I wanted to write about taking care of oneself. It’s something we hear a lot everywhere especially nowadays with self-development becoming more mainstream but it can sometimes be difficult to implement all the good advice we hear. Often we also might skip steps or try something only once without actually turning it into a habit, and therefore conclude it is not working, when in fact it could work, if we tried a few more times…
I have had a couple of burnouts in my life. I am still a work in progress, like every human being I think, but I am learning and in this blog I want to share a few things I have learnt over the past few years that I have found efficient. Of course there is a lot to cover on this topic so I have narrowed it down to a 3 things, which I think are really important.
To change you need to know yourself , recognise your patterns, and be willing to try something new. So for each point, try to see how it feels for you and then start doing something about it, whether it is what I suggest or another idea that you have, just try and keep at it. To change we need to repeat, not just do something once. So below I develop the following points:
1. Are you a giver or a helper? How to give yourself what you need
2. Are you always busy? How to make time for you.
3. Are you a people pleaser? How to start saying no
If you prefer to listen instead of reading, scroll down to check out my video :-)
1) Are you a giver or a helper ? Give yourself first what you need
I am a giver. I have always been, I had to learn how to receive. As a therapist, I support others on their life journey. And it brings me so much joy to see people evolve and take their life in their hands, work over their shit and become happier and healthier.
However I have often taken this too far in my life, wanted to help everyone, save everyone even, whether clients, friends, family, or even random people I would meet through networking, etc. But gradually I came to realize that firstly not everyone was asking for my help, so why offer it all the time? Once I also found myself in the posture of somebody who was being offered help when I had not asked for it and I can tell you that it made me feel very small, as if it meant I was not able to find a solution on my own and that the person had no faith in me. And I know that the person had the best intention but it made me feel like shit. So since that lesson I started watching myself each time I would spontaneously on the verge of offering my help to somebody who hadn’t asked for it. You can still ask people if they would like support, but without deciding what kind of support they need and letting them ask and tell you instead if they want to.
Secondly, since you are a giver, you must be really good at giving. So how about giving to yourself? Over the past month I have decided to change what my day looks like. I start my day by doing something for me. I am an entrepreneur so yes I can move things around, but even if you don’t have that flexibility, find what works for you.
So I give myself first. Everyday. It can be for 5 minutes, 30 minutes or 3 hours, until I feel I am full enough to actually have something to give. So it can be meditation, writing, breathing, doing yoga, going out running or cycling, dancing, etc. I dont like routine so it usually is something different everyday. And if I find that I really don’t have time, then I just take 5 minutes to schedule a moment during the day, or the week when I am going to do something for me. And that’s how I start everyday. Before talking to anyone. And I can assure you that even the simple action of planning a moment for you later on works ! So try it ! Experiment, let me know how it goes.
2) Are you always busy ? Make time for you
There is a lot of pressure in our society to be busy. But what is so cool about being busy all the time? Think about it for a minute. When you are always busy, there is no room to rest, there is no room for spontaneity, there is no room to do nothing. Yes because doing nothing is the actually cool!
I used to overfill my agenda because I was afraid of the void, afraid to be alone, afraid to have nothing to do, to be bored, etc. Well I have realized that spending time alone is very important to recharge and to rest. And think about, it if you don’t like your own company, then who will ? Learn to love yourself, you spend 24hrs a day and 7 days week with yourself. Time doing nothing is also how we allow ourselves to regenerate and then we will have so much more energy and be so much more creative. It might seem contradictory, but by actually doing nothing from time to time we achieve more. When you create void and space, things open up.
So what can you do to be less busy : for a while I literally had to schedule in my calendar « VOID » or « DO NOTHING » or « TIME FOR ME », to force myself not to book anything with anyone else. Stop giving away your time, it is your life, nobody’s else. Your time is precious. And then do it again and again. But also be kind to yourself if you don’t always manage to do it. It’s okay, try again. Everyday is a new opportunity to implement the change!
3) Are you a people pleaser ? Learn how to say no
So ask yourself this question: do you want to make everyone happy ? Are you always saying yes to please people? Do you feel responsible for people’s happiness ? well guess what : the only person’s happiness you are responsible for is YOURS ! So ask yourself why are you doing this ? Is it because you want everyone to love you for instance ? Do you think it is because you need to do it to be a good person? I used to be like that. But even if you are a super-hero, people choose their own life, you don’t have control over that. You can’t control people’s happiness. I will give you an example: let’s say you have been invited to dinner with friends and you would rather stay home. But you decide to go anyway, in order not to disappoint anyone. So you go, but you are actually not very present, and not in the mood, and as much as you can pretend, your friends can feel it. So you won’t be happy, and your friends won’t either. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation…
So try to listen to yourself more. What do you want? And if it is hard to say no, then say something like “maybe”, “ I will think about it”, “ Can I let you know later?”. And at the end of each day, check how many times you said yes when you wanted to say no. And try again the next day. Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself ! And remember, you are the most important person of your life…