Ep 76: Practice Self-Care and Give Yourself Grace
June 25, 2019 - 51:32
The moment I became a momma, everything changed.
My first son, Carter, was born in January of 2015, and he instantly became my entire world. This tiny human consumed my every thought, concern and desire. It was beautiful and awesome, but it was also really hard.
Now, I’d gone through many hard seasons before this one. I’ve walked through seasons where I worked 80 hours a week, lost all my friends, and didn’t have much of a life outside of work.
But, for whatever reason, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of losing yourself when children come into the picture. Not only do they instantly become the center of your universe, but they also just need you a lot.
And that’s exactly what happened to me. I lost myself when I first became a mother. I no longer felt like Christy. I no longer felt like the young, independent, fun person I’d always known myself to be. I had so many interests—and I still do—but I wasn’t doing any of those things because taking care of Carter consumed my world.
I know many of you have probably experienced this as well. You begin to create habits and grooves where all you think about is your kids. That was definitely me, even more so when Conley came into the picture a very short time later.
I got into a habit of identifying myself as Carter and Conley’s mom. That was my first point of identification. Now, I love being their mother. It’s the greatest joy of my life. But it’s not the only part of me.
The most important truth you need to know about self-care is that it’s up to you. No one can do it for you.
I quickly realized that, in keeping up with the day-to-day demands of my job, my children and my household, the first thing to go was me. The first things to go out the window were my interests and anything that brought me joy and rest (outside of my family).
This was the first time in my life that I experienced this kind of guilt. Anything I wanted to do for myself felt selfish in the grand scheme of being a mom, so I wasn’t taking care of myself.
Related: Getting Rid of the Guilt
Doesn’t this happen to so many of us? We forget about the things that make us feel like us: exercise, shopping, pedicures, time with girlfriends or time alone. Those things become luxuries we’ll indulge in only if there’s time leftover.
And you and I both know there is never time leftover.
There will always be something more demanding of your time, attention and energy until you put yourself at the top of your priority list.
Self-Care Is Your Responsibility
If you feel rushed, run down, busy, burned out, grumpy or resentful in your own life, it’s probably because you haven’t taken care of yourself. And there’s only one person who can fix that: you.
The most important truth you need to know about self-care is that it’s up to you. That’s why it’s called self-care. No one can do it for you. No one can make you take time off work, take a vacation, soak in a bubble bath, get a pedicure, or make you value yourself but you.
So, if you’re sitting around and waiting for someone to give you permission to take care of yourself, it’s not going to happen.
Loving your children more than life is not a bad thing. But, it’s still okay to want more for your life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Loving your children more than life is not a bad thing. But, it’s still okay to want more for your life. It’s not wrong to have a busy season, but you have to stop putting everyone else first and then resenting them for it.
The truth is that what your people need from you more than a warm meal on the table or a ride to soccer is a woman in their life who has come alive—a woman who is full of joy and is confident and happy to be doing whatever it is she’s doing.
And, by the way, self-care is a way of life. It doesn’t mean taking a bubble bath once a quarter and hoping it’s going to wash your troubles away. I’m talking about valuing yourself and making yourself a regular, consistent priority in your own life.
It’s about filling your own tank.
It’s just like when you drive. If you run out of gas on the side of the road, it’s so much more frustrating and stressful to get the gas you need to fill up your car. But, if you keep your tank full, it’s pretty easy to stay moving and get a refill when you’re running low.
So, stop waiting until you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown to throw up a flag, raise your hand, and ask for help. Stop waiting until there’s a crisis. Instead, keep your tank full.
Stop Apologizing for Taking Care of Yourself
So, how do you keep your tank full? Do the things you love to do regularly.
It might feel a little awkward or selfish the first time you do it. But I want you to know you don’t have to apologize for it—not the first time you do it or the hundredth time.
A few years ago, I was hanging out with some of my mom friends when one of them said she was taking a trip to Florida with a girlfriend. The exciting update was immediately followed by a long list of reasons she needed to go.
I wanted to stop her and tell her she didn’t have to explain herself. She didn’t need to have a list of reasons to take this trip. She didn’t have to validate it to us or to anyone else.
