I’m really bad with house plants. I often joke that I keep fresh cut flowers alive longer than a potted plant. I’m currently sat in my office with one of these poor potted plants. The tips of it’s leaves already showing sign of neglect. Yet outside my window, a giant (possibly oak) tree flourishes with vibrant green leaves and strong branches. So what’s the difference between this thriving tree and the struggling for life potted plant? Self-care.
The tree outside practises self-care. It puts it’s roots into good soil and continues to absorb from it. It takes its nourishment from the sun and in return, it gives back to the world. Provides shelter for birds and squirrels, compost for the soil, when autumn comes and oxygen from its leaves.
My potted plant is not practising self-care, because I stuck it in a pot in a corner of my office and took away its options. I’ll water it in a bit I promise.
When life gets a bit “busy” we can often feel like that pottered plant, whose options have been taken. We lack the time or resources for self-care. But we are still demanding from ourselves. We are still providing shelter for the birds, oxygen for the air and compost for the soil.
I say it time and time again, you can’t serve from an empty cup. If you keep pouring out soon there is nothing left to give. But if you keep topping yourself up eventually your cup will simply overflow and serve those around you. That potted plant will die and provide compost once. That thriving tree will continue to give and give for many years to come.
When I work directly with people in workshops on either time management or life structure, we look at setting up their calendars. My preference is Google Calendar. The first this we put in is sleep. Yes’ I know life doesn’t always play ball on this front, but we have to set up a goal and you can often make some changes to improve this yourself.
Next, we add in our food times. Three meals a day, time blocked into our calendars. While both of those items are in fact self-care items, we then take it a step further and implement my Mother’s Basic Self-Care Strategy. A tool I’m on a mission to get every mother to use and it’s super simple. All you have to do is add a daily, a weekly and a monthly self-care habit to your calendar. These are items are as set in stone as needing to care for your little one. They can pretty much be whatever you want, but they need to matter to you and be something you can consistently do. Four hours of yoga every day isn’t possible for most people. Sitting on your own first thing with a large glass of water… well, that’s much more likely. A monthly spa weekend… less likely to be repeated, but a monthly massage or facial could work.
My daily self-care is my own variation of the Miricle Morning - check out the book here. My weekly is a bath with a face mask, usually with a podcast or The Real Housewives of New York City on. My monthly is a message. I have a lady who comes to my house on the first Friday of the month. They are my set in stone events and the longer I have been doing them the more I notice the impact. At each massage, I am less stiff and sore. During each bath, I am less stressed and my face is less dry and saggy. During each morning, I’m a little fresher and ready for the day.
I attended a supper club recently and this concept came up. A lady asked me, but isn’t this just another thing on my to-do list? Isn’t that just more stress? The answer is yes and no. When you first start it can feel tricky and often selfish to fit it in. But over a short space of time, everyone starts to benefit. You, your partners, your kids, you work colleagues etc. The other handy trick I suggested to her is to find something already on your to-do list and make that your self-care item. Maybe it’s something that always gets pushed further and further down your list. Simply bump it up and make it a top priority. You then haven’t added to your list, you are simply serving yourself first.
Still struggling with self-care? Why not get yourself booked onto our retreat. Refill your cup and learn how to maintain it, while enjoying some great food and the company of other people on a similar journey. Spaces are limited so join the waitlist to be the first to hear about new dates. Click here to find out more or join the waitlist.