“Stay curious to yourself, to your feelings and to your needs”

Bijgewerkt: 5 nov 2020

Saartje and myself met whilst working together at De Nieuwe Yogaschool. The fact we have an age difference of fiftheen years didn’t matter, we immediately clicked. I enjoyed all days working with her: her wisdom, honesty and calmness is impressive. She studies philosophy, is a certified yoga teacher, knows a lot about Ayurveda, breathing and energy levels (and she is only 19 years old!). She told me she used to be a complete different person due to her anorexia which she had to go through from the age of eleven years old to seventeen years old. I can’t believe her not being amazing and inspiring, the reason I asked if I could interview her. She said YES!

Saartje, your story is pretty intense and intriguing. I am very curious if there was a specific moment in your life when you felt self-care is very important?

"When I was eleven years old I got sick and I had to go to the hospital for a very long time. The western approach for girls struggling with anorexia is focused on dealing with the symptoms, so I had to gain weight. I did after a while but I wasn’t recovered, I still wanted to control everything and I was very anti-social at the time. That was the point I started to read into the Buddhistic approach. I wanted to deal with the disease instead of with the symptoms of my disease. Looking back to that period I feel like I was a complete different person. I was ashamed of myself and many people don’t know this about me. I feel a bit scared to be so honest about history but this used to be me and formed me the way I am today."

Saartje asked me if she could share something additional of her eating disorder, I believe it are touching words and I fully respect her vulnerability:

"An eating disorder is not about being pretty, skinny or about fashion (even though it can trigger). I didn’t became sick because I wanted to look like somebody else or I wanted to be pretty. The illness was something inside of me which was already there. I thought every kilogram of my body weight was too much of me in this world. I had the feeling I had to lose weight, so there would be less of me. I wanted to disappear slowly, by losing one kilogram at the time. What I realised from the Buddhisitic approach is that I am not my body. I found detachment from my body and by that, I found distance from my own judgments. I realised I am not my body, my thoughts or my emotions. I am much more then that."

What does taking care of yourself mean to you?

"Due to my disease and the divorce of my parents I was forced to grow up fast. I feel like I have missed a part of my childhood. So one part of self-care is to take care of my inner child, to be creative and to feel free without worrying about all the things I want and need to do. I love writing, singing and dancing: that is what makes me feel free, I make time to do these things on a regular basis."

"Self-care also means to listen to myself. I know what I need to do to take care of myself (meditation, exercise and eating plant based), the key is that I do these things from a place of wanting to do it instead of an obligation that I have to do this. There is one thing I sometimes force myself to do which is meditation, I know it makes me feel so much better and connected."

What do you do when you feel the need to take care of yourself?

"I take a step back and go back to basics, I only do the necessary: studying, eating healthy, exercising and sleeping. The exercise I do depends on how I feel. Sometimes I do a slow yoga class and from time to time a boxing class really helps to restore my energy."

"Asking for help and letting others take care of me also means self-care. I go back to my family and get connected with their love and affection. And if things are really bad, I skip everything and go to the beach. It gives me peace and air, something I can’t always get in busy Amsterdam."

What is your TCOYS tip to other people?

"Stay curious! Stay curious to yourself, to your feelings and to your needs. If you stay curious to what you need and you do this on a daily basis, you will outgrow your routines. Meditate and ask yourself: “What do I need today?”

"If you are into Ayurveda, I would recommend to get to know your dosha and to start taking care of yourself from this point of view. Sometimes you think you need something and it appears you need the opposite of that according to your dosha. I am intrigued by this wisdom."

Saartje will be blogging for the website as per this month, so more inspiration of her to come! Follow her on her Instagram for more inspiration.

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