Say it with me... self-care isn't selfish
First, a little back story on me.
In 2019 I was struggling—personally. I had just had my second son in March, I had been hospitalized due to a flare in my Crohn's Disease in May, and my marriage was hanging on by a thread, which if you know me IRL, that is something that I would have never predicted.
Then at the end of 2019 my sister—my best friend—told me she was moving to Canada, 26 hours from me. I was a wreck. I was barely hanging on in life and the other shoe had dropped and she moved. (side note to my sister: if you are reading this, please know I was not once upset with you for your move. I will always love and support you in all that you do.)
But her leaving pushed me, I don't exactly know why. Maybe my anxiety bubble had finally burst. The world I had lived in had changed. And I realize the things I listed above aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things, but my biggest fear in life had always been to lose people that I loved (to death, divorce, moving, etc.) and the years before that had been spent losing both fathers and multiple grandparents and friends. So I think it all just finally imploded in 2019.
So, 2020. Wow—2020. What a year. I started off January 1st working out, giving up pop and carbs.
That lasted three weeks (well the carb thing anyway). But I stuck with no pop and working out daily. I added in calorie counting and then did intermitted fasting.
Looking back, this was my control. I needed that. I needed to feel in control of something. So a lot of my energy went into what I could do. This all coincided (mid to end of 2019) with me starting to freak out as I had turned 29—I was approaching 30.
Again, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. To me though—huge. It left me asking "who am I" "what do I want out of life" "Am I happy" "No, like am I TRULY happy".
Who am I: I don't know.
What do I want out of life: To make the world a better place.
Am I happy: Yes.
Am I TRULY happy: No.
And man did that last one hurt. How could I look at my life; my kids, my husband, my job, my friends, my family, and say—I'm not truly happy.
It felt selfish. I felt selfish.
Self-care isn't selfish. Putting myself first for once WASN'T selfish. My new favorite saying "You can't pour from an empty cup". You really can't, but I was constantly trying. I was saying yes to things I didn't want to do, I was putting so much effort into relationships that didn't put in the same, I was living life without really feeling like I had purpose.
My self-care started with talking to my husband. It started with telling him how I felt, and then him doing the same. That was a start for us to get back on track. The conversation of the "D" word was enough to freak us both out after 15 years together.
My self-care came in the form of writing, working out, and napping when possible. My husband has always been the biggest advocate of alone time. Time away from him, the kids, everyone. I just never really took it because I was scared to be away from people (my previously listed fear).
My self-care proved beneficial to me when I noticed how I looked and felt. It was great that I lost 35lbs, but that wasn't what changed my feelings. I felt different on the inside. I felt confident. I felt like I had purpose. I felt like every single goal I have is achievable, even the crazy ones. (Side note: Losing weight is great if its what you want, but everyone can be happy and have purpose no matter their size. This whole thing is about your happiness and not living to other peoples standards or thoughts).
My self-care reminded me of who I am. Not someone's wife. Not someone's mother. Not someone's daughter, sister, coworker, friend, etc. But who I am as a person when all those people aren't around.
Who was I?
I was a 29 year old woman who had spent her whole life people pleasing, anxiety ridden, never feeling like I was good enough, and absolutely terrified that people would leave.
Who am I?
I am a 30 year old woman who has set boundaries, removed toxic people from her life, has set new goals for her personal journey, and is living life every day knowing that anything that I didn't like about today, I can't just do better with tomorrow.
I still have anxiety, that didn't magically disappear. But I did learn how to recognize it. I learned how to sense my anxiety attacks. I learned how to warn the ones around me about it. We are all going through one struggle or another, and my life is far from perfect, but I look to the future with my goals in it and I'm excited—I'm hopeful.
"Wildflower; pick up your pretty little head, It will get easier, your dreams are not dead. -Nikki Rowe"