SLOWING DOWN & SELF CARE, WITH KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
Self care, high vibrations, positive thinking or wellness? Whatever you’re pushing,
I’ll put my hand up and say yes, I’ll take it. Is there an elixir I can add to my almond milk smoothie? I’ll do it. Magnesium, vitamin B, C or multi, pre and probiotics, broth, acupuncture, massage, osteopathy or a healer, i’m in. I don’t wear blue blockers just yet, but I’m only a whisker away. And if you don’t know what they are, just Google.
I’ve suffered from chronic illness for the best part of my adult life, pain, constant fatigue, foggy head, the list could go on. Not to mention, I am about to turn 40. I’m a little more solid than I used to be. I have a husband, two young kids, two adult step kids, a grand-step kid, a dog, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree. I recently closed an incredibly dynamic and exciting homewares business. I’m ambitious, vain, enthusiastic and I just want to feel amazing, all the time. I’m also tired and just slightly exasperated. I want to excel in all aspects of my life, but these expectations are wearing on me. So as per above, if someone’s peddling something that’s going to help me achieve these goals, you betcha, I’m going to jump on board.
The issue is, even though these things are important, they’re not what life is about. In my humble opinion, trudging from appointment to appointment and tying yourself in knots about everything that goes into your mouth is almost as stressful as it gets. It’s all about balance, right?
I know for me, after trying anything and everything to ‘live my best life’, I’ve finally had enough. It’s too much and can be just as damaging as the other side of the coin. So what’s the solution? For me, it was slowing the hell down. In all aspects of my life. Sorry everyone, but I’m not sorry any more. Everything and everyone can now wait. Not too long, mind you, but I’m doing things at my own pace for now and it feels great.
I have busted my hump for years trying to be all things to all people, until a couple of months ago when, after years of not so subtle hints, the universe decided to slap me across the face and I finally understood. It’s impossible. Let’s say that again. It’s impossible to be all things to all people and do it well. We just can’t, so let’s give ourselves a break.
Now that’s self-care.
We have all read about the importance of filling our own cup, securing our oxygen mask first, but how do we actually do this? Wellness is a huge business. According to the Global Wellness Institute, it was worth $3.7 trillion globally in 2015. So when I say huge, I mean huge. It also means that we need to pick and choose our way through, because just like every other industry, that’s a lot of people trying to sell us stuff.
We can all buy things that are going to ‘fix us’, but that’s not the point – we need to do the work to fix ourselves. For me, the slow down was required, both physically and mentally. This can seem like an impossibility, particularly for a Type A personality such as myself, but that is my work. I needed to stop and take a breath because I wasn’t going to get through another day putting my head down and pretending that everything was going to be okay.
When you are busy, busy, busy you can’t possibly see the forest for the trees. And what a shame, because it’s so damn beautiful. Just stop for a minute. Put down the phone. Stop scrolling. Put your to-do list away for now. It will all still be waiting for you on the other side.
Then what? I’m not going to tell you what your self-care looks like, because only you can do that. All I know is that it will take some discipline. It will take you prioritising yourself. And don’t just make it another thing to do on your list. You’ve got to really want it, for you.
For me, self care is being able to cook beautiful food, while not beating myself up for over indulging more often that I should. It’s making a beautiful smoothie in the mornings and savouring that glass of chardonnay at night. It’s meditating before the kids wake and escaping to the beach whenever time permits. It’s pilates, mid-week sun-baking, jumping in the ocean or doing the school pick up with bare, sandy feet and no makeup. Listening to podcasts that inspire, entertain and scare the hell out of me. Spending time with old and new friends, off the phone, off Instagram and not having to ‘rush’ off. Chasing the sun with my kids. Lush dinners with my husband, like we did 10 years ago, and not worrying about how we’ll feel tomorrow. Singing in the car, loudly. I’m going to buy a drum kit, I haven’t played for 20 years, but god damn it, I want to.
It’s so exciting when you give yourself permission to do things just for you. A very wise woman told a friend of mine to “push self care until it feels indulgent”. How good is that? It doesn’t matter what it is. All of this is the stuff of life and it’s what it’s all about.
Don’t wait another minute.
Light up your soul.
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