Invest in Yourself
As a working mom – or a working woman or a non-working mom, for that matter – we are all really good at investing in other people. Investing our time, our emotions, our talents, our money. Giving to others in our life so they can be stronger, better, healthier, happier.
But I realized over the past few weeks that I haven’t been investing anything in myself. I was feeling super low-energy in my body and my mind. Unmotivated, uninspired. I was mentally beating myself up for goals left unattended, for words that I wasn’t writing, for the exercise I kept conveniently dropping from my schedule. I was going through the motions of the every day and keeping a lot of things to the high standards I subscribe to in all areas of life…except for my own well-being.
And I know I have no one to blame but myself. Somehow, it was ok for me to focus on everything else – again – without giving a second thought to how I was feeling. Until it wasn’t ok. Until I knew that if I didn’t wake up – physically and mentally – and take some time to invest in myself, the mental beatdown was going to get worse. And I also realized that maybe, just maybe, it was ok to do it for myself and no one else. We’re so good at the whole “I can’t take care of everyone else if I don’t care of myself thing” and that’s honorable and lovely but what if you just want to take care of you. Not for them? Not for anyone else? Just for you. I think that’s ok, too.
So I started with the frivolous: beauty. I made a hair appointment and invested in something I have been wanting to do for a long time: eye lashes. Simple, natural-looking lash extensions that make my face instantly pop with a new brightness. I love them. I invested in them. In the money and the time commitment and the upkeep. I invested in myself. Because they make me feel pretty. And confident. And less rushed in the morning.
Then I made a mental investment in the physical: exercise. I have been a longtime lazy girl. I don’t like exercise, I don’t crave exercise, I don’t feel compelled to exercise. Until I do it. Then I feel the instant benefits and wonder why I just can’t commit to investing the time and the energy into my health. Well this is me, getting back on the horse, and trying to make it a priority again. I am challenging myself to invest in myself for the next 21 days. And hopefully beyond, but let’s start with baby steps. 21 days doing some sort of physical exercise every day. It’s really half mental and half physical for me but it’s an investment I need to make. You can follow my Instagram (and now @wwgwynethdo on Snapchat – on the days when I can figure it out!) to see how I’m doing. And feel free to call me out while you’re there.
I took a bath. Last night, at the height of bedtime happy hour in our house, when the kids were running around asking me to find the pajamas and crayons and stuffed animals that were sitting right under their noses, when the dog was chasing them with my slipper in her mouth, when the dinner plates were piled high and the emails were still coming in, I looked to my (amazing) husband and told him I needed to go and take a bath. I invested in my own well-being, my own voice and used it to put myself first. He encouraged me to go for it so I said good night to my half-naked kids, patted the dog on the head, walked into our bedroom and shut the door behind me. I took a bath and I lit a candle and I put on a face mask and I just sat there, embracing every moment. The noise still rumbled away right outside my door, and I knew it wasn’t going anywhere for long, but investing in just those few moments of solitude and quiet, right in the middle of the hurricane…it was the best move I had made all day.
Finally, I invested in my writing. I have been so lazy about writing lately (as you’ve noticed as you had to dust off this URL just to find this post). I haven’t been reading, I haven’t been writing, and I haven’t been nourishing my creative outlets beyond Pinterest for far too long now. So I am signing up for a writer’s retreat in May where I am investing time and money in my craft. It’s an indulgence. It’s money that could easily be put elsewhere right now. It’s a weekend away from my kids and with a whole room of complete strangers. It’s taking a chance on the unknown. But it’s also taking a chance on me. And that’s what matters.
Giving back to myself so I can be stronger, better, healthier, happier.
Taking a chance on me.
Investing in myself.
I hope you take some time – and some initiative – to do the same.
*image via Death to the Stock Photo