Looking after myself its something I'm learning to get better at. It doesn’t come naturally to be at all. The basics I do more from vanity than anything else, but it’s the real deep nourishment and nurturing that is not so easy for me to access. Last year I worked really hard, and because I love what I do, I don’t always notice how hard I've worked. And I find it very difficult to say no to people. A part of me loves being needed and knowing that I am helping others. When it came to my Christmas holiday, I felt all this weird guilt. It took a few days to shake it off. It was a strange feeling to notice how clear it was. I felt bad that I was on holiday and looking after myself. A few days in I started to feel so good and so well that I wondered why I didn’t take off sooner!
I've been invited to do talks at companies and what I'm teaching them and my students is that in the words of the great Dalai Lama “you are not qualified to look after anyone unless you look after yourself first”. When you get on a plane and they show you the safety demonstration, it’s the same thing every time……..Put the oxygen mask on yourself first then on your kids.
When I come back from my break I'm always nicer, kinder more patient. I teach great classes and I’m full of life force. It feels great. So I’m learning and understanding how important it is for me to take breaks.
Learning to look after yourself, I think is one of the most important tools we could learn. Learning when is enough, when you need a break, when you need some quiet time even a nap!
Going on retreat is one of my absolute must do’s of the year. Each year I go on a silent meditation retreat. No phone, no computer, nothing! Just me, myself and I getting to know one another again! Last year I also got to take 6 days to spend with one of my teachers being a complete student and learning. It was Incredible.
One of my yoga students has been coming on my retreat each year for the past 6 years. Her son is around 7 or 8 now and she is a single mum that works full time. She knows she is very lucky to have grandparents around, the help of nanny, and now even her ex partner comes and spends quality time with his son. Before she leaves it’s a military operation making sure its all organized for her son, but each year she knows that when she returns, she is a better mother, a better boss, a better friend and all round better person.
Its something that you can only reflect on and see the difference it makes in your life. Time is a luxury. Time for yourself to reflect and retreat and be in nature and practice yoga and meditation and to breath are such essential components for health and well being. I’m learning to look after myself better and as I do, I feel so much happier and light and strong and balanced all at the same time. If I don’t look after myself first, I cant be there for anyone else!