sue Baker recently posted…Does your life ‘fit’ your values?My Profile

  13. Wonderful heartfelt blog Linda. You know we agree on much of our philosophy of life so thank you for sharing your learnings from this enforced break – such great reminder that self-care is crucial and what I’ve been experiencing at the moment is that it and releasing ourselves from the ancestral patterning is just as important (and at some stages even more important) than the actual work tasks to grow and run our business. So great to have you back! Xx

    • Thanks for that lovely welcome back, Lynn. You’re so right, sometimes the inner work is even more important than the outer tasks to run and grow our business – and equips us to serve the people who come to us at an even deeper level.
      Linda Anderson recently posted…Is This Really Normal?My Profile

  14. Enjoyed reading your article. It’s such a common feeling and behaviour to keep ourselves busy for all different reasons. But I think the common thread is as you say to avoid feelings and the sense of not having enough. I often wonder why very rich people want more and more money and more and more things. In my opinion it’s because they need an abundance of stuff around them in their environment as they never feel abundant on the inside. But the sad thing is it’s a bottomless pit. They fear scarcity, lack and loss. I’m sitting here writing my comment being aware of the fact the housework needs doing, but I’m leaving it until I have had a break. This is all new to me because last year I was ill for 3 months with depression, exhaustion and anxiety due to pushing myself to the limit. I had reached my nadir. Since then my mantra is “I matter too”, I now say NO to people and I now say I’m busy doing nothing. It’s sad though that I had to reach a very low point before I realised I am not superwoman and for people to stop treating me like one. It continues to be challenging as my default setting is to help others, but as a practising counsellor and family support worker I take my code of ethics a bit more seriously now and take care of number 1 first.

    • Sorry to hear you were so ill, Joanne, and I love the learnings you got in the process!

      Let’s celebrate that you’re now aware of the default pattern to help others and can now say NO sometimes. Taking care of number 1 first is essential – and not an easy shift to make when we have a deep desire to help others and to make a difference. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
      Linda Anderson recently posted…How to sabotage sales with one simple phraseMy Profile

  15. Hi linda, Good to read your blog and your recovery. I am also on a journey about self care. After attending another training, I want to bow to the wisdom of the host, which is to work a 12 day month. Which I too disbelived when I saw it, but the wisdom is 1. put in the dates that you want to have fun and self care first, 2. decide what days you want to work on your business and what days you want to work in your busniess, 3. group like activies together ie dont try to do both on the same day. This is my dream, and my aim.

  16. Welcome back Lovely Linda! I’ve been on a self care mission myself the past few months (years actually) but it’s always great to be reminded of why it’s so important and where the guilty inner voices come from. Love your work and I’m now inspired to take my self care regime up a notch. Tx 🙂

  17. I’m very pleased to hear you are recovering, Linda!

    I had something similar many years ago, during the time when I was having many many miscarriages. My business would build, and then crash dead; build and then crash again, and I was also having appalling migraines.

    There was one time when it would take literally four or five days for my eyesight to return to normal after each migraine, and I just couldn’t work (or use the computer, read, or watch television.) I had another every time I tried.

    In the end, my husband, best friend and EFT teacher all said “I think you need to take 3 months off,” and when they all united to “give me permission” I listened, and stopped. And it all got better.

    I think “convalescence” is a very valuable notion, which used to be popular (and very necessary, in centuries gone by, when it took a lot less to carry you off!) I adovcate it a lot.

    I sometimes ask my clients if they would be expecting to be back at work if they had two broken arms? And then remind them that just because you can’t SEE what’s making them need to convalesce doesn’t mean it’s not just as necessary (and joke that it could be arranged, if that’s what it takes, for them to stop and start taking care of themselves 😉 )

    We need to have energy (and well-being) to spare, when it’s our profession to help other people.

    I’m very pleased to hear how well you are doing. Keep taking it gently!

  18. Thanks Rosalind, lovely to see you here – thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I’m sure your comment about being given permission to stop before you would stop, will resonate with many here. It was certainly part of my belief-system that I had to have a really good tangible reason before i could allow myself time out!

    I’m still practicing taking it gently 😉
    Linda Anderson recently posted…Is That a Proper Job?My Profile

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