Too busy for self-care?

Self-care is essential to our wellness, and yet I have neglected to carve out time for my Yoga, Yin, Barre and Pilates practice.  As a wellbeing studio owner, I thought I would share my struggle to create time for me and how 6 simple steps make self-care possible in my busy world.

I sometimes feel guilty taking time for myself – and I know I am not alone.  I think, wouldn’t it be nice to while away the hours, but I have x, y, z, a, b and all the rest to do!

There are so many things that I could be doing (note I am trying not to ‘should myself’), people I could be helping, classes I could be teaching, tasks I could tick off.

I was so good at this ‘after I do’ mentality, that my to do list just kept growing and I would hardly ever find a moment for myself.  I had to stop waiting for the moment to show up, I had to start to take control and carve out for self-care and get back to Yoga for my wellness.

There is a weight to all of the jobs, items, people, caring, loving and sharing that we do.  And so sometimes, in order to take care of everyone else, we must press pause and do nothing for a moment.

Self-care is not selfish.  It is essential.  It is essential for us to connect with others, from a place of loving kindness.  It is essential for our community and our world, so that we may find our way through with joy, love and hope.

Why I struggle to carve out time for self-care? 

As a Yoga and Barre teacher…and dare I say as a studio owner, my personal Yoga and Barre practice has begun to slip away.  I absolutely love guiding your practice, covering classes if our teachers are away, and being in the studio with you….it fills me up and truly brings me joy.

Yet, sometimes – if I am being really honest – I miss the opportunity to get out of my head, have someone lead me and guide me to new possibilities.  To take me on a journey of breath and mindfulness.

As you know, not just anyone gets to teach in our studio – I am very selective about who will lead our classes….so why am I not taking more advantage of surrendering to their deep knowledge and passion?  A great question indeed.

Finally, I have all of the stars in alignment – I own my own studio, with phenomenal teachers, a timetable that is diverse and interesting, and the big one – no 9-5 job in the way of my practice! No more excuses. 

It is time for me to find my way back to my mat.  I have to dedicate myself to self-care, for my wellbeing and carve out time for Yoga, Yin, Barre and Pilates.

haven yoga barre pilates buderim unlimited classes pregnancy disability ndis kids corporate retreats studio ballet

It is also time for me to rediscover what makes me whole and happy.  Then to carve out the time, really create it with my own two hands and make these moments happen.  You will begin to see me in a class every now and again….when the pull of Yoga, Pilates and Barre is just too strong.  I’m usually towards the back of the Studio – enjoying the movement, the flow, the breath and all that the teacher is offering.  Then all of a sudden, I stop – put my legs up, I lay down, I close my eyes and I find stillness and rest….you continue to flow and move around me (or maybe you don’t…I’m blissfully unaware).

I want to thank you.  I truly feel safe and secure in all of our classes to take what I need from stillness, knowing you do not judge me.  You support me, and my need to take some time for me and enjoy the nothingness wash over me.

I feel content to practice beside you, as someone – humbly on her own journey of self-discovery – and making plenty of mistakes along the way… how did I actually get here?

Carve out self-care and feel great!

There was a time, not so long ago, where taking time for myself was the very last resort

The sense of guilt about wasting this time, when I could be with my children, helping around the home or perhaps doing that one last thing for work – was overwhelming.  So, unless I set the timer on my phone, had my Yoga gear on and had completed all of my tasks – I would let my self-care practice slip away.

My husband sat my girls down one afternoon, and said “Did you hear what mummy just said? Mummy just said, to be a good mum she has to have some time for herself.”  I was surprised to hear my own words echoed.  I was surprised by the positive response I received.  My two little girls and my husband all agreed, they wanted me to have some time for myself, so I could be the best mum I could be.

This moment was life changing.

What had perhaps been a throw away line, to help alleviate some of my guilt, had in fact just become my mantra.  One I hold close to my heart and share openly to this day.  I had finally understood how self-care was linked to my wellness and sense of self, and that if I carve out time for self-care – joy filled my life.

Then the magic really started to take hold.  I didn’t just become a mum with more patience, time and energy.  I was sleeping better, feeling more present in conversations, less overwhelmed by my to do list and finally felt it was okay to press pause and breathe.

Time to become a self-care warrior!

Now when I practice self-care it takes many forms and shapes.  I have become a little self-care warrior, carving out time when I see the possibility.

haven yoga 21 day transformation yoga barre pilates yin sunshine coast buderim studio

Yes, sometimes it is a class at our studio, but sometimes it is a bubble bath or simply reading my favourite book for 10 minutes in the school carpark.  Strangely I have grown to love hanging the washing on the line, I can become so still in my mind and focus, while completing this task….no longer a slave to matching peg colours (I know you know what I mean). It is these moments I create for myself, that help me feel more connected to who I want to be.  My breath is regulated, my thoughts are clarified, my body is calm and still…I am recharged.

