It was not until several years ago that I stopped being the martyr in my family. The do-it-all-myself mom - and that I started setting boundaries around time for myself. I was like so many of the other working moms out there trying my best to have the house clean, the groceries bought, the dinner cooked, the kids taken care of, and my work attended to.
I aimed for perfection as a parent, a partner, a teacher and an employee – but I was the one getting the short end of the stick.As a result I wasn't doing my loved ones any favors because disdain and resentfulness was shining through loud and clear.
"But there's no time! There's no way it can be any different – how will everything get done if I'm not doing it?"
I also felt selfish because I craved time on my yoga mat, time for self-study, time to explore my curiosities and interests. And I desperately tried to squeeze it all in between the responsibilities I had towards everyone else. But I was always left feeling frustrated, drained and unsatisfied (and bad for feeling that way).
It was not until I started implementing the simple daily habits of Ayurveda that I began to prioritize myself.
It began with simple habits of making sure I had a nourishing lunch (as opposed to snacking all day), nightly foot massage, to ending the day reading an awesome book (as opposed to feeling inadequate from wasting too much time on Facebook).
As a result I find myself enjoying my kids more (as opposed to silently cursing them for demanding so much of me). I feel more in charge of my time and my day. And I'm letting go of my perfectionism and taking off my busy "badge of honor".
But all those self-care habits that I've implemented are not only for me. Your capacity to give is determined by the strength of your container which is dependent on how you care for it.
“What you need to do is build the house you will live in. You build that house by laying a solid foundation: by building physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.” Choose Yourself by James Altucher
How is your housekeeping? Which room are you neglecting? What area is becoming an eyesore that you can no longer tolerate? Where are you ready to do some deeper house cleaning?
It’s not narcissistic to take time to nurture yourself, to build your container and tend to your house.
Self-care enable us to be more connected, more generous, more patient and more compassionate.
The more grounded you are – the less you need. The more filled up you are from your own self-care practices, the less stuff you need to buy and consume to feel "full".
The more you care for yourself, the more caring you will be. You will be pulled towards living a fulfilled and more meaningful life.
All your self-care helps you have more power, create a bigger, better impact, to do more and be more. And if you're not taking care of yourself – you're creating bigger problems.
The kind of conversation, interaction and reactions you’re going to generate and the patterns you’re going to be perpetuating from that place is going to be less than ideal. And speaking from experience – everyone around you will suffer.
So you have to start with yourself. Because self-care isn’t selfish.