Given that I am in the midst of dealing with various medical issues related to my pregnancy, I thought it appropriate to write a blog about self-care.
When I mention self-care or talk about wellness with people, they immediately think of one of two things: Eating and Exercise.
I agree that those two aspects of self-care are very important, and definitely support the physical side of our self-care, but what about the mental and emotional side of self-care?
Here are 3 other facets of self-care that I think are just as important and that I think we need to focus on more often. Kind of like the recommendation that we exercise 5 times a week. I think we need to engage in these 3 emotional facets of self-care at least 5 times a week too,
For me, peace is about tranquility of my environment and tranquility of my mind. It’s time when I am not listening to too much external or internal noise. I find peace when I am lying in bed in the morning after just walking up, when I am sitting in the garden doing nothing much and thinking about nothing much. It’s when I make a decision and a calm washes over me because it just feels right. It’s when I know that I am living in integrity--when my actions and values are aligned.
Peace for me is not reading a book, or watching TV. Sure those are pleasurable moments, and seemingly peaceful, but they don’t actually bring me peace because my mind is working too hard.
Where do you find peace? Could you find it more often? How?
Play might not seem like it fits within self-care, but I think it does. When we give ourselves opportunities to play, we lessen our stress levels, we engage our reward systems in our brain, and we lose track of time.
Play doesn’t necessarily mean “playing” anything. Sometimes when we engage in what is commonly known as “play” it can feel like work.
Play is about losing yourself in something you love. Play could mean going hiking. Play could mean reading a good book. Play could be painting. Play could be being with people you love.
Whatever brings you pleasure, brings you joy, and makes you feel alive is play in my mind.
Are you playing enough? If not, how can you incorporate more play into your life.
Connection is another aspect of self-care that I think we neglect too often. We get so caught up in the day to day goings on of our lives, that we forget to reach out to the people we care about. We forget how much love and connection are an integral part of our lives on an emotional level (even for introverts.)
Most of us are in connection with others on a regular basis, but I am talking about connection which has no purpose--not a business meeting, or a transaction at the store. I mean a real, genuine, “I care about you and I like spending time with you” connection.
I urge you to think about those people in your life that make you laugh out loud. The ones that you love spending time with. How often do you see them? What would your life be like if you spent even more time with them?
Self care is more than just eating well, exercising often, and sleeping 8 hours a night.
Self-care is about taking care of your whole being, including your body, mind, and spirit.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
Last week I wrote to you about how mean people aren’t as bad as you think. I talked about how all of us have defense mechanisms that kick in when we are feeling ashamed, unworthy, anxious, afraid, etc. These defense mechanisms protect our ego from being hurt, and it often happens automatically.
This week, I thought we could explore our own defense mechanisms, rather than talk about others.
To illustrate my point, I am going to introduce you to my three defense mechanisms:
So, you may be wondering why my defense mechanisms have names?
This is an exercise that I did with my own Life Coach before I became a coach, but have since learned about it’s importance.
When we can name, or give a personality, to parts of ourselves that may not always be in our best interest, we can set them apart from our whole self. They cease to be who we are, but more of a small character that lives within us and sometimes comes forth.
When we can name our defense mechanisms, we can better recognize them when they kick in, and we can better reign them in. “Name it to tame it.” Remember, your defense mechanisms come forth when your ego needs protecting, but your ego isn’t you.
When these mechanisms kick in, they disconnect us from others, and cause us to act in a way that may not align with our core values or our commitments.
Last week I talked about how Brené Brown qualifies these defense mechanisms in three ways:
So, let’s try this with you. Use these questions to start thinking about your defense mechanisms.
Now that you have some images in your mind, what defense mechanisms come out to play when? Or better yet, what circumstances trigger which defense mechanisms?
What could you name your defense mechanisms? What personalities do they have?
I like to play around with words and use alliteration, so if that works for you, great. The key is to make them memorable. I had their names on post-it notes around my bedroom and office for awhile, until I could relate to them, but also see them from a macro-view.
