“Stop constantly burning the candle at both ends, or you will eventually be reduced to ashes.” ― Christine E. Szymanski
I want to say something that’s going to sound a little selfish.
You have to save yourself first.
You can’t save anyone if you’re completely destroyed.
There’s a reason why airline safety videos tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else; you won’t do a damn thing useful if you’re struggling to breathe and passing out while you’re fumbling with a mask for someone sitting next to you.
The same is true for pretty much every other situation. Being self sacrificing is not a good thing; it leaves room for people to control, manipulate and use you, or it leaves them entirely dependent on you, or it just wipes you the f**k out - or, let’s be honest, all the above.
Take the time to look after yourself first. Meet your own needs. Heal your own wounds. Save your own life.
There’ll be time to save the world later.
You can’t save a drowning man if you don’t have the strength to swim.
All my love,
This isn’t radical. Or, maybe it is.
Just get some sleep. You need it, your body needs it, and pushing yourself beyond a normal human limit is not okay. If you’re trying to solve a problem, mend a broken heart or just stop feeling like s**t every morning…get some sleep, damn it.
Sunflowers are like a symbol of hot summer days. That’s because they thrive all year ‘round in as much sunshine as they can soak up. But you know what? They still require 30+ inches of water every year. No matter who you are as a person, your needs will be unique and varied. You need more than one thing in your life, no matter how much you love it. More than one person. More than one passion. More than one focus.
Look for more.
Block out time on your calendar. And get through your washing. Mine piles up, week after week, eventually turning into a Wardrobe, Floordrobe (clothes thrown across the floor) and Doordrobe (things that aren’t quite clean but aren’t quite dirty thrown over the door.)
It is ~stressful, and I deserve better. So do you.
This week, we’re doing our washing. No excuses.
🎙 5 Questions With…
Who are you, and what do you do - in one sentence?
I’m a writer, perfectionism expert, and the founder of Monday Vibes (elizabethsu.com), a personal growth newsletter and network for women. Having studied burnout and perfectionism at Columbia University, I help women learn to love themselves—imperfections and all.
How do you practice self care and look after your mental and physical well being?
Oh gosh, I probably spend at least 50 percent of my day looking after my mental and physical wellbeing! From yoga and therapy, to setting boundaries with social media and cutting toxic friends out of my life, I’m constantly asking myself: what is the kindest thing I can do for myself in this moment?
What is the one question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you? And what’s your answer?
I’m currently in the thick of selling my first book and it’s been extremely triggering. I’ve become so far removed from the creative process of writing that I’ve lost myself, in a way. The question I’d love someone to ask me is: Why do you write?
As embarrassed as I am to say it, my answer would probably be: “for me.” I write to make sense of my own emotions, to sort through what feels confusing or overwhelming or contradictory. I write to give my younger self space to speak. I write to be seen. I write to say the things I was too afraid to say in the moment. I write so I don’t feel crazy. I write to understand myself better. I write to release my anger. In a world that has zero tolerance for women’s anger, writing is sometimes the only way for me to get a word in, to voice my opinion, to take a stand for myself. I write so people will finally listen to me.
What book would you give to someone who wants to change their life and their path?
This is a toughie, because my suggestion would vary depending on what someone wants to change about their life! Right now, as a mixed race Chinese-American woman, I’m healing a lot of internalized racism so I really enjoyed Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. It’s a satire, so it’s a funny read, but it deals with important topics that I think everyone should be aware of.
What is your Hill to Die On? (IE, the one belief or principle you have on which you’d stake everything)
I love this question. These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are more adaptable and resilient than we think. I’ve had to distance myself from a lot of relationships this past year—breaking up with friends, firing people from my team, quitting coaching programs, unfollowing teachers I admired, limiting time with family—and it was extremely confronting. I vacillated from feeling like a horrible person to overcome with grief and doubt. Some days I just wanted to take it all back. The longer I’m on this self-love path, though, the harder it is for me to pretend to go along with something “just because.” I’m learning the importance, albeit ridiculously sad sometimes, of accepting reality for what it is.
💻 Use: Sounds of the Forest
“We are collecting the sounds of woodlands and forests from all around the world, creating a growing soundmap bringing together aural tones and textures from the world’s woodlands.
The sounds form an open source library, to be used by anyone to listen to and create from. Selected artists will be responding to the sounds that are gathered, creating music, audio, artwork or something else incredible, to be presented at Timber Festival 2021.”
📱 Read: Easy Answers
“Google’s algorithms famously flatten the social into the statistical, and encourage you to rely on the same kind of logic. It can’t tell you whether you have a disease, for example, but it might answer your query by telling you how many other people have it. If the disease is rare, you might feel better, as though you’ve gotten a favorable answer, but you won’t actually know anything new about yourself. If you go to the doctor, they too might google it. A recent article in the Rhode Island Medical Journal argues that doctors’ ability to easily look up medical information causes overconfidence that leads to misdiagnoses. “Self-questioning,” the authors write, “morphs from ‘What do I know?’ to ‘Where can I find it?’”
🎧 Listen: The Mindful Minute Podcast
“That moment when your meditation teacher says, "pay attention to your breath..." and you secretly think, "WTH does that even mean?!" and spend the meditation writing your grocery list.
Today's meditation and dharma talk is all about feeling the breath. We will talk bad WiFi, Google and meditation. It's all related; I promise!
Join me for the chance to finally understand what it is you are supposed to DO with the breath while you meditate...”