Three simple self-care strategies that work (for me)

About a month ago I read this quote from Darren Rowse (harvested by my friend Alana at Problogger recently):

Make sure input (reading, relaxing, listening to Podcasts, having a mentor/s) is equal to or greater than output (blogging, serving clients and providing value).

I thought I did okay at the self-care stakes, being a health coach and a yoga teacher and all – it’s like my bread and butter, right? That’s what I told myself, anyway. But after reading that ratio, I was astonished, ashamed and abashed to conclude that my ratio of input to output in the last twelve months was more like 20/80.. 20 being input, 80 being output, on average.

Until that point, I’d spent a lot of time thinking, writing and, quite frankly, complaining that I was busy and drained but doing all the same things. That’s the definition of madness, right? Doing the same things and expecting different results?

I felt shame, anger, frustration, grief – all the self-betrayal feels. Yet I had a strange sense of relief because it all makes sense.

No wonder I shuddered at the thought of listening to podcasts. I couldn’t take anything in because I’m in output mode most of the damn time. It makes sense that my digestive issues resurfaced: not assimilating + receiving my nutrients physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Looking at it in terms of masculine/feminine energy balance, I was doing a lot of masculine giving, doing and producing, and not balancing it with feminine BEING and receiving.

Here’s how I brought it back to balance:

  • The first thing I did was to set my timer every damn day for 5 minutes of meditation. No excuses. Even if I was nodding off, I sat for 5 minutes, nodding off. Giving myself that time was crucial to creating balance and I increased it slowly from 5 to 10 to 20 minutes where I could.
  • Next was food. I’d been eating okay but throwing together meals and not having a full fridge. It does something good to me psychologically if I have meals prepared in the fridge to grab and go – plus, Hangry pants are very unflattering! It took some time to get organised with recipes, a shopping list, do the shopping and cook all the food – a whole day, in fact – but it was SO worth it to be able to eat when I want to and not think about it.
  • I swallowed my ‘I’m a yoga teacher so I should be able to practice on my own without attending studio’ bullshit and bought a month pass to the local studio. Tracey is an awesome teacher and it is such a blessing to be a STUDENT. It took me a few classes to get out of ‘teacher’ mode but I cherish being able to let go and practice 2-3 times a week.

I implemented each of these actions, one at a time. When I felt I had one down, I added another in. They’re all simple, baby steps, but combined they have had a huge impact. I’m listening to podcasts, reading books, painting, Pinning like a madwoman and feel more relaxed, inspired and content than I have in 18 months-ish.

It’s taken about a month to feel these actions sink in as habits, and I have ‘fallen off the wagon’ countless times during that month. But the key is to be compassionate – instead of panicking as I let the wagon ride off into the sunset without me, I just get back on it and feel the breeze on my face as I pick up momentum. Simple. No judgement, no excuses.

No more bullshit. I deserve to be peaceful, content, relaxed and inspired.

Getting ‘back on the wagon’ and riding the shit out of it feels like Freedom.

What one small step can you take, not tomorrow, but NOW, today, to start the ripple effect of Freedom in your life? Let me know in the comments.

(Hint: there’s a reason I started with meditation!)

Lots of Love,

Emma xoxo

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