If you’ve been reading my site for any length of time… you’ve probably figured out that I am pretty damn hard on myself. I am a people pleaser, but that means that I often forget to please myself in that process. I have frequently tried to be “everything to everyone” and that really takes a toll on physical, mental and emotional well-being. And when I entertain the thought of cutting back on some of the things I am doing, I feel guilt.
My wonderful mother gave me some advice on that… don’t feel guilty unless you’ve done something illegal. It’s such a simple statement, but it’s been kind of liberating to me. Sometimes it’s just simple things that can make a difference!
I’ve received a couple other bits of advice that kind of struck me as being poignant for where I’m at in life right now.
…when I start to get really down on myself, I try to talk to myself like I would one of my kids. Instead of trying to wipe the fears or insecurities away by telling myself I’m being silly, I think about how I would talk to my daughter in that situation. The first time I tried it, was quite a shock, and felt much more natural then the “false” feeling pep talk I would do. I like to think of it as taking care of the scared little girl inside me
No matter how “grown up” we get, I think we all probably still have a scared child-version of ourselves inside.
When I was chatting to my friend Cristina about feeling like I need to cut back on some of the various things in my life, she gave me the great (but simple) advice:
…in the end you have to do what is best for you and your family.
That’s so true. Why don’t I remember that more often?
And more tips from my mom after my doctor told me I need to relax more. The doctor told me I need to reduce the stress in my life by doing more yoga and meditating more. She also threatened that I might need to cut my running mileage in half after my May 1 half marathon. I was relaying (complaining) all this to my mom and she told me:
You just put too much intensity into everything, even if it is to help you relax. Intensity and relaxing don’t seem compatible. I think you can relax while running, or you can do it with intensity and it adds to your stress, and the same goes for yoga, strength training, work…
Yeah, I do have a fair amount of intensity. Or maybe it’s an excessive amount of intensity and it is kind of ironic when I say “I try really hard to relax.” So instead of “trying hard” to relax, I’m just “trying”. Instead of doing higher intensity vinyasa yoga, I’ve been practicing more hatha yoga. I have done 20-30 minutes of yoga before bed each night for the past week and have done 5 minutes of meditation each night as well. I will extend that meditation time to 10 minutes in a stretch soon (it’s hard to quiet my mind!) as well.
Previously I would have felt “guilt” for taking that time for me, like I was being selfish. But everybody needs to indulge in some self-care first to be able to take care of others.