It’s that time of the year again when we’re reminded to celebrate love. Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the different kinds of love, and how good it feels to give love to a willing recipient. Which makes me wonder, why is it so hard to make yourself the recipient of your own love?
I believe there is nothing more important than self-love, because without it, it’s impossible to truly love others unconditionally.
When I’m not taking care of myself, I get overworked and run down. Depleted and tired, I begin to resent any requests for my energy and attention. It’s tough to give when we’re empty.
However, when I make time for my own physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness (which includes getting enough sleep, making time for quiet breathing or reflection, eating nutritious foods, drinking enough water and moving my body,) there’s so much more SPACE for other people’s needs.
So, imagine a jar full of marbles. You are the jar, and all the demands on your life are the marbles.
Normally, your jar is completely full of marbles. If you’re like me, you wake up with a full to-do list waiting for you, screaming for your attention.
Marbles can be big or small, professional or personal, important or trivial, but they fill you up. Some of my marbles include:
- The lunches and dinners that need to get made
- Summer plans that are still unconfirmed
- Scheduling clients appointments
- Working on my class
- Returning a list of calls
- Catching up on invoicing
The list goes on and on….
What happens when your jar is already full of marbles and one more request for your time and energy comes in?
Uh oh, there’s no room for it.
Try adding one more marble to this jar and it’s going to bounce wildly right off the top. And if you’ve ever seen a marble bounce off the top of a hard surface, you know it’s unpredictable where it will land.
So what to do? Make space by upping your self-care.
I know, it may seem like I’m just suggesting you add yet another marble, and I can already hear your complaints:
- “I don’t have time to exercise or make myself a healthy meal.”
- “Who has time to sit and meditate?”
- “Get to bed by 10pm? Ha! That’s when I finally get alone time to finish my own work.”
- “Take an hour to go get acupuncture? I can hardly find time to pee!
While self-care is an additional request for your time, the impact of engaging it is 100% the opposite of a marble.
Here’s the truth.
Partaking in self-care actually creates space in your jar. It shrinks the existing marbles, settles them down, and creates a gap that will allow more marbles to enter with ease, softly landing without bouncing wildly off the top.
Maybe self-care allows you to literally remove some marbles and delegate some tasks to others.
Or perhaps taking time for self-care will open your eyes to the reality that some tasks aren’t actually urgent or important enough to be on your list at all. (Ditch them!)
Most of all, self-care creates space for all the messiness and busy-ness to be OK for now.
Only have a few minutes? Try one of these:
5 quick self-care ideas
- Take a time out. Go for a brisk walk around the block
- Close your door, close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, and take 5 slow deep breaths.
- Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for and 5 things you love about yourself.
- Pour yourself a cup of tea or a glass of water, and take 5 minutes while you sip it to close your eyes, and appreciate yourself.
- Sit down in your favorite relaxing yoga pose before bed and breathe out everything that happened that day. Let the earth absorb it, so you’ll sleep more soundly. (My favorites are child’s pose, legs up the wall, or shoulder stand.)
All of these are quick, easy, and most effective when done on a daily basis, as a practice. But even if you only do them once, right now, after reading this email, you’ll make space for more of whatever you most want in your life. Go on, try it, I dare you!
I wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. May you focus on loving your beautiful self first!
If you have a quick and easy self-care practice you want to share with us, please leave it in the comments section below. I love hearing what you’re doing.