Tuesday, October 2, 2012

5 Things I learned about self care this weekend

I teach and live by the idea that you can't give away (or teach) what you don't already have and this weekend, after a busy week of seeing coaching clients and presenting a Life Purpose by Design workshop, I could feel that self care was needed.

We've all heard the term "self care" but what does it really mean? How do you do it? How don't you do it? Here are some thoughts on what I've learned coaching clients and myself in self care:

1. It's not about buying stuff. I've heard people say to others who are having a bad day or who are feeling neglected, "you should go out and buy yourself something special." This is not self care. Buying stuff doesn't mean you're taking care of yourself it means you're spending money -  and sometimes that can even mean you're harming yourself. Buying yourself something to make yourself feel better only works for about 3 minutes. After that you're back to the feeling you started with.

It may be appropriate to buy something in the process of self care. For example if you've neglected your grooming and you need to purchase a nail polish to do your nails that is appropriate, provided you have the financial means to do so.

2. It's about listening to what you need. People usually become acutely aware of needing self care when they've been disconnected from hearing their own voice about what they need...for whatever reason. The first step in self care is to get quiet and listen  to the inner voice for what you need. It may be a nap. It may be a cup of warm tea. It may be being kind to yourself in your self talk and intentionally interrupting patterns of negative self talk. You may need to pray or meditate. Getting quiet so you can hear what you need is the place to start and then ask yourself, "What do I need to do for myself in this moment to feel better?" (If you hear "alcohol" you're listening to the wrong voice :))

One of my strategies is spending time in nature.
Here I visited my friend's horse farm in Florida.
3. Men and women experience different awareness of their needs. The more stressed a man gets the better he understands his needs and takes care of them. Evidence for this can be seen by the fact that most men have the ability to take a nap, in the middle of the day, on the couch with the kids all running around the house yelling and screaming. Most women can't. In fact, as a rule, women become more and more disconnected from what they need the more stressed they become. That is why it's important to get really quiet, sit down and refer to No 2.

4. It may take a while to feel rejuvenated. If you've gotten to the place where you're exhausted and craving self care you will probably feel depleted and weepy for no particular reason and maybe even physically weak. It's going to take a while to get back to your springy, vibrant self so be patient.

5. Consistency is key - again! Taking care of your needs is about taking responsibility for your emotional and physical health ...and not expecting others to. Having a consistent plan to do so is really smart. If you're like me with a lot of people relying on you, you should make sure to create some consistent times in the day to reconnect with yourself and ensure that you are emotionally and physically balanced and nourished. Exercise, prayer, meditation, connecting with good friends, herbal tea, healthy snacks, getting out of the office for a walk are all strategies that I use to keep myself in balance.

Do you need to learn how to care for yourself. Has this somehow gotten away from you? Are you completely at a loss as to how you might even start?
I can help you. Visit my life coaching website and sign up for a FREE CONSULTATION.

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