Picture this - You’re in the kitchen, dishing up dinner, and there is one chicken thigh that stands out from the rest. It’s big, its juicy, the skin is golden and crispy. It’s The Best Piece of Chicken.
Who are you going to give it to? Your husband? Your kids? Do you even contemplate putting it on your plate?
Maybe it flicks through your mind for a second that you would like that piece of chicken, but something stops you.
You’re so used to giving to others and putting their needs first, to take the best piece would seem selfish. And maybe someone would say something, jokingly of course “oh, looks like you took the best piece!” and then you’d feel guilty and have to explain yourself, justify why you took the best piece, or feel like you had to share it.
So, you don’t take it. You give it to someone else and take a different piece.
Why are we so hesitant to put ourselves first? To take the best piece?
As women, we give so much, all the time. We put everyone before us, and cater to their needs. Yet, when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we’re last on the list. Why do we find it so damn hard?
And when we do decide to finally “treat” ourselves, maybe doing something indulgent like a massage or a pedicure - it only happens once in a blue moon.
Why aren't we "treating" ourselves every day? And I’m not even talking about expensive “treats” like a massage or yoga retreat. I’m talking about every day actions to nourish our souls, to take care of us, to be okay with taking the best piece of chicken.
But to us tired, busy women, even doing something for ourselves every day sounds indulgent.
So, we come up with all sorts of excuses
“Oh, I don’t have time” – yet if our child was in a school play and we had to stay up til 11pm that night making their costume – we would make time, we would do it.
“I don’t have the money” – yet if our cat needed special biscuits to help with its asthma, we’d find the money.
“I don’t have the energy” – yet if our partner was inviting his boss and wife over for dinner, we’d make an amazing meal and put effort into cleaning the house.
The excuses are just that, excuses.
We do have the time.
We can find the money.
We do have the energy.
It’s just that we choose to put the time/money/effort into other areas of our life, instead of into our own needs.
Yet, if we were told by someone “go and spend $80 on those vitamins for your children” we’d do it. But if we were told “go and spend $80 on a facial”, a mass load of excuses would come in. Why do we struggle so much with investing in ourselves?
I get it – because I was the same
I was always last on the list. And I was exhausted, grumpy and irritated that no one really appreciated what I did. They just moaned about what I didn’t do.
Through an amazing session with my Mastermind Coach (yep, I have a coach, even though I am one – but she helps me with the business instead of the food side) I realised that I was running on empty due to kids, house, work, setting up a business – and she demanded me to REST.
Ha! Was my first thought – I don’t have time for that! Get me a nanny, maid and chauffeur and then I’ll REST. But she gently pushed me into getting into reality.
I was instructed to spend the day writing down everything I do (believe me, the list was long – just like yours would be, and my god, it was boring) and find where I could make time to rest and look after myself. To do something nice for me.
So, being someone who does what their told, I did it, but admittedly was thinking “I’ll prove to her that I don’t have time, that I am too busy! She’ll see my list and see that I’m right”. But in writing that list I realised how much I was giving, and there wasn’t much, if any, "receiving" come back.
I wasn’t filling up my own tank at all.
So, I decided to create space, make time and make it a priority
I wrote a list of things I could do for myself and I scheduled ME TIME into my diary every single day and committed to it.
ME TIME wasn’t anything fancy – it was lying on the bed reading a book for ten minutes, sitting on the deck with a cup of herbal tea, looking at old photos, cuddling with the cat, having a bath, doing a 15-minute yoga routine, or sometimes, taking the best piece of chicken.
Nothing expensive or time consuming, but just little things that felt a little bit indulgent.
Yes, at first, I struggled with it - there were a million other things that I could get done in that 10 minutes – washing, dishes, tidying up, and I had to fit it in around my kids and schedule.
But I was so determined to make ME a priority every day (something that I hadn’t done since having kids), that I committed to it.
I needed to prove to myself that it was possible – that I could walk my talk (I always encourage my clients to take time for themselves). There were so many other insignificant things I made a priority in my day. I knew that making this the top of my list was do-able and worth it.
And what happened was, it worked
I created some space in my day, and it opened up more space – I found more times that I could squeeze in things just for me. Things that would nourish my soul. Things that would top me up, so that when it came to giving and dealing with the kids or a busy routine, I was calmer, kinder and more patient. I started really looking forward to my ME TIME, my little indulgences that involved doing something that I really wanted to do.
Plus, I was way more productive when it came to my business.
I learnt that "taking care of me" ended up being better for everyone else.
I also realised I wanted my children to grow up feeling like taking care of themselves was a priority. I don’t want them living a life where they’re run ragged and stretched thin. I want them living a life where they are in tune with what they need and don’t feel bad for saying "yes" to themselves.
The only way for them to learn that, is to see me doing it
Yes, there are some days that end up being one of “those days” and ME TIME does fly out the window. But I try hard to commit to it, because ultimately doing it makes me less selfish, to both myself and my family.
So, what’s holding you back from taking the best piece of chicken and not feeling guilty about it? How could you invest in yourself each day so that your tank is topped up and you're showing your children that self-care is a priority?
All it takes is a commitment and a carved-out piece of time each day.
Just like the Loreal adverts say “Because You're Worth It”.