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.
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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