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Why does self-care sometimes feel so hard?

If we were to talk about the usefulness of setting aside some time for yourself, we would probably all agree that it is good, and in many cases a necessary action.

It is necessary to recharge your batteries at the end of a tiring day or at a stressful time in your life and to feel nourished and fulfilled.

And yet, being aware of the benefits that can come from a regenerating break is in most cases not enough to give yourself the permission to take one.

On the contrary, the thought of stopping or carving out a moment of solitude can trigger fears, feelings of guilt, and worries.

Today I want to tell you why for so many people, and probably for you too (?), it can be difficult to allow yourself some ME time.

Fear of disappointing others

In the stories I listen to, I can see how the difficulty of carving out some time for yourself is often linked to the difficulty of establishing boundaries to the requests of others, and then also of respecting and enforcing them.

There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself an evening alone to watch an entire season of a TV series or spending the day pampering yourself.

This is possible until you let external requests make you feel guilty, for instance, friends who invite you to go out when you are tired and want to enjoy time alone, a partner who wants to tell you about their day in detail, smartphone notifications that alert you to an urgent email from a client or a phone call from a friend who wants to share with you her latest disappointment in love.

Saying no to other people's requests can be sometimes difficult: driven by the fear of disappointing the other person, you risk giving space only to their needs and desires, putting aside your own.

Many people feel responsible for the disappointment that the other person may experience, and in order not to take the blame, they prefer to say yes to requests that they would have gladly said no to.

Each of us is responsible not only for our own behaviour, but also for what we feel, what we want to hear and see, the way we use or don't use our tools and resources - what do you think? Do you agree?

On top of all this: how do you know that the other person will be disappointed if you explain that you want to carve out a night on your own? Have you ever tried it?

Fear of unproductivity

(What if I don't do enough?)
For many, taking time off to relax instead of being busy, is the equivalent of living an unproductive life, and as such, then not allowed.

Not being busy (working, studying, planning) can awaken feelings of guilt and generates self-criticism, which is why people choose to be very productive even at the risk of feeling constantly exhausted.

If what I am saying sounds familiar to you, you are probably the 'victim' (or know of a victim) of a cycle full of fatigue that you yourself have generated. You may already feel weighed down by the many things that you set out to achieve, and you then take on new things to do and continue to do them, feeling more and more fatigued and, in some cases, probably obtaining ever-lower levels of productivity from yourself.

The solution - stop, take a break - look after yourself

It seems obvious as much as it is difficult to achieve; despite the fact that you tell yourself that rest is essential to be productive, despite the fact that you put breaks in your diary so you can't forget about them, despite the fact that you are convinced of the importance of all this, giving yourself a break from running can remain a mirage.

It will probably continue to be so until you start reflecting on your experience, starting with a question: where does the ban on being unproductive come from? 

What's the worst that would happen to you if you allow yourself the right to be unproductive, or to be less productive than usual - for once?

For many, it is important to keep busy and do well in what they do because this is how they received recognition from an early age; on the other hand, not doing enough runs the risk of disappointing the expectations of others, which over time have also become their own.

It may be useful, then, to ask yourself whether those expectations of excellent productivity are actually realistic and doable - since, as people, we need to rest as much as we need to feel satisfied, and it will be difficult to self-fulfill if we feel we lack the energy to do so, don't you think?!

This is what I personally do when I want to relax and enjoy some deserving ME time.

1. I use essential oils regularly during the day if I am at home and every evening. Here are some of my favourites.

2. I LOVE taking baths, especially when I am at home in UK, and therefore I love bath salts! I enjoy most of them, especially the ones that contain essential oils, here are some that I am using at the moment.

3. Meditation. Even closing your eyes for 5 minutes focusing on good feelings can help you relax at the end (or beginning) of a hard and busy day. I personally listen to binaural beats which help me achieve a good state of relaxation. I have created some audio videos on YouTube, and you can listen to one of them here

 

If you are ready to focus on your self-care and self-love, to set up boundaries and let go of challenging emotions that no longer have a purpose in your life, Heal Within is the program for you. 

Heal Within is a self-paced program that includes over 100 lessons including how-to-videos, EFT tapping videos, meditations, journal prompts and so much more on how to understand your emotions, your limiting beliefs, so that you can release challenging emotions that have been holding you back from living the life that you truly want.

Love, Carlotta

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