The Importance of Being Selfish
“Selfish” isn’t a dirty word…in fact it may be the most healthy character trait you can have…..as long as it is accompanied by kindness and love.
Taking the time to look after your body regularly through exceptional food, pure water and regular exercise are the first three pillars to good health – you probably already know this as these three pillars have been drummed into those of us born after 1970. As a society we have come to believe that taking care of these three areas is the best – and most sufficient way – to care for yourself. However, there is a fourth pillar of health that is often forgotten, hidden or shunned – that is the pillar of Emotional Wellbeing.
This clinic is not just a massage clinic, we are more than that. We are therapists who recognise the importance of emotional wellbeing, and we understand the signs and symptoms that crop up in a body that is not in emotional balance. We call this the Mind Body Connection, and Belle is a leading expert in her field on recognising that every physical symptom has an emotional cause underneath.
Regular self care is the ONLY way to ensure you are in emotionally balance – and this will look different for everyone.
Emotional Wellbeing (EW) is the practice of listening to and being guided by that inner voice that speaks to us when things feel a bit “off” and when things feel very right. You can think of EW as being like a rudder on a boat. It helps us to steer and stay on course. I’m not much of a boat person, but I this is a good analogy that can describe the idea:
When you are in a boat and the rudder is slightly turned in the wrong direction it takes a moment or two before you realise you are headed slightly off course. The good thing is you can correct your steering by taking the helm in two hands, and tuning your attention to where you are going. You will get back on course quickly when you recognise your mistake, but it takes a little longer if you aren’t paying attention. And sometimes you can get into serious trouble if you really don’t recognise you are way off course.
Are you with me so far?
Our body has a feedback system that is always helping us to steer in the right direction, it gives us signs and an a “a-hoy there” if we are off course. I prefer to call the gut my “inner wisdom” but you can call it your gut instinct, or intuition too. For many women, they ignore this feedback system because they are so busy caring for other people and making themselves too busy to take time out for themselves. Our modern society prides itself on the ability of a woman to get shit done and to be superwoman. I know countless women who just keep going and going and going…until they fall apart and have to stay in bed for a day or so, and then get up and go and go and go again!
But I am here to tell you that this is the BEST way to start feeling aches and pains in your neck and shoulders, recurrent headaches, sinus infections, persistent coughs and colds and to feel sad or apathetic in your heart. For many women they report feeling like they have “no direction” or “no purpose” even though they have a job, they have a family, they have a partner, they have a house (etc etc) and they don’t see any real reason why they feel so flat, or low or un-energised or just a bit blah.
This is REALLLLLYYYY common in the years after having a baby. Clients will often present with aching in the neck and shoulders, and possibly lower back, but they will put it down to having a very heavy bub, or that they are still breastfeeding etc. Whilst yes, that may be true, there is an underlying emotional imbalance that is weighing heavy on you too. Problem is, when you have babies close together, you get too busy to care for yourself and correct some of the things that start to hurt and feel bad, because you are too busy caring for tiny humans. And so the problems compound until you have more serious aches and pains, and possibly many conditions and diseases to manage.
Often when I ask the simple question “How often do you engage in self-care?”
I get answers such as:
“not very often”
“what do you mean by ‘self care’?”
Self Care is the act of attending to and caring for the self. It can be through making small choices such as what to eat or what to drink, that is life-giving and energy supporting. Or it can be through making huge life choices such as removing toxic relationships from your life, moving to a new town, changing jobs, or beginning a meditation / fitness program on a weekly basis.
Emotional Wellbeing is reliant upon your ability to put the focus on yourself for a while – especially if you are feeling achey, or despairing, or just a bit “nothingness”. Getting selfish means you are taking the time to look after your own needs, and put yourself first. If anyone has a problem with you putting yourself first simply say to them:
“So you are saying that you have a problem with me looking after myself, because it means I can’t look after you? And that makes me selfish?”
