Self Care is not Selfish

I have been pondering what to blog about for a couple weeks now.  Not wanting this blog to ever be too personal, but let’s be honest – life is personal.  Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  As an entrepreneur, I had less time than most to pick myself up from my bootstraps and start churning again.  I didn’t do a good job at it.  I failed.  I lost focus.  And I started to give up.   

It took self-care, naps, carbs, a step back and a Caribbean island to pick me up.  In January, after 7-years of infertility, we received the call to adopt a baby girl.  We were finally chosen after a two-year wait.  She arrived and life flipped on its head for 5 glorious days.  On Day 5 of being a mommy, we received the call that the birth mom wanted her back. She had changed her mind.  You can come from many sides to think about this – that now baby girl was going to grow up with her family and an identity and how wonderful that is.  I wasn’t thinking like that just yet.  We were devastated.  We surrendered her, rid the house of baby items and tried to get up the next day and the day after. 

Getting up the next day, the day after, and the week after was hard.  I was lost.  I had no focus. I couldn’t fathom sourcing or interviewing. How do you just go sit at your desk and recruit? Sell? Hit the phones? Huh?!  The candidates would have heard my voice and wondered why I was even bothering.  I was frozen.  Understandably.  As an entrepreneur, I didn’t have the luxury of being frozen for very long.  

The week after I got back up at my desk, posted a status message on Linkedin and re-acclimated myself with the openings, submittals, and interview status’.    

I was a shadow of my prior self.  

My creativity was gone.  My will to be joyful on social media was gone.  I had nothing in the tank. 

This curve ball felt too big to get past.  How do you just go back to work like nothing ever happened?   

  1. It took self-care. 

I worked for a few hours, and then I took a nap.  I felt no guilt for those naps. I needed it.  I needed to give my body and brain time to heal.  Nothing good was going to come from me being exhausted physically and mentally.  You, as candidates and clients, would have noticed!   

I scheduled a massage.  I felt no guilt while sitting in the sanctuary at the spa, breathing.  Taking care of myself and my spirit.  I needed that herbal tea, that fireplace, those scented oils, and that feeling of relaxation. 

I took time out of my day to read.  Read the news.  Read a biography.  Try to get the creative juices flowing again.  I had no guilt taking time out of my day to read a chapter or two. 

I focused on cooking meals for dinner for my husband and I.  I focused on creating a calm home life. I cleaned to get out the anxiety.  I lit candles to create serenity.  Anything that would take the anxiety away for just that day. 

  1. It took some Vitamin D. 

Already planned was a family vacation to Jamaica.  We went, reluctantly, and I am so glad we did.  You have no idea how much you need sunshine until you feel it.  Winter in Upstate NY is where S.A.D disorder is prominent.  It wasn’t helping.  I hadn’t seen the sun in months.  Those 5-days in paradise was the medicine I needed.   

  1. It took Positive Affirmations. 

Every single day I said something positive out into the universe.  I vocalized my strategy for the business out loud.  I insisted on putting positive energy out into the universe.  Forcing yourself to think positive is hard – it takes strong emotional intelligence and determination – but it’s worth it. It works. 

  1.  It took Journaling. 

I wrote letters I never sent. Letters that were engrossed in anger, sadness, anxiety and determination about the entire process we had just gone through.  It helped to get it down on paper. Out of my head. Helped to move me on.  It was like I was yelling at the universe and freeing my mind to focus.   

  1. It took therapy. 

Grief therapy has been a god send and I feel no shame in saying a therapist is needed during a time when you can’t rationalize.  Never feel shame to seek help. 

6. It took friends and family.

It took getting out of the house. My friends forcing me to go to lunch or coffee. Your first instinct it to hibernate. I wasn’t allowing myself to do that. If someone asked, I went. It was hard at first but once there it was just what I needed. The support from my closest friends and family has been unbelievable. Lean on people.

7. It took a win. 

I would say positive affirmations work only because during all of this turmoil I closed a deal.   While on vacation, another offer went out.  Reinvigorating my drive to keep going. Not to give up.   This business has been my life long goal.  And although this awful situation knocked me down for a bit – I am not giving up.  I love this job too much.  I appreciate all of your cheering.  All of your messages.  All of your social media likes.  It helps more than you know.  We all need to prop each other up – we all need it.  

8. And last but definitely the most important – it took my husband.

We went through this together. We both had to pick ourselves up. We both have our good days and bad days. I am strong for him, he is strong for me. We are a team. We immediately got into solution mode. We will figure this out! Send us positive thoughts!

None of us know what each other is battling. Be Kind.

All of us have gone through grief and tough times, one way or another.  How we handle hard times is a testament to our strength, our love, and our passion.  I would love to know how you have managed yourself through hard times.  How did you pick yourself up by your bootstraps to keep going? 

Let’s help each other. Let’s support each other.