From this place of self-care moments, a place of inner quiet and contentment, I can give more of myself to others.  I notice I have more love to give, can practice patience, be creative and innovative and I guess, just feel like me – a person (not a role or a title – more on this in another blog).

I would love to know what you do for your self-care.  Something that helps you feel closer to yourself and more able to support, love and give in this world. Where do you head when you carve out time for self-care, for your wellness – do you find your Yoga mat too?  Perhaps you would like to share with us next time you are in a class or reach out on our socials @havenyogabarre

Self-care is not selfish.  It is without a doubt, essential.  It is essential for us to connect with ourselves and continue on our beautiful journeys.  It is essential for us to connect with others, from a place of loving kindness.  It is essential for our community and our world, so that we may find our way through with joy, love and hope.

6 Simple Steps To Self-care

#1 – Find simplicity in indulgence

My bubble bath – okay so it  doesn’t look quite like this one, but I can dream – can’t I?

I love taking holidays, but who doesn’t.  This time away, feels like escaping the routine of your day-to-day life. For me, two or three days away, can create the same benefits and feel like its been an entire week.  I love that there are no floors to vacuum, no cupboards to sort, even meals can be easier.  But a holiday is not the everyday, it is not a solution that can come to most of us even more than once or twice per year…so I needed another way to find indulgence.

When our girls were both tiny, I stopped working for a little while and finances were very tight. There was a mortgage to pay, electricity, medical costs and so on – I know you understand. During this time luxuries became a thing of the future or past, not the now.  So I had to get inventive.  Not only did these luxuries need to be on budget, they needed to be accessible and achievable – I was a mum of two under 2 years of age, so time and convenience were paramount.

Thankfully our children have always found water to be calming, our youngest in particular.  Bath time became a special time for them both, calming and joyous.  Each day they would sit and play amongst the bubbles and warmth – but I felt like I was missing out on the chance to find calm – inner stillness.  So now, while I wait for the bath to fill and be the perfect temperature for my girls, I jump in – relax and enjoy the serenity of running water and being submerged.  I steal this time for myself, then just as the bath is perfect, I hop out and the girls slide in.  Not just kind for my soul, good for the environment too!

#2 – Creatively carve time for you

The car park reader – escape to wherever you imagine!

I have a few guilty pleasures….daily coffee (thanks to my beautiful husband), dark chocolate and a really good thriller to name a couple.

By the time bedtime arrives, I often find I am too physically tired to hold up a book and sustain reading.  I began to miss my escape through my favourite author’s creative words and into the worlds they create. I would find myself looking for opportunities to read my book, but it felt too indulgent sneaking up on the lounge and taking 10 minutes in the middle of the day – when I could be writing blogs, preparing social media posts or perhaps prepping lunches for tomorrow. I found myself feeling frustrated – so I looked for a solution that helped me find peace and indulge in my daily reading (right at the moment I am diving into a Pilates anatomy text, just in case you were wondering).

As many parents know, the afternoon school pick up can be a challenge. Finding a carpark, if you arrive too close to the school bell ringing is virtually impossible. So I decided to carve out some self-care time and remove some of the worry about finding a park.

I now leave home a little earlier than I need to.  I search for a shady carpark and open my book – indulging in 10 minutes of uninterrupted reading.  At first I felt a little guilty, there were so many things I could do at home….but soon my children were sharing how grateful they were that I was parked a little closer.  This gratitude continued to increase – especially in the heat of summer, with the saxaphone, laptop and two school bags to cart. My girls were tired after a big day of learning and an epic adventure to the car was the last thing they felt like doing.  The relief I felt was enormous.  In this moment I realised something important, something that helps me with my self-care can also help my loved ones!

So I challenge you, what could you creatively carve self-care for wellness into your day?  How can you increase your self-care with simple changes to your routine and an adjustment in your mindset around ‘is the best use of your time?’

#3 – Sneak in some self-care

Don’t wait for all of the stars to align – life isn’t always plannable!

So your favourite new Yoga pants are in the wash, your grip socks aren’t as grippy as they used to be and the day didn’t go as smoothly as planned….this is life.

I know, I really do – as a self-confessed perfectionist and people pleaser, I find this one of the most challenging mindsets to adjust.  Walking out the door with piles of washing left to do, emails and invoices waiting to be sent – is something I continue to work on accepting.  There are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything, achieve perfectly and please everyone – it is in fact impossible.  So why do I continue to apply this unrealistic expectation upon myself?

