There’s nothing like a good taste of your own medicine.
When I launched Sacred School of Shakti in 2017 I got swamped by a tidal wave of applications- which was awesome! I moved heaven and earth to cram the interviews into my tight schedule. During those first 2 days of calls I’d left myself just 15 minutes between each call and actually forgot to leave time to eat ! My mantra was “I’ve just got to get it done”.
Yes, me- the passionate self-care advocate, teaching ways to balance our masculine and feminine in the very course I was selling! I’d basically broken all my own rules. Oh the irony…!
The crunch came when I woke up one morning and my body was completely locked solid- everything was clenched. It was scary as hell but also the wake-up call I needed.
But here’s the thing- yes I’d been pushing hard, but I’d still been doing daily yoga and meditation practice, getting weekly massages and floatation tanks. In general I thought I’d been taking care of myself. But I was close to completely burning out and hadn’t even realised.
I’d ignored the whispers from my body…….until she screamed at me!
It wasn’t just the result of those 2 days of back-to-back calls. Nope. It was years of “just getting it done”. Nerida Moorhouse, naturopath says “burnout symptoms may take two months, or two years to develop… most women do not think it could happen to them, as they have usually managed a complex work life balance for years, and coped to degrees, but it creeps up on them, and then it can be a single event (eg- flying interstate for a funeral/wedding/meeting/or get an infection) that makes the dominoes fall, and they are usually perplexed, and wonder where their energy, memory, and drive has gone”.
It’s a big issue for female entrepreneurs, managers, go-getters and change makers. There’s so many of us striving to make a difference in the world but often our wellbeing suffers as a result because wé’re not in balance.
No matter how much self care I was practicing, my yang masculine side was completely running the show. In the launch phase of a new project it’s pretty much inevitable. Everything revolves around “just getting it done”. Which often looks like eating take-out food on the fly (at the laptop), checking emails as soon as you open your eyes, and working 16 hour days non-stop.
I’m so grateful my body screamed when she did.
It was the perfect wake-up call at the right time. With a wonderful team of practitioners I not only healed but learned some deep lessons that have been invaluable to me and my clients.
I’ll say it loud and clear- if we want to be an amazing force of change in the world we MUST put ourselves first!
These top tips work for myself and my clients:
- Make sleep your #1 priority. “Even if you are eating very well, with homemade, high nutrient meals, and taking nutritional supplements, if you do not replenish yourself with sleep, you may be likely to enter the path of burnout”- Nerida Moorhouse, naturopath
- Get your blood checked annually– know your iron stores, thyroid levels, essential minerals. Empower your health by knowing where you stand.
- Rest. It’s absolutely crucial. We’re not designed to be in fight/flight mode 24/7. “When we run on overdrive (cortisol) then we deprive the body of going and making sex hormones. This leads to early onset menopause….resting never looked sexier right?” Dr Natasja Fox, Co-Director, Jing Holistic Integrated Healthcare
- Read fiction. Sounds crazy but it’s an amazing way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Firing up our imagination lights us up in all kinds of creative ways and switches us out of work-mode. Seriously, lying on the couch reading a good book is amazing.
- Embodiment practices– not going to the gym, but something softer, more fun- dance is perfect (and if you work from home taking regular dance breaks is an absolute godsend!)
- Prioritise pleasure- people laugh at me when I say the practice that makes me most efficient at work is breast massage but it’s true! When we prioritise our pleasure we activate wonderful hormones like oxytocin. We feel fulfilled and nourished. It’s a great way to start the day!
- Create impeccable time boundaries. It’s is a tough one when we have a never-ending to-do list but absolutely essential. Set a time to stop work and stick to it. Learn to say no.
- Stay offline in the morning. I have a golden rule – the first 2 hours in the day are mine and they’re sacred. The phone doesn’t get switched on until 10am. No more checking emails before even having a shower. Make technology work for you rather than being a slave to it.
- Get out in nature. Often. One of the best ways to combat stress is to give it back to mamma nature. Go for a walk or run, get to the beach- whatever works for you. It’s an amazing reset and it’s often when I get the best inspiration.
- Schedule your self care– use your Google calendar or put a reminder in your phone. Download my Self Worship Checklist and pick something every day.
- Track your menstrual cycle. Get to know the phases of your periods so you can plan for energy peaks and troughs.
- Dig deep and check your self-worth. If there’s a part of you that doesn’t feel like you deserve success or amazing clients, then you’ll be using a lot more energy to get anywhere, kind of like pushing a large rock up a hill. “Proving ourselves” is exhausting. We need to make friends with that insecure little girl inside.
As women in business we absolutely need to prioritise ourselves like this because our hormones play such a big function in managing stress. I’ve seen this over and over again with my clients. I see it with my friends and colleagues and I see it in myself.
When we take sacred rest and put our health first we’re telling ourselves we matter– and we set an excellent example for our colleagues, employees, friends, sisters and daughters.
Accept nothing less- aim for long-term success because the world needs you thriving, not surviving!