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Are you willing to p*** people off in order to take care of yourself?

A big part of my work as a life balance teacher/coach is supporting women in attuning and responding to their needs and desires through practicing the art of self-care (read why self-care matters here). During a recent women’s self-renewal retreat, I challenged my participants to explore what our barriers to self-care are: what really keeps us from taking care of ourselves?

Many women shared that they were afraid of what others might think, they were concerned they’d be seen as selfish or–one of the biggest–they might ignite anger or irritation for taking a stand for their needs. They were afraid that in order to say “yes” to their physical, emotional and mental well-being, they would have to say “no” to a request from someone else. And things could get ugly.

Can you relate? I sure can.

Every fall about this time my plate becomes very full and I become extra mindful of how I manage my time, energy and resources. Invariably, I have to end up saying no more often than yes, to things that truly feed me: coaching clients (they can instead work with our senior career coach, Angela), opportunities for collaboration/partnerships with colleagues, professional meetings I’d love to attend, friends/school social gatherings and more. Occasionally, I even change my mind and give myself permission to back out of previous commitments to create more breathing room for what matter most (our family’spermission granted poster helps with this!).

This used to be really hard for me. I love to help and serve others and have many gifts and talents which allow me to do so on a large scale—whether it’s through my two sister coaching/consulting companies, my girls empowerment work, volunteer projects at my son’s school or in my community, or mentoring other women. For years, I would justify my extreme busy-ness—and exhaustion–with the rationale that I was helping so many people.

But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

I am not willing to over-work, over-schedule, over-commit or over-extend in order to please others. And after I finally embraced this, I also realized that when I choose to put my well-being first—I will invariably p*** off some people along the way.

Today I know that the person that I most need to honor, nurture, respect and love first––is me. Not just because I’m worthy of self-care, but because when I am kind, attentive and supportive towards myself, everyone and everything around me benefits. Cancer survivor/activist Audre Lorde says, “Self-care is not about self-indulgence. It’s about self-preservation.” Amen, sister, amen.

I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU: Check out 5 ways I can personally support you here.  P.S. Thinking of joining me Oct. 23-25 at beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for A New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat? Only two rooms left but commuter options available (or inquire about nearby lodging). Can’t make it to Kripalu? Check out all my upcoming self-renewal retreats here but don’t delay-lodging books up months in advance.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering speaking, custom workshops, training, books/telecourses and individual coaching focusing on self-renewal, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Healthand more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitatorsand leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum.  She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 13 year-old son. More on her background here.

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