Give yourself permission

Are you being there for others and forgetting to be there for you?

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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?

Sara Challice

Motivational speaker, teacher and author, Who Cares 4 Carers?

Sara is a speaker and author of the book, “Who Cares? How to care for yourself whilst caring for a loved one”. Caring for a loved one is both amazing and altruistic. It not only improves the quality of life for the cared for, it can extend their life for many years. Sara cared for her husband for 13 years, after he became severely disabled from a brain tumour. She eventually became mentally and physically unwell from the stresses of caring for him, but then discovered a better way to care for herself whilst continuing to care. Sara shares her insight, wisdom and stories to inspire carers globally to safeguard their own health and enjoy life. Too many of us live from a place of survival, which is not only detrimental to our health and wellbeing, but stops us from living from a place of joy. Sara is also a fundraiser, helping campaign for greater awareness and research with The Brain Tumour Charity and became a trustee for the neurological charity, INS. Her book, “Who Cares?” will be published in March 2020, by Hammersmith Books.