Something amazing happened yesterday. Since getting back from Morocco I’ve been experiencing the kind of bone-aching exhaustion that tells me I need to slow down to get my health in order (a cold + losing my voice + international travel is not a great mix). This is not something I really understand how to do but lately I’ve been forced to take notice when it’s needed. I’m trying to learn how to look after my self — body, mind, emotions — better to help me work better.
My brand new course, Blogging from the Heart, is due to start on Monday but it was becoming very clear that i was in no shape to do it. So last night I woman-ed up and did something I’ve never done before — I emailed my lovely patient participants explaining that I was exhausted and needed to take a few extra days to rest up, and so was pushing our start date back by a week. And as I explained in my email, I want this course to be awesome, and to do that I need to be on top form. (I also gave them a link to an audio I’d recorded so they had something to work with while they waited.)
I was so scared to send the email because one of my greatest fears is letting people down. If i’ve said i’m going to do something you can bet I will do it. Never has this been more important than in my wee business. With hindsight it was silly of me to schedule the start of a new course a week after teaching at a retreat, but I am always learning as I go. I’ve been doing this work for three years now, but still there is always so much more to figure out.
The amazing thing that happened was this: within minutes of sending out the email I started getting replies from my peeps, and within an hour over a third of my 160 participants had pinged me back an email saying that they understood and didn’t mind the delay. Many of them thanked me and said they admired my decision to take some time for self care. One sweet soul said it was lovely to be reminded to take care of our bodies and souls.
And when I’d replied to everyone and wiped away a few tears, it struck me how important this self care thing is. I seem to read about it all the time — on personal development blogs, sites, books, magazine articles — but I don’t think I’ve ever really taken on board how essential it is. It’s not just about spending an hour on the sofa once in a while. It’s also knowing when to stop… to slow down… to put yourself first, even if it means delaying your work. Because a week’s delay to ensure you do your best work is better than forcing yourself to begin and then crashing half way.
This episode is teaching me that not only do i attract the most wonderfully thoughtful and understanding people to my courses (seriously — wow) but that it is also safe for me to ask for what I need. And i don’t mean grabby-me-me-me sort of asking; I mean letting myself get very real and be honest about how I feel.
Do you know what I mean? How do you navigate self care alongside your obligations? I’d love to hear x