We know we should do it, we know it's good for us, but it can be a struggle to stick to a routine. If you’re like me with the gym, you have great intentions. You want all the benefits of feeling supple and strong, but trust me, without a personal trainer (PT) it ain't happening! With a PT once a week, knowing that I have that routine set out for me, I’m clearer and confident that I can actually do it and I get it done!
When I am left to my own devices I slip up and forget, get to the end of the week and realise - yet again - I’ve hardly done any of the things I wanted to do that make me feel great. I’ll spend another week wishing I had done more and feeling guilty for not having stuck to it.
What I’ve discovered on my own selfcare journey, is the things that I like to do aren't always the best for me and things I might be slightly less keen on, are the things that can have the most impact.
Selfcare Superpower Mindset
What many people don't realise, especially women, is Selfcare is:
1) a mindset
2) a lifestyle choice
3) is as unique as the individual themselves.
To master your selfcare you need to make a decision to make it part of your lifestyle. Does that mean selfcare everyday? Not for everyone. Does it mean pampering every week? Not necessarily. Does it mean deep diving into your feelings every second? Not at all. It is about deciding to make it a priority, just like you would any other life change like healthy eating or fitness training.
Disrupt Your Thinking
We have been programmed to nurture, prioritise our work and the needs of others. This programming happens very early on, through school, in our homes, from our families, in our work and in society as a whole. It’s subtle and we are trained and rewarded for putting all those things at the top of the list above ourselves. We are not externally recognised when we prioritise ourselves. There is no positive feedback from the outside world when we do us. When we help others or work conscientiously, ticking all those boxes, we indirectly get positive feedback for it. Thank yous reinforce to us we did a good job!
I want to change that - disrupt that thinking - and openly celebrate women taking care of themselves. As women move up the SelfCare levels they get more comfortable self celebrating their own selfcare. Sharing it proudly and making it a thing that is as acceptable as going out. Like ‘So what are you up to this weekend?’ ‘Oh I’m having a selfcare weekend, thanks for asking!
Power up Your Levels
There are 4 stages or levels to selfcare. It’s a gauge I use with clients so we can work together to top up their superpower selfcare levels and use tools to keep them where it works best.
LEVEL 1 - Serious Selfcare You know what you need and you are doing it! You know what works and how to implement it.
LEVEL 2 - Sprinkly Selfcare People float between this level and the level below. Selfcare is happening at times in certain areas.
LEVEL 3 - Sparse Selfcare People slip into this level when stress cranks up. When our wellbeing slips further down the list.
LEVEL 4 - Self Neglect The most challenging level because you have depleted all your reserves and overwhelm kicks in. It can be fixed with regular check-ins. You can limit the amount of time you spend here.
People usually list healthy eating and exercise, rest, pampering and inner work as forms of selfcare and although they are, I invite you to switch things up and make Selfcare an entity in its own right, alongside any other lifestyle choice you need to make for better living. Selfcare is up there with nutrition, exercise, sleep or even stopping smoking. Selfcare should be seen with the same level of decision making, taught in schools, considered as part of an organisation's offerings. Because at the end of the day we are our lifestyles.
What we chose to do with our time and how we spend our days, what we put inside our bodies and how we respect our boundaries are all a reflection on how we love ourselves. If I were to ask you to look at your lifestyle and how it reflects how you love yourself...does it allow you to function at your optimum? Does it put a positive spin on things? Are you able to deal with things in a reflective way and access your coping mechanisms effectively? What would you say?
Busyness is a Trickster
We are always interrupted by busyness, by others and by life’s responsibilities. So it’s no wonder we struggle to stay on top of our needs as well. The best we often hope for is the occasional treat. As busy women we love being busy and actually thrive on achievement. We like getting stuff done, ticking those lists, making that plan and executing it well. We love the buzz of doing. Most of us balance this by getting all the stuff we need to get done and reward ourselves with a self care activity at the end. Which is good but, it’s even better to have more of what makes us function fabulously as we go along the way right!?
In his book, ‘The 4 hour Week’ the author, Timm Ferris says, “I’ve seen it too many times with my own eyes, people working their whole life towards retirement, where they think they will do all the things they dreamed of doing. Only to get to retirement and get ill or not have the energy or ability to do the stuff on their bucket list ”. He says we should have mini retirement along the way. I totally agree, have mini selfcare moments along the way, not just at the end.
Meditation Mind Power
Interruptions are the catalyst for SelfCarelessness. Given half a chance, we’d be brilliant at taking care of ourselves, perfectly just focussing ourselves, we are the experts on ourselves when we have no distractions. However, life is relational and ‘no women is an island’ we are designed to interact. In our connections around our daily lives, where we commute, work with, live alone and connect with others, we are in a constant dance of ying and yang, giving and taking. Forever finding that balance of them and us.
Inner SelfCare needs space and time to flow and also permission to be in the moment, while fully immersed. I love mediation because it trains the brain to be immersive and in the moment, you can create calm wherever, whenever. It doesn't have to be long, but it does have to be intentional - it’s a very handy skill!
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Selfcare is your Superpower - Grab your cape and let’s go!
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