After years of caring for my husband and a year since he had been gone, I put myself on a detox retreat. I hadn't been feeling great, I was missing Neal and I had been eating rubbish. I was hoping the three days away would sort me out.
On the last day I decided to book myself a reflexology session. I loved a foot rub! As I lay on the couch, the reflexologist worked her magic and I was away with the fairies. When it finally ended, she stopped and just held my feet. She then finally spoke, “I feel like you're stuck.”
I raised my head off the pillow and looked down at her holding my feet with a bemused smile. “Really,” I asked.
“Yes, that's what I have been feeling during our session,” she replied.
I laughed. How did she know? I then told her I had been a carer for years and had felt both emotionally and physically tethered to caring for my husband during that time. Now he was gone I had intended to travel around Asia, but I had gone nowhere and remained in the house working for myself. It was like the door of the birdcage was open and I was just hanging around inside. I hadn't gone anywhere.
“Well, you should go!” she exclaimed, “And you should go now!”
I burst out laughing, “Yes, I should! And I will.”
I gave her a hug and left with a huge smile on my face. I was still grinning from ear to ear when I got back to my room. She was right. Although traveling had been something I really wanted to do, I hadn't given myself permission. A stranger had now given me permission to go, not me. Why?
Many of us are often too busy being there for others whilst putting ourselves last. It can be in our nature and something carers particularly do.
If it wasn't for the Victoria the reflexologist, I would probably still be floating around in the house, but a few months later I was on an amazing month's trip around Asia, visiting Ha Long Bay, Vang Vieng and Angkor Wat. It did me the world of good meeting new people and exploring new places.
So if you're feeling pressured or low, are you giving yourself permission to be kind to yourself instead of continuing a sea of chores and pleasing everyone else?
Can you give yourself permission to ease off and do the things you want to do, to ensure you enjoy everyday?
Funnily enough, in giving yourself permission to look after yourself and be good to you, you end up then having more to give to others.
So what would you do today if you gave yourself permission?