For the first time in a long time this weekend, I can honestly say that I felt a little tired. I keep a pretty consistent pace in my day-to-day life and I rarely feel that way. I am very lucky that everything I am doing on a daily basis are things that I love to do. However, by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around I needed a little break and was deeply in need of practicing a little self-care.
Do you practice self-care? Are you laughing hysterically at me (and crying just a little too)? Is the concept of self-care so far removed from what your day-to-day looks like that it seems like the ultimate luxury?
Self-care is a radical expression of self-love. I spend a lot of my time sharing my energy with others and I love that about my life, but I definitely need to be aware of how that impacts my overall vitality to ensure that I don’t burn out.
I know that there are a lot of competing priorities in your life. I get that you feel pulled in 10 different directions, but let me tell you this, you need to add yourself to the list of things that you take care of each day or week. It is not a sign of weakness or that you are not capable. Iit is the acknowledgement that when you take care of yourself you are better able to care for all the people that you love in your life. Self-care is a vital tool to have in your toolbox.
- Self-care is indulgent – Nope. Not even a little. Self-care is vital if you are a human being living in this day and age of busyness. Unless your full-time job is being a Lazy Boy chair tester, you need some downtime.
- I don’t have time – HOLD THE PHONE. You have 24 hours in a day. I KNOW you can find 5,10,15 minutes to take care of yourself. You just need a little support and I am here to help!
- You are lazy – I napped on Sunday. I didn’t mean to, but we were at home and catching up on episodes in the PVR and we had a little snooze on the couch. It was heavenly. No one died and in fact, as I woke up at 5:30 on this Monday morning, I felt pretty darn good. You are not lazy if you decide to slow down for a few minutes once a day or week.
- You SHOULD be doing something else – Sure, I should be washing the dog paw prints off my back door or scrubbing the laundry sink but I napped instead. I have days where I have SUPERHUMAN energy and other days where clearly I need a nap. Telling myself I should be doing something is a judgement and is useless. The great thing about dirty paw prints, is they will still be there for me tomorrow!
Still feeling overwhelmed? Does the thought of taking care of yourself feel like one more thing that you have to add to your growing to-do list? Never fear! I have a plan!
- Define what self-care means to you – when was the last time you did something for yourself and how did it feel? Did you enjoy it or feel riddled with guilt? It is important to understand how you feel about taking care of yourself so that you can make the most of that time when you finally take it.
- List what you love! What do you love to do to give back to yourself? If you are someone that cares for your family or works a busy job or both, how do you like to take time for yourself? If you can’t remember because it has been so long, how would you take care of yourself if given the blank cheque to do so? List out ten things that you could do immediately that are attainable and realistic that you would LOVE to do for a little ‘me’ time.
- Get Curious – by this stage I am hoping you are turning the corner on embracing taking care of yourself, but just in case you are still firmly in the ‘ya right’ camp, please keep reading. Why do you feel that taking care of yourself is so far-fetched? What comes up when you think about sitting down for ten minutes with a cup of tea in your favorite mug to read a magazine or a few pages of your book (or other item off your list)? If you feel resistance or a strong reaction, instead of running away from it, become curious about what it is telling you. Take a moment and answer the following questions:
- Why do I resist taking care of myself?
- Why is it ok for me to take care of myself?
- Note anything else that comes up for you.
- Guilt, guilt, guilt – I have some pretty strong feelings on guilt, but I want to keep my language clean so I will keep the more colourful words to myself. Guilt is a useless emotion. Unless you have deeply hurt someone for no reason at all, guilt serves no purpose. It will come up in a big way for most of when we try to practice a little self-care. Maybe you feel like you aren’t doing enough and don’t deserve to take a break or the guilt comes in the form of someone else’s voice, either imagined or real. If you feel bad about being good to yourself, even in a small way, use the following statement: “I give myself permission to be good to myself for no other reason than it is important to take care of myself so that I can take care of others.” Take that guilt and blow it up in your mind’s eye. Send it packing because it has no purpose in this situation.
- It’s All About The Plan – I love a plan. I am addicted to a well laid out and executed plan. How do you plan self-care? The answer is two-fold. If you can plan the day-to-day stuff: meals, cleaning, appointments, workload, classes etc, ahead of time, you can begin to map out your time a little more efficiently. A meal-plan alone will take so much pressure off of your time (no time wasted thinking about dinner or making multiple trips to the grocery store). The planning takes you out of overwhelm and frees up not only your time but also the mental energy it takes to worry, stress and think about how you are going to get everything done. When you have a solid plan you can actually schedule in some of the things you put on your self-care list above and can release the guilt knowing that it is all getting done.
- Downsize – Do you really need to do 100 things for 100 people? Are you actively participating in the insanity by spreading yourself too thin? News Flash: as an adult, you have the freedom to choose how you spend your time and who you share your energy with. Get really honest with yourself about how you are doing that and if it something is sucking the life out of you, ask yourself why? Is it necessary? Can you let it go?
- Ask for help – Laughing at me again? Back to that tricky little monkey: guilt. You are allowed to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness but simply an acknowledgement that you are human. I often ask for support if I have come to the end of my superpowers. It took a little practice to not only ask, but then to release the guilt. I have never once been turned down when I asked for help. Try it. It’s amazing to feel supported and heard by someone.
Practicing self-care can bring up a lot of really deep emotions for people. It is an amazing opportunity to strengthen your connection to yourself. When you begin to tune into your internal compass and listen to what you need, you create trust within yourself. That internal compass is the key to drowning out the sounds of the world around you and to understanding what is truly important to you. This is the heart of what it means to become unapologetic. Practicing self-care is nothing more and nothing less than a radical expression of self-love and it will make you a happier, more balanced and joyful person.
Tell me: what do you love to do to take care of yourself? How you can you build self-care into your regular plan?
Do you need extra support? Feel free to contact me for your completely complimentary Focus Session!