LOL – they have no where to go with this argument. (You’re welcome xx)
So here are my tips for getting selfish with kindness and love, follow them and you will be on the road to feeling better in mind and body:
The food you eat can have a huge impact on your emotional wellbeing. Sugary foods often put you on a high, but then you go through a low a few hours later and you wonder why you feel so irritated with a husband who works long hours and leaves you alone with the kids all day.
Drinking lots of coffee all day – “just to get you through” – has a taxing effect on your adrenal system (your energy system lets call it) and can actually make you have less and less energy as the weeks and months go by. Then you may find yourself with zero energy by the evening, and getting crankier and crankier with the kids (who ALL have a witching hour in the evening!) and with a partner who has no idea he has walked into Jurrassic Park and found a T-Rex in his kitchen.
(Now I am not giving your partner any excuses for his behaviour – it may be crappy, and your crankiness may be justified….but that is a blog for another day.)
Darling, I want to speak to YOU and help you to control the things about YOU that are making your life harder. And you can be sure that skipping breakfast, reaching for toast for lunch (cos it is easy) and eating off your child’s plate (cos it is quicker than making your own lunch) and downing copious amounts of coffee or chocolate all day (cos it makes you feel good) is only adding to the T-Rex Effect each afternoon/evening.
Now I am not saying eating good, clean food in a balanced and healthy way is the be all and end all, but I am yet to meet a client in my clinic who has a clean diet and poor emotional health. Just saying.
Self-care starts with food.
The next thing you need to address follows on from food……drinking. Make sure you limit coffee and tea (unless it is pure, organic and gorgeous tea from a tea maker, not the rubbish in tea bags in the supermarket!) Swap this out for water water and more water. Get your 2L per day and then talk to me about drinking coffee. Water is life. You need it. Drink it. Purified if you can.
The next thing you need to do is breathe more. Consciously, not shallow and hurried, but long deep breaths that fill you up and slow you down. If you don’t know how to do this, then get your bum to a meditation or yin yoga class immediately! YES you can put the kids in care or ask a sitter, or go later at night (don’t do yin in the day time, that’s not what it is for). You CAN do this, and you CAN make changes to your schedule once per week. It is your CHOICE to do this. Breathing deeply helps to soothe your nervous system and will quiet a busy mind. There will be less T-Rex activity when you are feeling more quiet and subdued…and then you can handle the Witching Hour with more grace and self control.
Journal often. This is so good for the soul. It gets things out of your mind and when you re-read what you wrote, it can be a revelation. Practice “Appreciation” for the little things around you. Notice the weather when it feels good to you. Notice your favourite jumper or boots or hat. Be thankful and appreciate you have a nice watch or jewelry that makes you happy. Just notice the things you have around you such as a nice tv or a lounge chair or maybe you have a Thermomix that makes your heart sing? Just notice the material objects you have that make you happy. Avoid noticing what you don’t like, and don’t focus on what you don’t have…that’s not the purpose of this exercise. Just become more Appreciative of what you do have and what you do like.
It is life changing to do this.
Engage in regular bodywork therapies. Choose from massage, Aromatouch therapy, Reiki, Emotion Code, facials, foot treatments and hand massage. Try different things every once in a while and see a new therapist, just for a change. Every therapist you see brings something new to the table (pardon the pun) so treat your body work as a “must do” and intuitively book in a session that interests you and you are curious about.
Body work helps you to unwind, and to find stillness. If you are a talker, try not talking for your next session and see how that feels. Let your therapist know you want to try something different because you are trying to get more in touch with your inner voice. She will be able to support you in this, and maybe guide you into deeper relaxation.
Make this next month all about YOU. Get inward focused and be selfish in a kind and loving way towards yourself. Who knows how you will feel at the end of it? Maybe less aches and pains, or maybe more clarity about what you need in life going forward? Be patient, be consistent and go get selfish!
You deserve it Darling xx