I didn’t recognize that woman in the mirror.
I dropped my son off at school, and before pulling out of the parking lot I looked at myself in the rearview mirror. I was disappointed. Not because of my makeup or hair, but because my face looked so grumpy and unhappy. My face looked like a wrinkly elephant and my eyes were so tired.
Typically, I am the positive person. The one that people can turn to when they are going through a tough time, but that woman in the mirror looked like she was the one that needed help.
What was wrong with me and why did I look so rough?
Late January/early February are hard times for many of us. The cold and dreary winter months keep us locked up inside, and the lack of sunlight can make us feel lethargic and depressed. My family had also been fighting off sickness after sickness since November.
There were also some changes going on in our household. In the new year, my husband was on the hunt for a new job, and he and I also started a new business. We were working almost every night, taking very little time for ourselves, in order to push our venture forward.
As much as I think I am Superwoman, sometimes, I am not.
Although I was about as maxed out as I could be, I still wanted to be there for the important people in my life, and it seemed many of them were going through some tough times. I can have the tendency to take on others’ problems like they are my responsibility. In my head, I believe that I am strong enough to absorb some of what they are going through and can help alleviate a bit of their suffering. Then, through my words or guidance, I can help give them a positive boost and get them back on the right track.
What I didn’t realize through all of this, though, is that I was depleting myself. It is a funny thing, that during this time I had passed on this quote to a friend, only to later need the advice for myself- “Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re actually drowning, when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor”.
It was time to take my own advice.
After seeing my image in the mirror, I knew I needed to give myself a break. In the week that followed, I moved forward only doing the necessary things in my life. I got my kids to/from where they needed to be. I kept up the house up enough, doing a load of dishes each day and some light cleaning. I fulfilled orders that came in and only responded to emails that were critical.
I stopped expecting so much out of myself. I stopped listening to podcasts. I stopped being motivated, and hence… no motivational blog posts came through to you. I couldn’t give to others what I needed for myself.
Instead, I made a few positive changes. I went to bed early. I started meditating. I took medicine and used essential oils to help cure my cold. I took a few nights off from work to instead relax and talk with my husband. I went shopping for a few new clothes and got my hair done. Most importantly, I put up boundaries to anyone else that needed my time, outside of my kids and my husband. With the small bits of extra time that I had in my day, I decided who/what made that cut, and for what amount of time.
Soon, after spending time taking care of myself, my body and mind felt healthier. My spirits felt lifted, and once again my soul felt inspired. I could smile, and I wasn’t disappointed with the person who was in the mirror.
Self care: giving the world what’s BEST of me, rather that what’s LEFT of me.
I know about the power of self-care, but somehow through life’s craziness, it is one of the easiest things to put on the back burner. I am using these past few weeks as my reminder that I am NOT superhuman, and that self-care is not selfish, it is necessary. And now… I’m back.