“You are worth the quiet moment. You are worth the deeper breath. You are worth the time it takes to slow down, be still and rest.” ~Morgan Harper Nichols
At University, I believed I could do it all: get the degree and climb the corporate ladder. I also believed that everything would fall apart if I stopped to take care of myself.
It took me to the edge of burnout. Fast forward a few years —and a lot of work—but I am no longer the same person who sat crying but unable to disconnect from work and study.
As a woman—specifically as a woman in the male-dominated world of finance—I thought I had to carry the world. I had to prove myself. I had to show that I wouldn’t drop any spinning plates, no matter what was going on in my personal life. I always had to be going, doing, striving. I didn’t believe I could just sit, rest, and take time to be.
But with time and a lot of work, I slowly learned how to take care of myself. I left my corporate career (and daily commute) and realised that my priorities needed to shift. Today, I look back at the woman juggling all those plates, and I am thankful I am no longer stuck in the place of believing I couldn’t disconnect to take care of myself.
These are the lessons I learned as I healed. If you, too, need to learn how to slow down and take care of yourself, I hope these lessons can help you on your journey.
I know that getting at least eight hours of sleep is some of the oldest advice in the book when it comes to taking care of yourself, but it’s also some of the most ignored. How many times have you heard that advice and shrugged it off, thinking, “That’s fine for other people, but it doesn’t apply to me?”
I used to wonder if I could get away with only four or five hours of sleep a night, and technically getting away with it, (I couldn’t!). Doing this long-term will damage your body in the process. Sleep is critical.
According to the NIH, “Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health. Not getting enough quality sleep regularly raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia.” (NIH, April, 2021).
It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I can make time for myself without feeling guilty, but I finally realised that taking intentional time for myself helps me recharge. That’s nothing to feel guilty about.
Sometimes self-care is as simple as pampering myself with an organic face mask or reading a book. I always make sure I have time to move my body, most days at the gym, but a walk in nature is just as refreshing (assuming the weather is nice to me!)
Pushing myself to run on empty doesn’t do anyone any favours—not only is it a quick path to burnout for me, but I also cannot give my best self to my loved ones or clients if I’m exhausted and drained.
As we’ve already mentioned, movement is important to me. Staying massage fit is essential too. It can be physically demanding to massage all day.
I’m not planning on running any marathons, but I’m dedicated to walking daily. Getting my steps in is an easy but effective way to make sure that I’m exercising. I don’t need any special equipment, and I can walk anywhere.
Research shows that even short bursts of walking (like taking the stairs instead of the lift or choosing to park on the far side of the car park) can make a difference. You don’t have to embark on a complicated, time-intensive, or expensive exercise routine to make a difference in your health; just put one foot in front of the other.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Opening yourself up to new experiences changes your perspective. Whether I’m planning a trip to a country I’ve always wanted to visit, or I’m choosing to enjoy a drive with an audiobook playing, doing something a little out of the ordinary makes me appreciate life more. Next up: I’m planning on taking on a couple of big challenges this year to get out of my comfort zone!
Whether I’m planning a date night with my husband or spending the day with my niece or my sister, spending time with my family is a crucial part of my well-being. Making the most of the time I have with my family gives my life meaning and purpose.
Learning to meditate
I’d heard about the benefits of meditation for years and had even given it a half-hearted try a few times. But in the midst of a stressful job, I knew I needed to figure out a way to clear my thoughts and calm my mind. When I discovered Chakras and gave meditation another shot, it worked. Now, meditation is a key part of my routine, and I’m finally seeing the benefits I’ve heard others talk about for years (like lower blood pressure, better sleep, and less anxiety).
If you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world, like if you stop to take a breath everything will crumble, I’m here to tell you: that’s not true. You can (and should) take time to take care of yourself.
This is why I created Waterlily Self-Care, a space dedicated to simple self-care techniques and finding easy ways to slot self-care into your busy day without feeling guilty about it. Iniside, there are mini courses on sleeping habits to implement, daily aromatherapy, Chakra healing, hand reflexology and so much more. Learn how to slow down and relax without the feeling of "you should be doing something more productive".
Learn from my lessons before you end up trying to tackle your to-do list totally exhausted.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
Psst ... here are the ways you can work with me, in case you were wondering ... https://linktr.ee/waterlilytherapies