I've heard the term "Self Care" plenty lately and I thought I had a pretty good handle on what that meant. Go have a coffee date with a friend, plan a date with your partner, cuddle up with a book - you get the gist. I thought I was doing an okay job at self care, but recent events have shown me that I was not.
Let me start that by saying when you are an entrepreneur and you are going it alone, you have a lot on your plate. There is always a list of things I should do, must do and should have done yesterday. Now add in three teenagers, a husband, an extended family, friends...you get a lot of pulls on your time. I'm not whining about any of it - I love all those people and duties in my life. However, when you are balancing growing your business with all of those other things, your opportunities for self care are severely reduced.
I was trucking along okay until COVID. This last year has been one of the hardest of my life. Lots of it is personal, but I will share that the work demands on top of the other stuff has put me in a different mental state. (Think tears, more blue days than is normal for me, and a lot of sleepless nights to get a clear picture) I pride myself on being strong. I was a single mom for years and I can handle pretty much anything that comes my way. I am the fixer of air conditioning, plugged toilets and malfunctioning machines. I handle life and keep things running smoothly.
So with some new worries coming on the scene lately, I have been struggling with handling them. So last Friday my husband suggested that I just get away for the weekend. I decided on the spot to go camping. I packed up and headed out in a few hours, with my trusty companion, Chico the Goldendoodle. The most amazing thing happened within a few hours of my arriving at my campsite. I had everything set up and I looked around and said to myself "Now what?". I've been a mom for 17 years and if you are a mom as well, you might understand these feelings. I didn't have to do anything for anyone else (other than my low maintenance dog), but could do WHATEVER I WANTED. Normally at home, I can take a little time to read a book or watch a show, but I always feel guilty because there's two loads of laundry to fold, dinner to plan, dishwasher to unload, etc. But for all of last weekend, I did whatever I wanted to do and had no one to answer to. If I wanted to hike, I hiked. If I wanted to lay in my hammock and read my whole book in one sitting, I could do that. If I wanted to roast marshmallows before dinner, I could do that too. I didn't realize how freeing that could be. I had no idea.
So I had the most amazing weekend on my own. I did get a bit lonely, but that was okay and I just sat with that emotion. I found myself feeling guilty for sitting and doing nothing but staring at the water. I had to remind myself more than once that it was totally okay to do nothing. And when you really think about it, doing nothing is really doing everything. I was doing so much more than just sitting and letting my mind wander. I was growing, recharging, centering and remembering who I was.
I'll do some social media posts on the interesting things that happened this weekend, but this blog is a little bit more personal place to share things that aren't easy for me to share. I just felt like it was important to, as my friend Shannon said, "normalize guilt-free self-reflection to fill ourselves up so we can stand a chance to pour into others". She is so right and I felt compelled to share this. Maybe you see a little bit of yourself in this blog and you need some real time for self care. I don't know if you need to go camping, but take some real time to get away and do whatever the hell you want - it's really freeing. Truly I feel more able to give my family what they need. As moms, we spend so many long hours making sure everyone's needs are met and rarely do we focus on meeting our own needs. I spent the weekend doing just that and I feel so proud of myself for recognizing that I needed it. I'm hoping you can take the time for your own self care!