If we wait for our stars to align, we spend all of our time wishing for something and not appreciating the now. Take a moment, live in the moment – book your class, arrive on time and find yourself settled in to enjoy each and every breath. At the end of class, the last thing on your mind will be the tiny little things, the tasks and mundane – your energy will have raised, you will be vibrating at a higher frequency and humming along to your self-care tune of joy. Press pause on the tasks, take the moment for yourself, practice self-care and feel the benefits into the days to come.

# 4 – When it becomes too much!

This is when we need our practice the most – work stress, home stress – time to stress-less!

So the car has had an issue, you child is unwell, your partner is arriving later than expected, work is swamping you and all seems too much – this is the perfect time for Yoga, Barre, Yin and Pilates. The busiest times in our lives, need the most self-care wrapped around them.

“I bend, so I don’t break” is here as a cautionary tale, rather than a challenge to see how close to breaking we can get. Too often we play over the ‘edge’ of our energy levels, we dip into our ‘wellness well’ and there is nothing left – then we get sick, run down, cranky, we make mistakes and we miss the joy of life. Take the time to pause, so you don’t have to come to a crashing halt – as someone who has hit the bottom of an empty ‘wellness well’ too often knows, recovering from this depth takes much, much longer than an hour class 2-3 times per week. It is just not worth it…nor is it any fun!  Press pause, carve out time for you, for your wellness through self-care.

#5 – Become a self-care cheerleader

Champion your time for self, celebrate it and verbalise it with those you love!

Beginning your own self-care journey can be a challenge – time and tasks will conspire against you, as may energy levels and interruptions to your routine.

We must become our own self-care cheerleader.  Not only turning up for our practice, but celebrating each time we meet our mat!  It is an achievement, a triumph for wellness against workload!

As your own cheerleader your role is to champion your time on the mat, carve it out of your week before all else and let nothing get in your way. After each class acknowledge the time you have taken, the investment in your self and feel into the way your body, mind and soul feels. Appreciate yourself, practice with love and kindness – but turn up and roll out your Yoga mat.

Each time you champion your self-care, each time you put yourself first, you gain a little momentum in this space.  Soon, you may begin to benefits off the mat also; improved quality of sleep, deeper relationships with others, more flexibility, greater strength and even less stress. As your practice becomes regular – don’t be surprised if you experience increased energy after each class and how clear your thoughts become – your best idea yet, could arrive to you during your next class.

Wellness through self-care is available to you too, simply carve out some time, make yourself the priority.  What are you waiting for!

#6 – Don’t expect others to get it

Find your thing, do it – and don’t wait for others!

haven yoga barre pilates buderim private sessions yoga therapy support disability ndis sunshine coast studio mat

I see this all too often as a studio owner and in my own life. You finally find something you love, you might even be good at it – but mostly it lifts you up, makes you feel great and you just want more.

For me, this is all things Yoga, Barre, Pilates and Yin. But let me tell you, if I had waited for my dearly loved husband to come on this journey with me, before I felt comfortable enough to embrace my practice….I would still be waiting. He is a runner. He loves it, it helps clear his mind and calm his soul. I tried to be a runner, I was trying to be a great and supportive girlfriend – so many years ago, but after relentless shin splints (thanks netball as a youth) and two babies later – sustained running is not for me. Just as Yoga and Yin are not for my husband in the main – yes he enjoys the meditation and mindfulness, he even loves some of the poses as a stretch – but the practice itself, has not yet become his passion – maybe one day (can you hear the hope in my voice?).

We have many couples who practice together and apart in our studio. They take their own classes and enjoy the different elements we offer in the studio.  If you are a romantic – you will love this – sometimes our couples practice together…mats a little closer and during Savasana hold hands (so deeply connected).  I assure you however, not all couples are like this – and please don’t wait – for your best friend, partner, neighbour or mum to join you – begin your practice, feel the benefits and let others see your joy.

I wish you a self-care rich life, full of wellness and joy.  I would love to hear how you manage the balance of self-care and caring for others!!

Follow us @havenyogabarre on Instagram and Facebook

Share this article:

Related Posts

hey there!

About Charmaine Cowling

Charmaine is the owner of Haven Yoga Studio - Barre and Wellness, located in the beautiful Buderim. She brings together over 14 years in educational leadership with her love of Yoga, wellness and love of life to create a boutique, home away from home for her clients. Cdharmaine is a mum of two young girls nad weaves the balance of motherhood, small business owner and her passion for wellbeing into her blogs. Join Chamaine in studio or at one of her wellness retreats or special events on the Sunshine Coast.