Learning to take care of yourself first

Taking care of yourself doesn’t always come naturally, especially for mothers and caregivers.

woman taking care of herself first

Since my move to Seattle, I’ve found myself getting lost in the world of yoga. I’m learning, pushing, growing, and it’s much more than physical for me. I find I do my best thinking when I’m sweating bullets and pushing myself to uncomfortable and unknown spaces. Not to mention, that hour is entirely about me, my mat, and my practice.

Amid class, while transitioning into our final poses, my instructor said, “take what serves you best.” Although her statement was centered around the movements we could take to deepen our practice and our stretch, it caught my attention.

As she was permitting me to make a decision about which pose to take, I made a decision that I would allow myself to make decisions around what serves me best in my life. I want you to do the same.

“To serve: to be of assistance to or promote the interests of; aid.”

Take what serves you best

To figure out what best serves you, it’s important to be in touch with your true being. Your inner voice. Your gut. Think about people or practices in your life that provide assistance and aid you on your journey.

They come in many different forms: the comforting presence of a loved one, honest words of reality, a space of relaxation, a strong voice of reason. You may or may not have realized it, but these are what serve you. Hold onto these! Give yourself permission to take ahold of these and use them to serve you and your growth further.

Leave the rest

Get real with yourself and your desires. Don’t ignore that sinking feeling that comes along with certain people and events in your life. Our body has very discreet ways of communicating with us; you just need to be tuned into the right station and listening carefully.

For example, is there someone in your life that leaves you feeling exhausted after spending time with them? Yes? Pay attention to those signals, because your body may just be telling you that person does not serve you. They’re draining you down instead of filling you up.

The same idea can play in everyday social situations. Do you feel anxious when thinking about a group dinner that you know you can’t afford? Hello! Don’t go! That situation is not serving what’s best for you at that moment, and it’s up to you to take matters into your hand. Don’t confuse this with being selfish, because it’s not.

Distance yourself from whatever person or situation is causing you stress and anxiety. They do not serve you at this moment, and you owe it to yourself to feel a few peaceful moments without them.

Do not allow guilt to overcome you when doing so. By acknowledging these pain points and moving away with them confidently and calmly, you are serving yourself first.

One final point

Relationships are another big pain point for a lot of people. Staying in relationships (romantic or not) because “you’ve been together so long,” “it’s comfortable,” or because it feels like the right thing to do (for all the wrong reasons – everyone else is doing it, I should too), does not serve you. Not at all. It doesn’t serve your partner, either. If this strikes a chord with you, it’s time for you to get genuine with yourself.



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