Make space to take up space
By Taylor Morrison
I firmly believe that women can do it all. I see it in my own life and in the lives of my friends. We are ambitious. We are kind. We are strong. But, so often, we’re also exhausted.
There’s a distinction that’s not often made between having the ability to do it all and the obligation to do it all. The narrative of the woman who effortlessly balances life and love and work can be just as restrictive as other societal norms about beauty or success.
It took a Sunday evening bath to show me a better way. I remember the feeling of overwhelm that enveloped me that night. Between a day job, side hustles, volunteering, and trying to keep some semblance of a personal life, I was tired. I’d spent the better part of my Sunday working, and I hadn’t made the progress that I wanted to. Normally, would have kept working. Something in me said to take a bath instead.
I wrapped up my work, grabbed a book I had all but stopped reading, and ran the bath water. I took an Instagram story because, even then, that bath felt important. Then I didn’t look at my phone again until Monday morning.
Margin. Space for my thoughts. Release.
I did it again the next Sunday and the Sunday after that. Before I knew it, I had crafted the first of many self-care practices to come. Next came a simple morning ritual where I journaled and set intentions. Then came check-ins where I made decisions not based on what I “should” be doing but how I wanted to feel.
With each self-care ritual I crafted, I let go of a little piece of who the world wanted me to be l, and I regained an appreciation for my body. It is so easy for me to reject the idea that I need to be a certain size or weight but so hard for me let go of the thought that my worth is tied up in how busy or successful I am. I refused to allow others to devalue my body but continued to devalue my body with my own actions. That’s changing.
I’ve found that I can do it all, but I don’t have to do it all at once. The more space I make for myself through self-care, the more space I’m able to take up in the world. And I want more women to make that space for themselves. In fact, I started a business, Emancipation, that helps women do just that. We design and gather goods to help women further their self-care practice with every season. And even though I’ve made self-care my business, I believe that self-care doesn’t have to cost a thing. Here are three steps to building a self-care ritual that’s meaningful to you.
Identify an area of your life where you’re feeling stress or tension. For me, it was Sunday nights. The stress of my day job collided with the busyness of my side hustles and overwhelmed me. For you, it might be mornings or weekends or the time before you go to bed.
Set an intention for how you want to feel. I wanted to feel complete in the week that was and relaxed for the week that was to come. You could set intentions of being energized, feeling expansive, or like there is more than enough time.
Choose to make space. A self-care ritual is simply you making space for yourself to exist without obligations. I made space by disconnecting and taking a bath. You can make space through breath work, journaling, moving your body, or doing a meditative task. Playing an instrument or cooking can both be wonderful, meditative acts of self-care. Make that space. Then continue to expand that space into other parts of your day. Counter anger and stress and tension with care for yourself. You deserve it.
Taylor Morrison is a quasi-creative, communicator, and a change agent. She leads employee engagement at a telematics startup by day, runs a brand strategy firm and a lifestyle brand focused on self-care by night, advocates for water and sanitation health in her spare time, and writes every moment in between.