I recently witnessed what happens when you don't take care of yourself and it wasn't pretty, people.
In today's blog post, I'm going to share that one time recently when I thought I would be just fine without any self-care for a month. Here's what changed for me.
Why is it important to take care of yourself?
Because like cars that can't run on fumes, neither can you.
I am a huge self-care proponent. Not the kind of self-care most people think of, like getting a massage every six months or getting a manicure. I mean the kind of self-care that is done daily, the kind where you fall in love with yourself, treat yourself with the same kind of respect you show to your family and friends, and connect spiritually with whatever you believe in.
Regular self-care is deeply healing, restorative, invigorating, relieving, and soul-inspiring.
Recently, because of a temporary schedule change, I decided that I would simply put my usual self-care routine on the back burner until things got back to normal.
I thought "Pffff...I got this. I am so connected, so in tune, feeling so amazing...I'll be fine without it."
A month later, after what has felt like endless days, relentless needs, never-ending dishes, responsibilities and engagements that had me collapsing on my sofa at night with a huge glass of wine, I thought it would be enlightening to share the major changes in my life that I noticed with just ONE MONTH of not doing any self-care.
I did start out doing my daily morning self-care routine, but as the month progressed, my morning time got sloppier and I wasn't making use of that time.
Those of us with a regular self-care routine forget that the reason we're handling life so well is because we're filling the well consistently, and those of us who don't have a self-care routine don't realize that life could be SO much better. These are the emotions that came up for me this past month when I put self-care last on my list.
Dip into your own soul. Find your own truth...what calls to your heart...what moves your spirit. Make your life dance to the song of your own essence. - Unknown
I'm a professional blogger, yes, but this blog is truly my passion. Writing about self-care and the law of attraction light me up. It's what I read about daily before I go to sleep, it's what I talk about with whoever is interested in talking about these topics, it's what I'm constantly trying to implement into my life...and this blog is where I get to share all of that.
During this past month, I felt like a spectator and watched my passion slip further and further away from me, until I felt extremely uninspired and almost confused as to what I would even want to do or write about.
I realized that if I didn't have a self-care routine, I wouldn't know what lights me up. When you're just trying to keep your head above water and floating through your days more or less, letting life happen TO you, it takes your focus away from things you love to do.
So many women feel like they have no idea what their passion is; to this I would now inquire if she has a daily self-care routine and if not, I would highly suggest starting one. It will cause you to get to know yourself so intimately, and will from that place lead you towards what you love and what fills you up.
Commune with your soul. - Panache Desai
As I mentioned above, after about a week of doing everything on my own and not taking any real quality time for myself, the days started feeling never-ending and the kids' needs felt relentless.
I felt myself getting smaller and smaller in the mix of it all. I was even dreading waking up in the morning! I didn't want to start another day full of feeding kids, breaking up fights, listening to tantrums, making meals, washing dishes, running errands, and picking up the house a million times only to do it all over again the next day.
I felt very overwhelmed and started dreading my days.
Because of the overwhelment, I began to feel resentful. I was resenting my kids for their seemingly incessant demands and needs. Resentful of my husband for not having to deal with hand washing dishes after our washer broke, not having to deal with dinner and bedtime every night.
Yes, he was working extra, but he got to do it childless and take his breaks in peace. I became like a seething kettle on the stove!
My husband and I started arguing more and I lost my patience with the kids much more often, and the real reason was because I felt like I was giving to everyone except myself.
And thus, I was highly irritable this past month. All month I kept wondering how and why I was losing my cool so much.
It's not like my life drastically changed; my kids weren't eating more than they did in the past, the house wasn't anymore messy than usual...it made me wonder how I always had such a good attitude before about it all.
But it made sense. I was giving and giving and giving to others, without giving to myself. Of course I was going to be irritated at life in general.
The days felt monotonous and unexciting. Yes, I definitely had a sour attitude this past month, even when I tried so hard in the mornings to think of what I was grateful for. I couldn't feel it. It's like I was too emotionally and physically drained.
After weeks of no truly productive self-care time, I was feeling bored and what could borderline be described as slight depression. Even when I would get some time to myself, I did nothing but scroll through my phone while lying on the couch.
My perspective of all things just got more bleak. It reminded me of times in the past when I had been diagnosed as depressed and bipolar, except this time I knew why I was feeling like that.
I was living life day by day with no real goals or intentions beyond taking care of my kids, keeping the house picked up, and doing it all over again the next day. It made me realize how crucial self-care time is for me. It's not selfish or a luxury; it's as important as exercising. It maintains my mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary. - Mandy Hale
The reason I felt so good and ready to tackle several months of "doing it all" was BECAUSE I was so mentally healthy and emotionally fulfilled from my self-care routine. I was so in touch with myself. You don't realize what an impact your self-care routine makes on you until you go without it.
It's like the warning label on antibiotic medications that says just because you're feeling better doesn't mean you should stop taking the medication. That's how I felt this past month. It helped me to see how truly effective and needed my self-care routine is for my mental health and happiness.
Implementing Self-Care with Limited Time
I still have another month and half of my husband working long hours. I know there are single moms out there, and moms whose husbands always work long hours.
What I noticed this past month is that when I did finally have some time to myself, I squandered it. And it's mainly because I have a vision of how my self-care time should look, so when my days are long like they are now, I was just thinking "Meh, there's no point in trying to do it now, it's too late."
But if you've ever read my nightly self-care routine, you'll notice that it mostly consists of a shower with low lighting while listening to inspiring audio, and then however much time I have to do something like journal, or blog, or read a book.
I really could've made better use of what time I had this past month. Yes, I was more tired. Yes, I had less time. Which made it all the more crucial that I should've used at least 30 minutes after my kids were in bed to really connect with myself and take spending time with ME a priority.
Make Yourself a Priority
If you relate to any of the feelings above on a pretty consistent basis, definitely try a self-care routine and see what happens. You will be amazed at the healing and transformation that will take place after connecting with yourself on a daily basis.
After this past month, I am that much more passionate and a proponent for quality, daily self-care. I needed the experiment of this past month to remind me how important it is, how much more magical my life is with it, and much easier everything flows when I'm truly connected to myself.
Do you have a self-care routine and what do you find most crucial about it? How do you recharge your soul? I'd love to know in the comments below.
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Lots of love,
Jessica Dimas is the author of Self-Care for Moms Guide + Worksheet Bundle.
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