I have a confession to make, I think I’m a hypocrite in the self-care space. I spend a lot of time with clients, and large groups, preaching the importance of self-care in order to create happiness in life, and yet this year my actions in this space have not lived up to my intentions.
I was re-diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after a 20-year remission early this year, after my bowel kept obstructing causing severe pain and endangering my health. Knowing I needed surgery to address this serious challenge, I put it off and scheduled it around work opportunities that I didn’t want to miss due to FOMO (fear of missing out). To compound the problem even further, I had the surgery and then jumped on a plane five weeks later for another unmissable opportunity in Israel with fifty other amazing email leaders from around the world. When I returned I was stricken with a flu due to my suppressed immune system, this then turned into a bout pneumonia that lingered for another 7 weeks, forcing yet another visit to hospital. What do you think I did during that period? I worked, traveled, and delivered the most workshops in a month since I started my business. In hindsight, this was nuts, as was my reluctance to listen to those close to me who kept telling me to rest! It took all of this for me to wake up, and address the need to reintroduce balance in my life. How could I help others future proof happiness if I was continually ill?
So, why am I sharing this?
Firstly, to make you acutely aware that I am far from perfect. I, like you, try my best but I still stuff things up. I don’t want people following me on social media assuming I’m killing it when the truth is behind the scenes my health is falling apart. I want to be completely transparent in the hope that it inspires others to be the same. We need to normalise and share the good, and the bad, to stop others feeling like they can’t keep up, or they don’t have what it takes. Just because you see people killing it on social media, it does not mean that there isn’t chaos going on below the surface that they are hiding due to fear of damaging their profile.
Secondly, so many of us are anxious and overwhelmed, and in need of a little self-care in order to recalibrate our mental and physical health. So, to that end, I wanted to share a new motto I created to live by, to guide my daily behaviour that has worked for me.
NOURISH: The intent was to make conscious food choices based on nourishment, rather than eating my boredom or my feelings. I reintroduced a weekly shop at the market, and a little cooking to have nourishing snacks available to me when I needed them. I also invested in some whole-food bars, I take a stash of these with me when I travel so that I don’t eat shit when I attend events. Food for me has always determined how I feel, and when I eat well, I feel well and I have more energy, which I need in bucket loads at the moment.
MOVE. Was about incorporating more movement into my day. I had found myself prioritising sitting at my computer, over physical activity. So, I started scheduling meetings in my diary for the week to walk the dog, have walking meetings, I’d schedule all my yoga classes and my functional training. I also invested in a Fitbit for myself and my son, and we compete daily on who gets the most steps. It’s been a beautiful connector for us, and sees us out and about more than ever.
LOVE. I have always hated my body and punished it for not looking like the supermodel, I was led to believe would make me feel accepted. I decided it was time I started to love what I had because it was all I had, and if I didn’t look after it how could I make the most of it. I placed sticky notes on my bathroom mirror to remind me daily when I looked in the mirror, that I was beautiful the way I was and all the scars, bumps and lumps made me who I am today. I made a conscious choice to stop beating myself up every time I ate anything that was not considered a health food. When I got dressed and checked myself before I went out of the door, I would tell myself “you are enough”.
All of these small changes, but significant in their impact. I’m quietly confident that my hypocrisy is diminishing, as my health has now been back on track for a few months and I feel more energised than ever. I’m still far from perfect but the % of negative self-talk is decreasing, and the impact this was having on my self-care is too. I’d love to hear your self-care tips and tricks so that I can use them via social to help others. Feel free to email me.
If you know someone who could use a little self-care boost, feel free to pay it forward by sharing this article.