I have recently developed the habit of taking long, hot baths in the afternoon. Not every day, but a couple of times a week at least. Not because I’m especially dirty, but because I enjoy it.
Until recently I would have considered this an impossibly decadent waste of time. Decent, hard-working mothers and business owners don’t take baths in the afternoon. They have more important things to do. Or do they? …
Practising what I preach
As a Yoga teacher and Reflexologist, it is my job to preach the importance of self-care, relaxation and gentleness. But do I practice what I preach? I have been challenged about this recently – and delighted with the outcomes.
Why don’t people commit to self-care?
A few months back I was complaining to my lovely business coach, Rosemary, about people not committing to regular Yoga classes. Why were clients not convinced of the value of building downtime and relaxation into their lives? Maybe they just didn’t like me?
“Ah”, said Rosemary, “But what about you? Do you go to a regular class yourself, at least once a week?” I told her I do online yoga at home most days, and go swimming other days, and how I really don’t have time to go out to a regular class at a fixed time. And that my favourite teacher doesn’t teach at good times for me. And I’m just too busy.
Rosemary was quietly unconvinced. I let the idea brew for a while.
At around the same time, I was doing my Reflexology training. It was a requirement of the course that I went for at least three treatments myself. At first it felt like something else I had to fit into my full week. And find the extra cash to pay for. But after a couple of blissfully relaxing treatments, I was hooked.
Being on the receiving end of a delicious Reflexology treatment was so good! I spend most of my life caring for other people. It is absolute heaven to lie back and let someone else care for me.
Reflexology is honestly the most relaxing therapy I have ever experienced. You really can’t beat having someone lovingly massage your feet while you lie back on a warm couch listening to soft music ….
Booked in the diary
I rapidly decided that this needed to be a permanent part of my life. I now have my own fortnightly Reflexology appointments booked in my personal diary for the next three months. It feels like a guaranteed safe haven from the storms of life. Whatever happens, I know I have that wonderful hour of deep relaxation to look forward to.
I also discovered that giving myself permission to have Reflexology every couple of weeks started to change other things too. My Reflexologist, Roanna, suggested that I go home and have a nice bath after her treatment one afternoon. I did, and it was lovely. So I started to do it more often.
Time and resources
I have begun to think of myself as a person who spends time and resources on her own wellbeing. I don’t need to fill every minute of the day with worthy activity and caring for others. My own enjoyment and rest is valuable too.
Once I began to invest in myself in one area, it has become easier to be kind to myself in other ways too.
Regular Yoga classes
Those weekly Yoga classes? I made the effort and searched around a bit. I found a wonderful Kundalini class in with the lovely Katie in Billericay, which I am now booked to attend every week.
I had to juggle my schedule a bit to make this possible, and it is often tempting to skip class because I feel busy. But every time I make the effort to go, I am so very glad I did. I feel refreshed, inspired, and part of the wider Yoga community.
And yes, making that commitment to regular classes and treatments for myself has given me fresh perspective on my clients’ challenges. I now understand from the inside how hard it can be to prioritise the time to get to class. There always seem to be reasons to stay away. Always something worthy and pressing to do. Always someone else to care for.
I now understand that people rarely miss Yoga because they don’t like it. They miss it because they feel too busy, too pressured. We miss out because we find it so difficult to prioritise our own needs over all the other demands of life.
Valuing my own wellbeing
So many of us have been taught to work hard, to care for others, to put ourselves last. All these things have their place, but isn’t it time we learned to care for ourselves too? Without self-care we become brittle, weary and even resentful. When I value my own wellbeing, I find I have more goodwill to share with my family, friends and clients.
So go on – take that bath in the afternoon! You may be surprised where it leads you.
Karen Lawrence is a Reflexologist and Yoga Teacher in Billericay, Essex. You can book your own relaxing classes and treatments at www.thecalmspace.co.uk