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The Art of Giving to Self
Kate Stoten MyRituals

The Art of Giving to Self

The little ‘s’ versus the BIG ‘S”
Self v Selfish

Oh my gosh I wish I understood this thing called ‘self care’ 20 years ago. It has taken me years of work and practice to understand that self care is not selfish.  I have learnt that self care is essential and when I prioritise this in my life then I am 100% a better mother, partner, friend, sister, daughter etc

Self Care is exactly that.. looking after self and that is different for everyone.

I was a young mum and had 3 small children by the age of 30. I reflect now on those years and it is very physically demanding and I vey much was in survival and operational mode. I did try to find time for physical exercise and would attend a gym with a creche when I could, when the kids weren’t sick or too tired or when it fitted around everyone else schedule.

There was no what do I need? It was what do my children need? What does my husband need? I actually thought I was happy if these two things were right in my life and don’t get me wrong I was to some extent. My happiness came from their happiness and at the time in my life with the awareness I had.. it was ok. 

I was brought up in a strict religion where very much my life patterned that of my mother and what was taught by the religion. My messaging that I received from a very young age was the wife obeyed the husband, and the husband obeyed God. The wife was to bear the children and stay at home and look after the children and look after the needs of her husband. I was conditioned to believe that taking time out for me was ‘selfish’. I am not saying that is what the religion or my mum taught, that was the information I downloaded somewhere along the way.

This strong messaging took me years to unravel and to dispel. My journey on self care started on my mat. I found this thing called yoga now one of my Rituals but ground me, connect me and support me as this version of Kate.

So I found yoga and this is nothing to do with the postures or asanas but I learnt how to be still, to listen, to ask…. What does Kate need today? My immediate response … I have no idea! I would list in my head all the things I needed to do for my husband at the time, kids…. Hang on…. My teacher would stop me and ask No what does kate need?

My needs became clearer but for some reason I couldn’t allow my self to give them to me. It was selfish. There was this thing called ‘Mothers Guilt” which I am sure any Mother can relate to.

In my mid 30’s with 3 children aged around 10yr, 8 yrs, and 5yrs old our family went through massive stress, upheaval and change. This is whole other blog or novel. Needless to say I found my self the sole carer of these children and also supporting my husband at the time while he was away.

I had to figure this thing called Self Care out pretty quick because I wasn’t ok. I had to learn to put me first and yes in order to support everyone I had to look after me. So I essentially was thrown into self care otherwise I would not have survived or maybe lets reframe I would of survived perhaps medicated for a period.

What did this look like?

  1. Asking Daily what does Kate need today? Ok this is very different to what you want. Sometimes what I wanted was to perhaps be out, be social but what I needed was t conserve my energy and be home. I learnt this. Sometimes I only learnt this by getting it wrong.
  2. Saying NO.. my therapist / yoga teacher would say. If someone asks you to do something, what is your immediate response out of 10. If it is below a 5 the answer is NO. I struggled with this. I would say YES (because I am a pleaser) even knowing I couldn’t or didn’t want to go because I didn’t like disappointing people. This is still something I work on.
  3. Find your non-negotiables. So when I was new on this journey of self care and had my non-negotiables. One for me was my weekly session with Santina my gestalt therapist and yoga teacher. She held me in a space where she knew my patterning and old habits, she challenged me and supported me on this process.

So in summary I have learnt that self care is essential to me. It might just be the 5 mins I need to have a bath or journal or walk on the beach. It might be saying no to that social engagement.

From the practice of self care and from years of working on the resistance to it I realise I am a the best version of me when I self care. I am a better partner, mother, yoga teacher, business woman, friend, sister and daughter. Perhaps check in, what is your self care regime? How can you get clear on what you need v’s what you want? Implement this into your daily rituals.

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Kate Stoten MyRituals
Written By

Kate Stoten

Owner My Rituals

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