“Could you care less?”
“About what?” I hear you ask….
Take a look around you at all the women you know. First there’s your friend who’s got it all together. We’ll skip her, as ironically, she doesn’t exist. Her image is found within each of us as the unrealistic ideal that we were brought up to aspire to.
“Could you care less?” I ask again, this time with a bit more emphasis.
I can feel the irritation starting to mount, and this is where things get tricky and uncomfortable. This is the part where I start pointing fingers and you start looking at your instagram story, because you know the average attention span is now down to 12 seconds (my husband told me so last night).
“Could you care less about yourself?”….
We are in a time of crisis on this planet. Bombs. Attacks. Children dying. Cancer. For some strange reason we continue to look outward, trying to make sense of it all, and none of it makes sense.
We are stressed, worried, and full of anxiety, but we continue to soldier on, carrying on as the martyrs that our mothers taught us to be (to be fair, their mothers taught them too). We find every excuse in the book why we can’t take time to do something completely and utterly selfish, and we do this on a regular basis!
The line between selfishness and selflessness for women, and particularly mothers, is hard to navigate. It’s no easy task. When given the choice, most of us default to selflessness, feeling that heaviness and sense of guilt when we do surrender to our cravings for “me time”.
My personal wake up call came in many waves. The first being the birth of my daughter with Down Syndrome, but probably even more significant than that was when I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) just after that life changing birth. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body starts attacking it’s own systems and line of defense.
“Why would it do that?” I hear you ask.
“Maybe because I couldn’t have cared less?”
The truth hurts. If I’m honest, and really look at what was going on in this time of my life, my whole purpose was to create a sense of perfection so that others would approve. There was a deep sense of unworthiness, and a sense of duty to give to everyone but myself. I pushed my physical body to the limits thinking that I was achieving some quality “me time”. In actual fact I was wearing my body down so hard, not listening, and not giving it any love or form of nourishment that it fought back. At the peak of my diagnosis I gained 6 kgs in one week! I was going to the gym for an average of 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. I stopped sweating, and here in Dubai that is no mean feat! I woke up every day feeling as though someone had whacked me over the head with a brick, and hadn’t even had a drink the night before. I cried at the drop of the hat, and found it hard to remember simple things.
Then came the point when I had to CARE. I had been punishing my body, pushing my physical container to try to reach societal norms. The other parts of me remained dormant and didn’t seem important. My soul? My creativity? My emotional state? That all seemed secondary, possibly even imaginary until the point came when my body fought back hard. My salvation came through the form of yoga, meditation, learning about foods that heal the body, energy and colour healing, and a newfound sense of creativity. Not necessarily in that order, but they are all tools in my toolkit and are essential to my ongoing growth and healing.
Could you care less?
For whether it is hypothyroidism, endometriosis, post natal depression, cancer, bipolar disorder, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or just a sense of feeling “unbalanced”, women’s health issues are on the rise, and it is our turn to ask ourselves why we care so little about ourselves when the future of our planet is dependant on our ability to really start CARING for ourselves.
It’s an ongoing journey, but we’ve got to start somewhere. I started taking small trips away, which at first were trips to my bedroom to meditate for 15 minutes with the door locked, hoping and praying that no one would find me. Next came taking courses and taking time to learn about things I love like photography, nutrition, and healing modalities. Then came retreats, and I can honestly say that these were a natural progression from where I started. All roads lead to nowhere unless you have a destination in mind, and for me that destination was learning to heal myself and find energy to be with the ones I love and do the things I love doing most. I am so passionate about creating that time and space for myself that I have now spilled that over for others to learn to do the same.
What steps will you take in your own self care journey?
During the month of Ramadan, I have created some space and time just for YOU to dive a little deeper into your own sense of selfishness. It’s time for us collectively to care more for ourselves so that we can teach our daughters to do the same. Every Tuesday for the month of Ramadan, I will host a morning retreat with a different focus. Each week has it’s own theme and gives you permission to breathe, move, create, indulge, and experience a sense of peace and joy in the process.
In the first week we will focus on our vision by learning how to clear unwanted energy in our lives, as well as learning simple energy principles to bring more of what we really want as we approach the long, hot summer. Each participant will experience a beautiful colour breathing meditation, and create a vision board.
The second week focuses on nourishing our bodies learning to create colour “fuel” salads, iced teas/elixirs, and guilt free treats. A lot of us feel we lack inspiration in the kitchen, and I’ve come up with a simple formula to help you create something beautiful, nourishing, and delicious every time using simple ingredients.
Week 3 is called indulge for a reason. We will enjoy a restorative yoga class for all levels, meditate, participate in some skincare rituals with Shirley Conlon Organics, and learn to make raw chocolate. It’s going to be a delicious morning!
On week 4 we work on fostering more presence through Aromatherapy meditation, creating a zen garden, and flower mandala, as well as using iphoneography (basically taking photos with your iphone) to learn the practise of daily gratitude.
You can participate in all 4 weeks (special rates apply), or take part in the morning retreats that interest you most. Each retreat happens on a Tuesday starting this Tuesday, May 30th, and will happen on consecutive Tuesdays for the month of Ramadan (May 30th, June 6th, June 13th, and June 20th) from 9am to 1230pm. The energy exchange for each morning is 475 dhs inclusive of all materials, morning tea, and lunch. Participate in 2 retreats, save 50 dhs, take 3 and save 100 dhs. Do all 4 (only the truly selfish need apply…) and you’ll receive 200 dhs off the total cost of all 4 mornings!
Let’s create a movement that our children will be proud of. Let us look back at ourselves and know that we are able to be fully present and able to live the lives we were meant to, but first….let’s start caring for ourselves.
For more information, and to book your morning retreat(s), visit Nektar Soul Retreats.
Activewear by Tonic UAE.
Author Stephanie Hamilton
Photos by Stephanie Hamilton