From Self-Sabotage to Self-Care
Some days we just wake up - with that feeling that something isn’t right. Perhaps you can’t name why you’re feeling so grumpy, but something inside groans for you to start the day in a less than smiley mood.
Perhaps at breakfast time you feel not hungry, or want to deliberately skip it just to get on with your day. Alternatively, that lovely hot shower you promised yourself, or some time spent just sitting with a relaxing coffee, no longer seems necessary...
You feel compelled already to do do do, and before you know it, you are at full speed, hurtling out of the door trying to meet someone else’s expectations before you’ve even given a brief thought about your own - answering emails, making phone calls, submitting to verbal demands and obsessing about work deadlines.
Not only that, but the lack of self-care you had in the morning, continues throughout the day, whether that be the way you speak to yourself about the way you look, how you think and act around food, and even how you go on to treat other people.
The vicious cycle continues, until you get home, too exhausted to fit in any ‘me’ time or reflect on the passing day or enjoy a nice nourishing meal, ready to do it all again tomorrow...
I too have had many mornings like this. Before I found and integrated a more self-compassionate approach to life, my own needs would rarely get a look in. I would spend hours obsessed with work, and other people’s priorities would become way above my own.
What might have started as a rushed and unsatisfying breakfast, usually turned into self-attacking comments about my appearance, a competitive stance at university, skipping lunch, overworking into the night, and treating myself like I was my own worst enemy.
Self-compassion and self-care was an anonymous feature in my life, and I have heard so many stories of other people who have had so many similar experiences too.
One of the problems lies in not putting ourselves at the top of the list, which inevitably makes it hard to allow our own needs to be met throughout the day. Instead, by not making ‘me time’ or neglecting our needs first thing in the morning, this sets a standard that its ok to play our day away on self-sabotaging mode. One hurtful action leads to another, until we feel too drained and unworthy to find ways to heal and regenerate.
To combat this negative cycle, we need to get into a habit of placing self-care as a key priority every single morning. Yes, we might have a very early job, children to take to school, emails to reply to. But attending to number one, yourself, will only lead to more rewards in the amount of energy and love you can apply elsewhere in your life. Self-care in the mornings is the same as fuelling your body with a nourishing breakfast. It sets the positive tone that we are worthy of love, and that we expect others to treat us that we too.
It also leads to us feeling even more in the mood to take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally, as we combat challenges throughout the day, which helps us to become more resilient to stress and able to unleash our talents into action when we need them.
Self care isn’t a weakness, it is a HUGE strength, and it allows you to transform a potential day of self-sabotage into self care and, ultimately, abundant success. Not only that, but by showing self care you also show others that they too deserve time for self care, and so the positive cycle not only continues in your own life, but potentially others’ too.
Starting your day with self-care could mean absolutely anything, depending on what you find charges up your batteries and makes you feeling nourished from the inside to the out.
It might involve spending time preparing your favourite breakfast, taking time in the shower, not looking at emails or social media when you wake up, doing a little bit of stretching, going for a walk with your dog or even just by yourself, or simply just standing by the window with a cup of hot coffee/tea or a refreshing juice drink. Whatever lights and brightens you up, make time for it each morning.
But what about morning’s when self-care goes out of the window?
Ok, I’ll be honest, i’ve totally been there with this one! No matter how good you set your intentions to start your day with self-care, sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan. However, just because your morning was a bit of a self-sabotaging affair, doesn’t mean your whole day has to play out this way! Its true that you might feel more inclined to feel in a less caring mood about yourself, but its also completely possible to revamp self-care at the next given opportunity.
For example, on a morning where I might not have enabled myself to refuel with a nourishing breakfast, I will ensure that I have an energising snack that I really enjoy, or take time to eat a satisfying lunch filled with my favourite goodies. I might also book onto a yoga class in the evening, or simply do a spot of stretching and take a longer shower than usual. Whatever the time of day, self-care can always be a welcome accompaniment to whatever you are doing.
Just remember, no matter who or how old you are, self-care can be absolutely anything that suits you, so in no way do you have to take on board all of my examples. All you need to do is find out what really makes you feel nurtured and energised, so that, at the end of the day, you can feel fuelled enough to lead the compassionate and fulfilling life you were born to lead.