February 08, 2019

Understanding that Self Care Isn't Selfish

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How can you show up to be supportive, loving and genuinely a happy person when you are run down, exhausted and burnt out? I'll tell you... you can't!

Brandon just underwent knee surgery and to say it has been easy would be a lie. As we live together I am his main support. Don't get me wrong, both our parents have been showing up with open arms, meals and more! They have helped in an enormous way. But, I also have a full-time job and other commitments and deadlines. I guess I underestimated the extent of his surgery. For the first week, he could not walk, get up, or basically move without physical support of someone. He was so uncomfortable and in so much pain it was just hard to watch. I would lay beside him trying to make him relaxed and comfortable all well knowing that it was an impossible task. If he wasn't sleeping, I wasn't sleeping. If he was in pain I was in pain. I felt horrible just going out to do simple things like getting groceries, but things had to be done.

why self care isn't selfish and why you need to care for youself firstIt came time to decide whether or not I would go to a staycation at Hotel X Toronto last weekend and I felt rotten. I really wanted to go but did not want to leave him. Then I realized, I needed it to stay sane! I was so exhausted, so burnt out and just anxious. So I went. Having this time away made me realize that you cannot be there for someone else if you are not there for yourself. If it seems selfish, I know. But it's not. How can you possibly show up for someone and be there ultimate caregiver when you cannot satisfy your own basic needs like rest and mental clarity?

So how do you do it? Here are a few of my realizations when it comes to putting yourself first and realizing that self-care isn't selfish: 











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1. Just say no. 
Sometimes you may have commitments and you just have to cancel. It's okay to cancel if you are not up to it because in the long run you will be better off. Would you rather go somewhere and be miserable just because you said you'd go? No. Why put yourself through that and subject others to your misery. I had to cancel on some personal things but that's okay because it ultimately I knew I just couldn't be myself in those situations... there was too much on my mind.

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2. Acknowledge that you cannot care for someone if you are physically ill. 
I was feeling ill. My stomach was nauseous from not sleeping and to say I needed a good shower was an understatement. Getting up every hour in the night was taking a toll on my body. I was exhausted all the time, relying on coffee to wake me up and not getting enough movement. I knew I had to set aside time to rest and then get my body moving just to find some mental clarity. In doing so, I was able to be there for B more fully, since I was sharp and more alert.

why self care isn't selfish and why you need to care for youself first
3. Energy transfers is a real thing. 
The flow of energy is strong. Your tension and inner anxiety can so easily be projected on others. Misery loves company, right? If you are miserable chances are you will make those around you miserable. Just like when you are happy it is easier to make others happy. When you need to ground yourself and get back into your grove, say by meditating, or by taking a long bath, do it. It will ultimately better your mood and the mood of those around you.

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4. Realize you cannot do everything and that is enough. 
A good friend had to sit me down and tell me straight up: there will be dishes in the sink, there will be a pile of laundry and your house may need a good vacuum, but your impending house chores is not a reflection of your capabilities and worth. WOW. Did that just blow your mind? I keep telling her she needs to start a podcast (lol). But honestly, this was so good to hear. Instantly my shoulders relaxed and I felt like I could take a deep breath in for the first time. It's okay if things are not perfect. You are doing everything you can, and just that is enough.

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So what did I do? I went. I went to the hotel while B was at home. Thank goodness we have an amazing support system that stayed with him the whole time, which ultimately made me feel better. But I still went out and enjoyed the 12 hours away. Eleni and I shared a room, we popped bubbly, learned all about the new Bio-Oil Dry Gel (more on that to come) and we had a great girly night in.  And naturally, we had to get a photo shoot in before breakfast. I mean... what else would we do!

So there we have it... I went and had fun. Is that so wrong? I came home more relaxed and even more ready and willing to care for B because I had that time to care for myself.

Do you have a hard time accepting that self-care is the first step in caring for others? Let me know!

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9 comments

  1. Looks like so much fun! I totally get it. I am an empath to a fault and I often feel super guilty for things that have nothing to do with me. I can imagine how hard that must have been to see Brandon so down but I doubt he wanted you to spread yourself so thin! I still struggle when it comes to deciding what's best for me, rather than wondering what's best for everyone else. Great post lady! x

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    1. I know! I get those guilty feelings all the time and I can sometimes let it take over. Thanks so much for reading, Elizabeth. So glad I'm not the only one! xo

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  2. Great blog! It took me a lot of years to realize that self-care isn't selfish. It is so important to take of yourself...if you don't you're no good to anyone.

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    1. Exactly! I am realizing this more and more and that it is okay to do it!

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  3. I love any information about self-care and how important it is. Sorry I just completed your survey from back in January. I somehow missed it. I hope I wasn't too late with submitting it. xoxo

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    1. It is SO important!! and never too late. Thank you so much for doing it! XO

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  4. I adore the way in which you write thanks for publishing. best vacuum for shag carpet

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