They are a small part of me, but not me.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
Before I get into this, I want to get clear on one thing.
We are emotional beings who can sometimes be rational.
Some of you might not agree with that statement, but it is true. When things happen that trigger our emotional side, we cease to be rational human beings anymore. We become our emotions and they define our actions. We become reactive, rather than responsive. It’s like our brains stop working.
Someone was bitchy, vicious, or wicked to you and you don’t understand why. Let me explain.
We all have defense mechanisms that kick in when we are triggered by something and those triggers are different for all of us. Most of the time those triggers land us in a place where we feel ashamed.
We are feeling unworthy. We are feeling incomplete. We are feeling imperfect. And we are feeling ashamed.
Our defense mechanisms kick in to protect us from that feeling.
If you were to look up “defense mechanisms” on the web, you would probably come up with a list of a dozen or more.
I am going to simplify things for you, instead, and share with you Brené Brown’s take on defense mechanisms, or as she calls them “shields.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Can you think of times when you have done any of these three? Depending on the context, I guarantee that you have done all three at some point in your life.
So has the person who hurt you.
When someone hurts us, it is probably not them doing the hurting, but their ego. There is shame lurking under the surface and they don’t know how to deal with it rationally, so one of their defense mechanisms kicks in and does it for them.
The put up a wall, they play the martyr, or they take you down verbally, or even physically.
Now, you have a choice. You can let their shame trigger your shame and your defense mechanisms, or you can open your heart and find some compassion.
And when I say compassion, I don’t mean acceptance. I am not saying for you to roll over and take it. I am saying to look at it from a wider perspective.
Their intent was to protect themselves and in doing so they did hurt you.
Sometimes we try to take down other people, so that we can feel better about ourselves. And most likely, we don’t even understand why we did what we did. That’s the problem with our ego--it reacts emotionally, not rationally.
So ask yourself these questions:
The fact of the matter is that hurting people hurt others.
Despite your hurt, you can break the cycle, but it takes awareness and courage.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
When I used to be an avid climber, I would push myself to try really hard routes, and would inevitably get to a place where I would say, “I can’t finish. Bring me down.”
In those moments, I was unsure if I truly couldn’t finish the route because it was physically too challenging, or if psychologically, I couldn’t finish the route because I didn’t want to keep going.
That is the difficulty with the phrase “I can’t”. We often throw it around without thinking of the true meaning.
From my perspective, when you “can’t” do something, it means you are physically unable to do it. I can’t jump 5 feet in the air. I can’t fly. I can’t swim underwater for 10 minutes without oxygen.
Too often, though, we say “I can’t” when we really mean “I won’t.”
“I can’t quit my job,” really means “I won’t quit my job.”
“I can’t ask for a raise,” really means “I won’t ask for a raise.”
“I can’t leave my husband,” really means “I won’t leave my husband.”
“I can’t say no,” really means “I won’t say no.”
You could physically do all these things, but you are choosing not to. When we think in terms of “I won’t” instead of “I can’t” it gets us out of the role of victim or martyr and puts us back in the driver’s seat. It becomes a choice rather than an imposition.
Now, I understand that many times you believe that you can’t do something. Quitting a job is one example that I come across quite often with people or clients. Quitting an unfulfilling job has a host of consequences that go with it, especially if you don’t have another job to go to. It completely shifts your financial situation, which will feel like something you “can’t” do. I get it.
So instead of thinking of not be able to quit your job, think of it in terms of “I won’t” and then start thinking of what you can do. You can start sending out your resume. You can set boundaries with your current boss, so you aren’t working such long hours. You can stop going to meetings with toxic co-workers. Etc.,.
When we shift out of “I can’t” and think in terms of what we can do, we shift the power back to ourselves.
Maybe you feel like you can’t ask for a raise, so what can you do?
Maybe you feel like you can’t leave your husband, so what can you do?
Maybe you feel like you can’t say no, so what can you do
Maybe you feel like you can’t find time to exercise, so what can you do?
Don't let the "cant's" bully you around. Instead be powered by the "cans."
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.