Yesterday I was totally self-ish. I’d had a tough day at work and then a crazy driver who knew I’d had a tough day at work! So, as you can imagine, I did not just put my key in my front door, I pretty much auditioned for a match with Hulk Hogan! Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed was an understatement for how I felt. And for once I actually listened to my mind and body, turned off my phone , went and had a shower and then practiced some yoga and deep breathing, then I cooked a delicious dinner, went to bed with my book and had the best sleep ever and woke up as if the day before never happened. That was an entire evening I self-ishly took. I loved every minute of it and intend to be self-ish on a regular basis!
I, like many of you, tend to ignore when my mind and body are screaming at me to stop. To just stop. Why, because we are busy, it’s that simple. We don’t have time for selfishness in our crazy, topsy turvy lives.
As an example, I was chatting with a friend who is a stay at home mum and in my mind a total superhero. With three small bodies constantly demanding her time and attention, I honestly do not know how she stays sane. During our conversation, I could see there was something bothering her. She explained that a few days ago she felt that everything was just getting a bit much for her, the children were unusually raucous and ignoring everything she said, she had maintenance issues in her house and other family issues she was trying to deal with. When her husband arrived home and after all the mouths had been fed, she decided she needed some head space or she would either (a) burst into tears or (b) become the next star of a horror movie. Alleluia was my immediate response. She formally announced to the household that she was going to take a bath and she would like some quiet time. She excitedly went upstairs, ran a nice hot bath, lit some candles and brought in a long overdue book that had gathered some dust. This was total bliss and she felt excited (and guilty at the same time) at having this time to herself. She sat in the tub, bubbles tickling her nose, puffed up her bath pillow then thud, thud, screaming outside the bathroom door! She had been in the bath less than 2 minutes. She ignored it and continued to try to read. Louder screaming, two children fighting and again looking to audition as the good old Hulk and body slamming each other against the door. Her head space and self-care lasted less than 8 minutes.
I am not a mother so I do not know this drive to give yourself over completely to your children but hang on one second….when a grown woman who normally ignores any physical signs of stress or anxiety realises that she’s at breaking point and just wants a little bit of me-time, some self-care, is that being selfish or is that absolutely 100% essential for not only this wonderful lady but her entire family? Do you have to be permanently selfless when your mind and body are practically screaming at you to take a break? This scenario applies to all of us in whatever lifestage we are at be it motherhood, married or in a relationship, the sole carer of a family member and even applies in your working relationships – you do not have to give 100% of you to everyone! It is unhealthy. There’s a happy ending to this story, she will come to my house whenever she wants, run a bath, light her candles and read her book for the minimum of an hour and for however long she wants, because she deserves it and needs it – as do all of you. It is NOT being selfish, it’s practicing self-care. There’s a big difference.