Mother. Teacher. Wife. Friend. Yoga teacher. Sister. Daughter.
These are a few of the hats I wear. All require my connection to other people, and often, my willingness to hold space for and support others in my life. I chose many of these roles even before I really understood them. I was, and am, a healer by nature. Because of this, empathy and compassion have become two of my greatest character traits, which I see as assets. I love connecting with and getting to know people. I love finding those hidden gems that can only be found once you move past the emotional guard and barrier that we all inherently possess. I love seeing the beauty and vulnerability in other people when they allow you in; it is a sacred thing.
Although I love the service aspect of my “hats”, I can also become very drained and disconnected from my own sense of self if I am not conscientious. When I am not intentionally seeking balance and grounding myself, I can easily become overwhelmed with the needs, stresses, and demands of those around me. In my seventh year of teaching in a high need public school system, and as a mother of three young humans, I am here to tell you that I can be of little to no good in the service and support of others if I am not properly caring for myself.
I view self-care a bit like regular car maintenance. Upkeep is required to ensure all parts work as harmoniously and fluidly as possible. Not many of us have an automatic timer in our brain that sounds when an oil change is due. We plan ahead, we get stickers to put on our windshields that are right in front of us as we drive everyday. It is a reminder to schedule an appointment for an oil change, and most importantly, WE SHOW UP. If we can’t make the first scheduled oil change, we reschedule for the next available time. What if, for some reason, the entire concept of oil changes being required were a complete unknown, meanwhile 20,000 miles have been accrued? We have one of two options: we can say forget oil changes altogether, oh well. Or, we can move forward with routine maintenance to prevent any further damage that would arise from neglect. I would recommend that latter not only for your car, but for yourself.
But wait, what if I don’t have time for self-care practices like meditation, yoga, and maintaining a healthy diet? Well, it is both as simple and as difficult as this: I make the time.
Is it easy? No.
Is it worth it? An overwhelming YES!!!
Self-care doesn’t have to be an another thing to beat yourself up over. It doesn’t have to be huge. It is something beneficial for just you. Meditation, yoga, journaling, hiking, and resting are all forms of self-care that I regularly utilize. Some run or do cardio to release endorphins and reduce stress. Find that something that works for you, and schedule it into your life. Not many just happen to pass JiffyLube and are reminded an oil change is due that day. We schedule it. We make it part of our plan. We know it is needed regular maintenance, so we do it.
A few years ago, I was in a very stressful situation in my job. I was blessed, however, with amazing people around me on a regular basis (shout-out to my 109 ladies, love you big, mean it). We would constantly remind each other that one cannot pour from an empty cup. If you serve others-- and basically we all serve others in some capacity or another-- we owe them the best version of ourselves we can offer. What is so important to remember, and maybe the most important to remember, is that we deserve to be the best possible version of ourselves. We deserve to feel the best we can, live the best we can, and be the best we can. We deserve self-care.
If you would like to learn more about self-care in the form of yoga, meditation, and journaling, you can catch up with me at the Self Care Practices to Thrive workshop on November 4th and 5th at Oshnik Yoga or at a variety of scheduled classes throughout the week. I hope to see you there!