#ElisacoSunday No.2: Sometimes Self-care Means Putting Yourself First
“When do you sleep?”
It’s a question I’ve been fielding a lot lately. Whenever someone asks me about what I do for a living, they get a mouthful. A mouthful so long-winded it wears me down a little every time I talk about it. Between a day-job, running my own business and supporting community projects, I’m doing a lot. So much, that it’s getting harder to do all the things that I’m involved in and still have time to be focused on my own dreams.
Last month at the Elevate conference in Toronto, I had the opportunity to hear SoulCycle Co-Founder Julie Rice speak about her notable career journey. One part that resonated with me was her question of “what keeps you up at night?”; In other words, what is the burning desire that you think about all the time(?). When Rice co-founded SoulCycle, it was a dream that had been in the back of her mind. A passion she couldn’t let go of and kept thinking about at night. Rice didn’t want to keep imagining her aspirations so she let go of her reservations and started the journey she wanted to create. Since then, Rice has built an incredible fitness community, put studio spinning on the map and has moved on to her next adventure as the Chief Brand Officer at WeWork.
Rice’s talk, triggered introspection about my where I am in my own journey and got me thinking about the voice in the back of my mind that’s keeping me up at night. In recent years, after losing two family members tragically in the fall of 2012, October has become a month of deep reflection. It’s a time when my emotions take hold and move me towards an honest look at whether I’m aligned with my inner purpose. Loss by way of death had a profound effect on me and became a slow-burning catalyst for learning when it’s time to navigate away from experiences that don’t help me become my best self. After all, life is short. You never know when you’re not going to have the chance to do something again.
I Spend A lot of Energy Building for Others and Not Enough Building for Myself.
For me, self-care is a practice that’s easier said than done. Carving out space for myself is something I occasionally feel guilt about because centring my own needs can mean saying ‘no’ to opportunities and incredible people. Self-reflection has illuminated how deeply I entrench myself in and continue to stay in environments that are no longer aligned with the reason I started doing the work that I’m doing in the first place. Giving all of myself away to serve the dreams of others while the purpose that keeps me up at night stays in the back of my mind is not the deal I made with myself; It was a self-promise to live to the potential I’m capable of and build for myself, without compromise.
Guilting myself into saying ‘yes’ more than I should has left me feeling underresourced, unsupported and stretched paper thin across too many things. Physical self-care helps (working out, massage therapy, candle-lit baths, skin-care pampering etc.) and my emotional and mental wellbeing deserve self-care too. How can I live my best life and show up as my whole self if the energy I need for myself is running on empty?
Peace, I’m Out: Letting go, Saying no, and Swiping Right on the Journey That is my Life.
Inspiration can come from the smallest places and my sassy Beauty Insider Enamel Peace Pin from Sephora, has become my current mood in so many ways. Every time I wear it gives me a cheeky reminder that it’s ok to “peace out” and let go of things that are not elevating the vision of what I want to be my life’s work.
Saying no and letting go hasn’t been easy. It’s hard, it’s emotional and naturally, has brought about feelings of loss when I think about moving on from experiences that have a significant presence in my life. If there’s one thing I validated this month, it’s that sometimes self-care is doing the work I love at the intersection of choosing myself first, aligning my day-to-day energy with my dreams and letting go of everything else.
In a moment of support, a dear friend told me “it’s ok to choose yourself. The people who love you will understand. I understand. We’ll still love you, no matter what.” Keeping those gentle words in mind, I’m swiping right on me and my life boo. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about doing, I hope you can find the space to do it too.