Each morning I sit alone in a large red armchair with a side table, situated all by itself in the hallway. When it’s warmer I sit outside at a table in the backyard.
Franklin the penguin sculpture stands guard nearby.
The reason I sit alone in this hall during winter or outside in the summer is because both are quiet and out of the way.
It’s not that I don’t love my people. I do.
But I’ve realized that most days I don’t really want to have breakfast with anyone else besides myself.
Morning is when I drink my high maintenance breakfast shake with it’s fresh spinach, aloe juice-soaked chia seeds and blueberries. I sit in front of a light box and plan my day.
Morning is my best self care, planning, dreamlining, and set up time.
Once in a while I’ve halfheartedly attempted to cut down this morning routine to less than two hours but I’ve never really cared to succeed.
Because I enjoy it.
At some point, I realized I’m happiest, most productive and loving when I get the chance to love MYSELF this way first thing in the morning.
So many people I speak with don’t allow themselves this kind of luxury. There are all kinds of excuses:
“My kids crawl into my bed at dawn.”
“I’ve got to go to work.”
“I start early already.”
“I have zero free time and you’re a jerk for suggesting I should have any time at all in this capitalist wasteland.”
To this I say, bullshit.
Also, if you’re telling yourself this and truly mean it, you’re being melodramatic and inflexible. For a complimentary melodramatic example, if you knew with 100% certainty that the difference between you dying alone, unhappy and unmourned was doing this one thing, you’d set an alarm and hop to it.
When I worked a day job, I used to get up at 3am to work on my own business, fit in a workout and do my morning routine before showing up at the office by 8am.
This is not intended as a self righteous rant about how, “you need a SUPER DUPER MORNING to be good at life.”
It was meant to explain priorities that have made the difference between a life that feels really good and one that feels like an endless competition for the “Worlds Most Put-Upon Martyr” award. Or “I’ll Do Happiness Later, Right After These 34 Loads Of Laundry.”
Self care is highly individual. I don’t get up at 3am anymore unless there are strange noises outside the house or I booked some bonkers 6am flight against my better judgement.
Like most things, I’m firmly in the “do what works for you” camp when it comes to self care. If there’s something else you would prefer instead that feels nourishing, do that and make it a routine.
Schedule the time and do something every single day for you, and you alone. Fit something in, even if it’s only a 10 minute meditation (shameless self promotion: The Love Magnet Meditation clocks in at only 11 minutes 😉 ).
Doing things for and with people you love is great– especially when it touches on fulfilling your purpose. But family is not all there is, and it’s often invisible labor either way.
If you’re only doing for everyone else, sooner or later you’ll burn out, slowly spiral into misery and lose yourself.
Then you’ll end up needing ALL the alone time. And it won’t feel like a kindness, it will feel like a lonely cry for someone you miss.
And that person will be you.
Just about any time I’ve let this self care routine go, I’ve ended up feeling miserable.
Like the time I got married and thought that marriage was the only love and self care I needed. Or when I moved across the country without the faintest idea what the heck I was doing.
Guess what those times all have in common:
Mediocre energy, bargain-basement low creative output and even less true happiness.
And it wasn’t the specific action items on my self-care list that made the difference. It was the mindset behind worthiness that they represent. It was refusing to settle. It was about placing standards around how I treat myself.
Something major I’ve noticed about relationships is that people don’t think about them much until they sense a problem. If you’re a fish, you can’t see the importance of water while you’re completely immersed in it.
Get tossed out of your fish bowl and suddenly water is mission critical.
The problem is, once you’re seeing the actual warning signs you have a problem with a relationship, it’s often too late.
Unfortunately that includes your relationship with yourself.
Your relationship with you is the most tricky, because it’s so easy to rationalize putting yourself last. I know I’ve said some of the following:
“All I need to do is this ONE THING before I can relax.”
“If I don’t do it (whatever IT is) who will?”
“The house will spiral out of control if I don’t do it.”
“The kids will not have the 25 things they need to thrive if I don’t make this checklist.”
“All I need to do is get them back, then I can be happy.”
I realize that I speak from a place of tremendous privilege.
Some of it is mine from birth, like being born a white woman in America and having a really supportive, kind, generous family. I don’t take these things for granted, and if you don’t have them, I realize that other people have different situations, challenges, bodies and circumstances than I do.
Lately, covid has given many of us more time by subtracting other things that we deeply care about. Others have found this time subtracting actual people they love.
That much more reason to work on your relationship with you.
Self care is not suddenly less important or easier to do if you happen to be more isolated. Clearly, more isolation does not equal happiness or automatic self care. Not by a long shot. It actually makes nourishing self care and routine more important.
Even if you have more time than you know what to do with, as the months of this wear on, you’ve probably noticed that quantity doesn’t automatically equal quality.
Regardless, the more you focus on these outside influences, the more power you give them.
So if you’re telling yourself that there are all of these “outside” circumstances that automatically prevent you from choosing how to spend your time– you’re rubber stamping a perceived lack of control over your life. And you’re going to feel bad, by design.
Admitting you have some power over your life feels good. Jumping from there to admitting you are a living god with ALL the power over your reality can feel like a stretch.
For the purposes of today’s discussion though, you could also probably sort out how to spend a precious 30 minutes of your day on yourself. It’s just about doing it.
Losing yourself doesn’t happen all at once. It happens bit by bit. It happens in the grey areas and the compromise and the tribal expectations that we carry around like weights.
It happens when you quit your dreams for the “safe” thing.
It happens when you tell yourself that the future you want to manifest (you know, that one) is too far out of reach.
It happens when you notice that everything is going like crap and completely give up.
It happens when you tell yourself you’re too old, too young, too fat, too thin, too broken or… too something… to make your dreams come true.
The proverbial “game” for most people isn’t lost playing their hardest in overtime at the Super Bowl of life.
It’s lost in the wasted years, the self neglect, the deferred hopes and dreams and the seduction of inaction.
That’s why I want to encourage you to nurture your relationship with you by scheduling yourself at least 30 minutes each day for yourself. If you skip a day, go right back to spending the time.
This suggestion might sound so simple as to be ridiculous.
But I’ve noticed over and over and over that big things happen when you’re willing to put yourself first.
And, putting yourself last is just one of the love blocks I discuss in my free masterclass, The 7 Blocks To Manifesting Love.
And… schedule that 30 minutes for yourself today :). If you already did it, I’m proud of you.