The other day was a ‘mom day’. I spend Monday’s with my 15 month old, Kai.
While I’m not technically working, I still always feel like I need to be extremely productive. Get errands done, house cleaned, chores finished, car washed, you name it.
My son had fallen asleep for an early nap, and I was extremely tired after a busy (albeit fun) weekend. I had that feeling in my body that was saying “either you rest, or you’re going to get a cold”.
My first instinct was to push through: The car needs to be vacuumed! Emails need to be answered! I should just write to a couple clients!
I felt guilty for wanting to take a nap.
Somewhere along the line, like so many other women, I’ve fallen into the belief that AFTER everything gets done THEN I can finally relax.
The problem with this lie is that there is never going to be an end to everything getting done.
And with this belief, slowly my psyche thinks that I need perfection in order to relax, which is a bit of a paradox.
So as uncomfortable as I felt, I lit the fire, curled up with my book, and dozed off to the Norah Jones station on Pandora.
Here are 3 ways to start making yourself a priority:
1. Self-awareness is the work of the gentle warrior. It takes courage and bravery to look within oneself. The first step to making yourself a priority is to understand the underlying reasons why you don’t.
Are you too busy?
Do everyone else’s needs come first?
Do you have to make sure you get your full to-do list checked off before you can relax?
Is there an underlying emotion that comes up at the idea of self-care such as guilt or selfishness?
Once you understand why you’re not making yourself a priority, you can work with it. Next time you really need some rest, self-care, or alone time, simply notice the thought or feeling coming up.
Notice the way it feels in your body and simply be with this feeling as you gently let go of the story you’re telling yourself in your head. Stay with it and notice as it dissipates.
2. Create some non-negotiable rituals. Rituals help us to stay grounded, balanced, and calm in an ever-changing and busy world. If you feel rundown, or stress is starting to affect you physically, pull back and assess. Are you putting yourself first? Are you building strength or avoiding pain? What’s one thing you can do today to take better care of yourself?
The key with ritual is to start simply and slowly add on. Here are just a couple I like to incorporate into my day:
A cup of tea when I wake up.
Stretching at night.
50/50/50 — squats, sit-ups, and push-ups with my husband first thing in the morning.
A daily planning sheet before diving into work.
Turning my phone on airplane mode around 5:30 pm to start dinner and welcome my family home.
Yoga class every Wednesday.
3. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Learning to embrace simplicity (an ongoing process) has transformed my health, finances, relationship, and work.
Simplifying isn’t always the easy choice, because things build up in life and get complicated. However, simplifying how you spend your time, how you spend your money, your to-do list, streamlining what you can, and how you focus your energy, will have great benefits.
We’re surrounded with the message “you can have it all!” but what does that actually mean? Every time you say yes to something you’re automatically saying no to something else. Instead, understand the season of your life and what is most important to you right now.
Simplifying means having more time for those things…including yourself.
To you dear one, trying your best every day, take a break. You deserve it.
Take care of yourself because we need you. While navigating the new world, we need to show up for each other.
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Originally published at medium.com