My son earned a "bring a stuffy to school" reward today and decided that Koko (his beloved stuffed zebra) needed a backpack, snack and lunch to be totally prepared. To be honest, he got this idea from a friend of his who made one on their last reward day. And so he set out to make everything out of paper before school. My daughter hates to be left out and is a total helper. The apple didn't fall far from the tree with that one. 😉 She was desperate to lend a hand, but I asked her to finish getting ready for school first.
"It's hard to help others when you haven't helped yourself first".
Those were the words that came out of my mouth, and even as I was saying them I realized that they were some that I needed to hear and follow myself.
I had a hard weekend.
One of those where you feel like your every effort has failed and you don't know why. I call it my "failing life" mood, and it's definitely not a positive one. The thing is, I'm very much like my daughter. If I see someone hurting, broken, and in need, I want to help them. I will throw aside my own needs to make sure they are getting theirs met. While commendable, I guess, it's actually really starting to affect my own health. I am withering away while those around me start blooming. I have not been setting the boundaries that I need to in order to protect myself and my health.
For me, this deterioration is both physical and mental. I've put on a lot of weight over the past two years or so because I haven't been consistent on my movement plan, and the stress is definitely messing with my hormones. I've been getting considerable more IBS flare-ups - something that was well-controlled until a few years ago. Stress is a huge trigger of these flare-ups, and I know that's the main cause of them now. Mentally I get down. I will not use the term clinically depressed for where I'm at, but my guess is that I'm probably close to it. The constant internal dialogue of not being enough, on the brink of tears, and just wanting to find a hole a chill there for a while are most of the feelings that come up. As you can see, this isn't healthy. I should probably go talk to a counselor, and I might, but right now I'm beginning to realize the little things that I can do to help myself.
"It's hard to help others when you haven't helped yourself first".
The first thing that I'm doing is stepping back a bit.
Stepping back from this constant need to do and becoming something more, and simplifying. I started with the question that I give to my clients - "What is one thing that you want to do that you're not doing now? Why?". Sit down and journal with that one for a bit and see what comes up. For me, wow! There's a lot there. Most of it movement and experience related, and so now I am my #1 clients.
Last week I traveled back down to Colorado Springs to meet with my weightlifting coach. It was good. I'm not setting any goals, but I like the sport and I like her. Together we mapped out a plan. I made the comment that I'm a really good coach to others but stink at coaching myself. "We all are", was her reply. This woman trained and competed with the USA National Weightlifting team for years and still uses a coach for her own training. We have to sometimes bring support in, even if we're an expert in the services that we need. Does that make sense? We need someone to step back and see up in another light because we're too close to our situations to get an accurate picture - it's fuzzy.
The second thing I'm doing is to find support for my own healing.
I've made an appointment with a naturopath to get my gut and hormone health under control. Again, this is something that I often help others with, but I can't help myself. I get weird about medical needs. For some reason, I think that I have it covered when I am totally off track. I was reminded that I needed to step down and get help by one of my current clients. She is a chiropractor and she's coming to me for help with alignment and core function. She also sees a physical therapist, and naturopath, and her own chiropractors. She is not treating herself, although she is fantastic at her job. She is letting others help her so she can be better at helping those who seek out her services.
This was a simple, but HUGE lesson for me. I cannot always fix myself.
Finally, I've realized that I need to spend less time trying to grow my business and more time growing me.
Most of my time is spent, not on my clients, but rather on how I can get more and grow more. The "where do I fit in this space" question that continually cycles through my head. I complete online courses to learn more - searching for that neon sign that blinking "HERE" this is where you belong. Or I research. Or I look at job opportunities because maybe I just scrap all of this and work for someone else. I've realized that these distractions only add to the anguish and self-deprecating behavior I've been indulging in. Sure, I have a broad and varied skill set, but I don't have to figure out where it all fits in now. The fact is that it might not all fit into the puzzle - some pieces might be leftover and not fit the current picture. I'm trying to be OK with that. I know eventually the right pieces will fall into place and the end result will be amazing. You all might help me see what fits and what doesn't, and I need to be more accepting of that help.
To do this I'm stepping back and scheduling time for my needs outside of my business. Time to move, play, shop, enjoy self-care (total extravagance in my head), and other things that complete me. Sometimes I just sit and binge watch Netflix and drink coffee all day, and I'm beginning to be OK with that. On that path to rediscovering who I am now, I have to be able to explore the side trails, because we all know that obstacles often come up on our planned paths. If we can't figure out other ways, then we'll never move forward.
Three steps are good for now. Three steps are about all I can take on, but my guess is that more will unfold as I get going. I guess my point is that sometimes we have to listen to the advice that we give our kids. We tell them things to help them navigate their life growing up. The thing is, those helpful reminders don't always stop just because we've become adults. They are still relevant. I think that's why we never lose the "mom voice" in our heads. So listen to the advice you're giving your kids. Is it something that you also need to hear and work on?
What messages have resonated with you lately? Feel free to share your words of wisdom in the comments and let me know how you're navigating your own path.