And I want to say the same thing to you today.
The sad part is that I don’t think my friend was trying to justify it to us. I think she was trying to justify it to herself to get through the guilt of doing something for herself.
The truth is that doing something for yourself should be a consistent priority, and you never have to be sorry for doing it.
I’m not saying you should neglect your family or any of your responsibilities. I’m saying that, in order to take care of them, you have to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s self-preservation, and it’s smart.
So, let me ask you: What brings you joy? What gives you energy and fills your tank? What makes you feel rested?
Make a list, save it on your phone, or put it by your bedside, and then start to integrate those activities into your life—not just on your birthday or on a holiday, but on a regular basis.
When you do this, not only will everyone around you benefit but you’ll enjoy your life so much more.
Giving Yourself Grace with Ashley LeMieux
I’m so excited for you to meet my good friend Ashley LeMieux. She’s the founder of The Shine Project and Shop Ashley LeMieux. And she’s also the author of the upcoming book Born to Shine: Practical Tools to Help You Shine, Even in Life’s Darkest Moments. Ashley exemplifies this truth so beautifully. Despite the hard roads she’s walked, she shines so brightly.
About seven years ago, Ashley was fresh out of college, newly married, and working as an intern at an inner-city high school in Arizona. At that school, she worked with soon-to-be first-generation college students who didn’t have many resources or mentors to help them reach their potential and pursue higher education.
Ashely was so passionate about these students, and she wanted to be the person to help them build a successful life. She already had a successful blog called The Shine Project, so she used that platform to advocate for these students and raise money to send them to college. In her first year of doing this, she was able to raise enough money to send 10 students to their freshman year of college. It was an amazing accomplishment, but she wanted to do more.
Ashely felt strongly about building a business where these students could work while in college. So, she taught herself how to make jewelry, then taught the students to make it, and they sold the products online. Today, not only are these students learning a valuable skill, but through the sales, The Shine Project is able to send even more students to college.
On this episode, Ashley and I talk about:
- Pushing past fear to make your dreams come true
- Knowing what your next step should be
- Taking care of yourself when devastation strikes
- Turning your pain into your power
- Giving yourself grace in difficult seasons
Challenge: Act the Way You Want to Feel
On the last episode of the podcast, I told you the story of my recent trip to the beach with my husband. We were so excited to be taking a vacation—just the two of us.
We had booked this amazing hotel that (based on the website’s photos and descriptions) we thought would be right on the beach. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we realized it was all a lie. The hotel actually sat on a busy street. As you can imagine, I was so disappointed.
I shared that story with you to challenge you to under-promise and over-deliver for your customers. But, today, I want to share the second part of that story.
After being completely frustrated by the hotel, I quickly started researching other hotels to see if I could find a last-minute room that overlooked the beach. I found one just down the street that looked beautiful, but it was so expensive. Plus, we would have had to pay a fee to cancel our current reservation. After about 20 minutes of research, I decided it wasn’t worth all the money and hassle.
I realized in that moment that I had two choices:
- I could continue being disappointed and get frustrated every time a motorcycle drove by.
- I could change my attitude.
I literally told my husband, “We’re not changing hotels. Instead, I’m going to change my attitude right now. I won’t bring this up again. We’re going to have an awesome vacation. Thank you for letting me explore my options, but now that we know it’s not right to move, we’re going to stay at our current hotel, and I’m going to have a great attitude about it.”
Related: How to Be Content in Every Situation
In that instant, I flipped a switch in my mind, and I made a choice to have a great attitude.
Here’s what I want you to take away from that story: You’re going to find yourself in situations in which you’re unhappy or disappointed. It’s inevitable. If you can fix the problem, certainly explore your options. But, if you can’t fix it, my challenge to you is to change your attitude. Flip that switch in your mind, and let it go.
Not only will it benefit everyone around you, but you’ll have a much better time as well.
You are in control of your feelings. Your feelings are not in control of you. You don’t have to feel a certain way to act a certain way. You can act the way you want to feel, and your feelings will follow.
1:22 The Importance of Making Self-Care a Priority
18:00 Giving Yourself Grace with Ashley LeMieux
44:15 Challenge to Act the Way You Want to Feel
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