In the last 3 years, I welcomed twins, struggled with postpartum depression, and am currently navigating the uncertainty of a child with a global developmental delay. Each experience has carried its own weight and if I hadn’t taken time to care for myself, I would have broken into a thousand little pieces. Taking time, or as I like to call it, watering myself daily, has taught me how important it is to fill our own cup first. Over the past year, this journey has become less about me and more about empowering other women to do the same.
At some point in our lives we started wearing burnout as a badge of honor. Feeling guilty for taking time for ourselves, asking for support, or following our dreams. We have learned to live life as a highlight reel and I’m guilty of it as well. I look back at my social media from when I had my twins and I made it look like a breeze.
You want to know the truth? I was exhausted to the point that we had to hire a night nurse, Matt suffered from internal reflux and didn’t sleep through the night until 7 months and didn’t sleep past 5AM until 2.5 years. Juggling 2 infants is a whirlwind so powerful that I barely remember the details. I take pictures so when the dust settles, I can look back on my life at the pace that I wish I could have lived it. Slow and steady.
Over the last 3 years, learning to take time for myself, especially when life feels overwhelming, has been a game-changer. I’ve said it before but self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Self-care starts with taking time for ourselves and “watering” ourselves daily. That water is essential. We need it in order to live, grow, and blossom. Below is how to embrace personal growth, become a priority in your life, and water yourself daily.
W – YOUR WHY AND WHY NOT
Anytime you want to make a change in your life you need to know your why. Why do you want this change? You need to believe it, feel it, and know that you deserve it. When you embark on a journey of growth you will inevitably hit some bumps along the way. At these times, you will find the motivation to keep going from your why. I recently wrote about the Becoming Unstoppable event where Dean Graziosi talked about the 7 Layers of Why. We all have our surface why for doing things. Now ask yourself why 6 more times, creating the 7 Layers of Why. Go so deep with your why that you feel it in your heart. When you get there, that is your why.
Anytime people talk about personal growth they talk about finding your “why”. I have found your “why not” is just as important. Why are you not doing something? What is holding you back from investing in yourself? Is it guilt, fear, lack of knowledge about the topic, resources, or time? Sit with those feelings and get to know your why not. Once we can clearly identify what is holding us back, we then shift our mindset from accepting defeat to taking action. How we show up each day is up to us. Know your why, address your why not, and create that wanted change in your life.
A – HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
The simple truth is that the only way to create change is be accountable for actions. In all areas of our life we are accountable except when it comes to ourselves. If you say you will meet a friend for lunch at 12PM, you show up. If you tell your boss that you will have the project done by Wednesday at 1PM, you deliver. Yet when it comes to ourselves, we have no problem breaking the commitments we’ve made. As Ed Mylett says, “we need to keep the promises we make to ourselves”.
It is hard to stay committed when you are used to putting yourself last. No matter who comes knocking, you will answer. Today, let’s try something different. Pretend you are knocking. What request do you have of yourself today? Make that one, small promise and hold yourself accountable. As you begin to keep those promises, you will begin to make room for you.
Over the last year I have learned the value of tools that help hold me accountable. My favorite by far is an accountability buddy. If you have friends or family with similar goals, team up as accountability partners, and keep each other on track. Set small, attainable weekly goals and check in regularly to hold each other accountable. Celebrate the wins and help support each other if you swerve off course. Joining a group of like minded people is another great way to gain support. I was recently invited by my cousin to a group called Staying Accountable and Motivated for our Health on Facebook. It has been inspiring to see so many women making their health a priority and it has helped me stay accountable. Find your growth supporters and help each other shine.
Another great resource is a life coach. A coach can help you navigate your growth journey, help identify and remove obstacles, and provide support when needed. A life coach is great if you are looking for one-on-one coaching and best for those that are serious in their desire for personal growth. There are many types of coaches with different focuses, so be sure to do your research to ensure you are choosing the right coach for you!
T – MAKE TIME FOR YOU
I spent the last 4 years of my career motivating volunteers to fundraise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The number one reason they said no was that they were too busy and didn’t have enough time. First, busy people are always the best fundraisers because they know how to manage their time well. The real reason wasn’t due to lack of time but that it simply wasn’t a priority. When something is a priority, we will move mountains to get it done. As women, we have to get into the habit of making ourselves a priority. Whether it’s exploring new interests or taking 5 minutes to meditate, once you get used to making yourself a priority, I promise you will move those mountains.
In order to have more time for yourself you need to make time. I know, I know, it’s not as easy as it sounds but stay with me. Think about the actions you want to commit to doing and note how long they will take. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of breathing exercises, 15 minutes to read from your book, a 30-minute workout, or taking an hour long photography class. Now, look at your day and reprioritize to allow for that additional time.
Is there something in your that day you can eliminate to free up more time? For me, when I procrastinate I find myself scrolling social media for a solid 15 minutes. Can you cleanup your morning or nighttime routines to create more time through efficient living? Is there a task you can move to the next day that isn’t on a strict deadline? If you can’t find time because your kiddos are always attached to you, talk to your partner and workout a schedule that gives you time away. In addition to looking at your entire day, break your day into hours. Set goals for each hour and reassess at the end of each hour. By prioritizing your days and better managing your time, you will be able to find more time for you.
E – EXLORE NEW AREAS OF GROWTH
This is one of my favorite areas of growth and one that I’ve been diving into this past year. I’ve learned to cook, planted an herb garden, found an appreciation for Yoga, made self-care a priority, and the growth continues! While I love my twin boys with all my heart, I felt like I had lost myself somewhere in-between diaper changes, sleep schedules, and solid foods. Getting outside my comfort zone and exploring new things has allowed me to learn more, feel inspired, bring the joy, and slowly but surely, I’m finding myself again again.
R – RECHARGE
What mom doesn’t love a good recharge? They say to get some rest before the babies are born but I didn’t think they meant that I would never feel rested again. You are always on call, always in demand, and always the only one who can find the toy police car, narrowly avoiding that mega meltdown. Motherhood is exhausting and many are running on empty. We won’t go a day without recharging our phone so why do we go days, months or years without recharging ourselves?
Finding ways to recharge is an essential part of watering daily. It’s not just about sleep (though that is important) but finding a variety of ways to recharge our body, mind, and spirit through health and wellness practices. Below are practices that I have made part of my daily (in some cases weekly) routine. Pick one practice that you can start today. If your phone deserves a recharge, please believe that you do too.
- Eat real food
- Stay hydrated
- Learn something new
- Take mini breaks throughout the day
- Protect your skin
- Manage your mindset
- Get enough sleep
- Create a morning routine
- Practice self-Care
- Ask for support
- Organize the clutter (home, emails, desk – if it causes you stress it’s time to organize )
I am passionate about women taking time for themselves because I’ve seen first hand what happens when you don’t. Especially this past year, when a lot has been put on our plates, we have to protect our well-being and fill our our cups first with WATER. I hope this easy to remember acronym will be a welcome reminder that it’s time we all start watering ourselves daily and see what grows!