My six-month-old baby is a dream. If it takes any longer than 10-minutes to put her down for a nap, it starts to feel like an eternity.
I know, I’m lucky.
While I was rocking her, I could feel my anxiety kicking up. I’m worried about my family’s health. I’m worried about my workload. I’m worried about how all of this is going to affect my children. I want to control so much that is truly out of my control, and while I know this is pointless, it’s a trap I fall into often.
When I am trying to control everything and everyone else, I don’t focus at all on controlling myself (which is really the only thing I actually DO have control over!). So what if I could flip this in my mind and commit to not trying to control anyone or anything else and instead focus completely on controlling myself?
And I instantly felt an incredible weight lift because my responsibilities went from everything to one thing.
I’ve done this before. I know what it feels like to focus on myself. As a result, every area of my life inevitably improves. It feels like there’s more time in the day and therefore more opportunities to serve others because I’ve made my health and wellness a priority. I can take better care of my children. I have more energy. I have more gratitude and a sense of abundance. I don’t feel guilty about the things I have no control over. I don’t take on more than I should. Because I’m not feeling inadequate! I can stand in my truth and know that I’m doing my part to make the world a better place by taking care of me.
I think this is a largely misunderstood concept. We’re not necessarily hard-wired to think of self-care first. I remember as a child, I often heard feedback from the adults in my life— “Worry about yourself.” I don’t think I fully understood what that meant. In certain scenarios, that intention felt selfish and confusing. And the words are not accurate.
Worrying is not a helpful tool for coping. Worrying is simply an attempt to control the uncontrollable. So it doesn’t make sense that we would “worry” about ourselves. What, instead, is the clear message we want to send to our children?
I’ll throw this into the ring:
“Make sure that taking care of your physical, emotional and mental health is a primary goal in your daily life so that you can better serve others.”
I don’t think that concept is too abstract for even a young child because the more it’s reiterated in different, accurate ways by the adults in their life (through words AND actions), we know that the end goal is not to be selfish, insensitive or detached.
We know that in order to do great things in life, our relationship to the self is paramount.
My goal now is to model self-care not only for me, but for everyone I could possibly influence in this one, precious life.
Honestly, I can already feel the anxiety and need-to-control melting away as a result of making this decision. It’s not an easy commitment, so I know I’ll need to make this decision over and over again, sometimes several times a day. And I know it’s worth it.
Megan Ridge Morris, E-RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP, CD, is the co-creator of ChildLight Yoga’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training(also a Registered Prenatal Yoga School / RPYS) and brings her expertise off the mat as a Certified Doula. In addition, she facilitates the ChildLight Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Trainingand also serves as Administrative and Marketing Goddess for the ChildLight Yoga Trainings division…read more here.