The start of a new year has always brought with it great excitement, in anticipation of what lies ahead. But this year was different for me. When the year kicked off, I was still dazed out and super fatigued. I wished I could extend my leave. I wished schools weren’t opening. All I wanted to do was rest, in particular, sleep. But, with the way my life is set-up, I did not have the luxury of any of that. I had to put on my “big girl panties” and stride along.
This feeling lead me to pen this post, putting together the March self-care guide.
The strides I took allowed me to walk with the understanding that despite a lot of things happening around me, at any given point, I could only do so much. I allowed myself to feel. I allowed myself to be. I also allowed myself to rest.
I mention these in particular because allowing myself to feel, be and rest have been the biggest things I battle with. Simply because whilst growing up, these three had negative connotations attached to them. Like many first borns (it’s not even a first-born thing, but anyway), when I got into my feels, I was told to be strong and not be a cry baby because the baby would mimic me. When I just wanted to BE, being by myself to do whatever I wanted, which mostly entailed me being alone, I was told that I was being anti-social. When I wanted to rest, phrases such as “we only rest when we are dead” echoed strongly in my mind.
Of course with these unconciously ingrained in me, giving myself permission to feel, be and rest required a big mindset shift. So when this year started and I was feeling the way I felt, I resolved to myself that I will take it one day and one task at a time. I promised to not push myself too hard, especially with my purpose work (podcasts, blogs, coaching, etc.). I realised how many things I have within my control and decided to focus on that rather.
These are some of the practical things I’ve done which have made a tremendous contribution to my mental well-being:
I truly allowed myself to feel. Whatever emotion I felt, I acknowledged it and sat with it for as long as I needed to. The trick here is to not disregard how you feel by downplaying your emotions or hyper-spiritualising (yes, we Christians do this a lot) the situation you are finding yourself in. Most times we don’t deal appropriately with what we are going through due to the pressures we have imposed on ourselves. As moms, we can think “I don’t want my kids to see me this way”. In the workplace, we shy away from acknowledging that we are burning out and need a lil bit of timeout. We are so afraid to feel that we end up numbing our pain with all sorts of unhelpful behaviours and habits. Allowing myself to feel has been so liberating for me. It will be for you too, give it a shot sometime.
For me, BE-ing has been about acknowledging myself for who I am. It has been about honouring myself without feeling ashamed of who I am and what I am about. Unfortunately, not embracing who I am creates friction and an incongruence within my spirit. As a result, I am forever wishing, hoping, comparing myself, belittling myself and above all, not loving myself the way I should. BE-ing comes with full acceptance of who we really are. This means acknowledging our strengths, weaknesses and using this knowledge to empower us in making better decisions for our lives. When we are truly BE-ing, we live much joyful and fulfilling lives. To be honest, nothing beats being my authentic self in any space I occupy. Reflect: What does BE-ing look like for you?
Just like Ecclesiastes says, there’s a time and place for everything under the sun. But in this world we live in, it almost feels like we are always chasing and working against time (and vice versa). We are always rushing from this point, to that point. Even in conversations, people don’t listen fully anymore to engage properly. Everyone is just waiting on the speaker to finish so they can share what is on their minds. Our diaries are jam-packed with meetings, engagements and events (moms with kids’ parties) to attend. In a world that glorifies busyness, it is so easy to fill our time with things that don’t matter, forgetting that rest is an act of honouring God. We rest because we love and consider ourselves worthy. Rest isn’t about sleeping for an extended period. It can be taking time out to intentionally do things that fill your cup. Things that leave us feeling recharged and reignited.
For me, this is anything from reading, writing, journaling, listening to music, going outdoors, taking a social media break, playing with Bontle or just simply spending time with my family doing crazy, playful things like rap battles. I don’t know what rest looks like for you, but be intentional to take time out from your normal routine to do things that fill your cup with copious amounts of joy, sunshine, serenity, and calm to rejuvenate your senses and whole being. One thing I told myself I’d do this year is to take regular breakaways. I will no longer wait for December to take my leave and expect to be rested at the beginning of the year. I’ve seen that, it just doesn’t work at all.
Reflect: When last did you take meaningful rest? What did you get up to?
With only 8 more days to go before the first quarter comes to an end, don’t get into the frenzy of “OMG! The year is moving so quick, I gotta catch up”. Catch up to who? Walk in your own journey and be flexible with the rules and milestones you’ve set for yourself. They should not be working against you but for you. For a change, as you use this time to reflect of the year so far and plan for the upcoming quarter, let self-care take precedence too. After all, YOU matter and without YOU, none of those milestones will come to fruition!
If you are struggling in this area of your life, BOOK a coaching session NOW. As your coach, I will support you on this journey.