I am the woman who wakes up early so I can be my truest self throughout the day.
Nothing enters my system before I have time to spend with myself… besides my coffee! ☕️
I don’t check email, texts or social media. There’s no to do lists, no demands. Nobody needs me. I have no agenda, it’s simply to time to nourish myself.
This isn’t a recommendation for an early alarm. I’m sharing it as an example of how I find joy, manage overwhelm, and allow things that are deep within me to rise up gently. It’s a time when I can process thoughts and emotions, so I feel empowered and centered throughout my day and in my life overall.
My being remembers this feeling and knows that I can access my own groundedness whenever I want.
It’s one way that I take care of myself.
Somewhere we’ve got this message and conditioning about being selfless, especially as women and moms. If you take time for yourself, then you’re taking time away from others and that’s selfish. Put everyone else first, we’re taught. Figure it out on your own, we’re told.
Be a master at caring for others, managing a household, an accessible and exceptional employee, while filling all your roles without complaint and meeting society’s ideals perfectly.
But I think this conditioning encourages us to move into victimhood and shows up as:
- Martyrdom — “Only I can get all this done and I cannot ask for help.”
- Guilt — “I’m certainly not doing this right.”
- Fatalistic approach — “FML, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The irony of this to me, is that these paradigms for living are the epitome of selfishness. Martyrdom, guilt and fatalism mean that you are pre-occupied with self in a way that doesn’t actually benefit anyone. It’s the opposite of selflessness, actually.
Taking care of yourself means that you can shift the focus away from overwhelm, anxiety/stress and victimhood and stay connected to yourself.
It means that you’re making conscious decisions about your thoughts, how you’re treating yourself, what you want to believe about yourself, what your inputs are, how you want to act… how you want to live. And especially how you want to show up for yourself and others.
Having and using re-connection rituals doesn’t mean you’re selfish and self-centered. It actually means you are the expert at you and see yourself as a deliberate creator of your life.
How to take care of yourself.
What can you say no to?
Where can you get off your phone and do something analog (no screens)?
Can you choose gentle movement over sitting?
Can you take a nap/rest your eyes instead of doing one more thing?
Can you manage your thoughts and instead of telling yourself, you’re not enough, say, “you’re doing it right and I love you.”
Can you have water instead of alcohol or soda?
Can you have veggies instead of chips?
Can you breathe all the way to your belly and exhale slowly, instead of shallow, choppy breaths?
Can you cry or scream instead of numbing and lashing out?
Can you recognize the spin, the overwhelm, the anxiety and instead of ignoring or barreling through it, you ask yourself:
What do I need right now?
What is the story I’m telling myself about this?
What REALLY matters?
Just as you would comfort and encourage a dear friend or a child, it’s possible to hold your own self in a loving embrace.
Every week, I send out a check in form to my clients, normally we celebrate wins and discuss goals and what we’re focusing on during the upcoming week. But the swirl of the holidays is upon us (and I haven’t talked to one person who isn’t feeling an heightened level of stress), so I asked them to choose one thing per day that was about taking care of themselves.
It was a reminder to not give up on the basics because there’s so much going on. Doing something to nourish yourself doesn’t have to take hours — it can be 5 mins.
I encouraged them to look through this list and pick out something for every day. This is called “forward thinking, backwards planning.” You can be sure things will not go as you thought, but having an outline will give you an anchor to come back to.
Here’s a challenge — how can you take care of yourself?
Here are a few more examples… click and hold to save graphic to your phone! You’ll see that pretty much everything in this email is not something you have to purchase. “Self-care” has been commoditized. You don’t need to buy anything fancy… it’s accessible to you right now.
- 3 mins of box breathing (in 4 counts, hold 4 counts, out 4 counts, hold 4 counts)
- 70-100 oz of water
- Eat protein for breakfast or first meal (not a salad or just fruit)
- Take a nap in the afternoon or rest your eyes for 5 mins
- Stretching or mobility – https://youtu.be/UG6-hDbP7SY
- Go for a walk; preferably outside
- Journal (prompt: what in me is asking for acceptance? write out the evidence that you can handle your life and remind yourself that it is safe for you to have what you want)
- Skip alcohol today
- Meditation for 5 mins (breath, close your eyes and repeat “May I be happy. May I be at peace. May I be filled with lovingkindess.” first think of yourself, then of others, then expand out)
- Eat only real food — no added sugar or processed foods
- Meditation about anxiety – https://insighttimer.com/worthystokes/guided-meditations/heartmind-meditation-for-healing-anxiety
- Color or make art
- Sit on the floor and pet your dog for 5-10 mins (set a time)
- Write out 10 things you feel grateful for (people or experiences)
- Celebrate wins (things you did or created)
- Read something that lifts you up
- Have a dance party
- Ask for help with something
- Say no if it’s something you don’t want to do
- Get off your phone before bedtime; no social media or scrolling
- Do something for 5 mins that you’ve been procrastinating
- Send someone a text or call them and tell them you love them
- Every time you go past a mirror, smile at yourself and give yourself a compliment
Please note, this message is not meant to give you more to do. Notice I use the word INSTEAD, not in addition to. This list isn’t one more weapon to prove how you’re doing everything wrong (essentially what marketing is, right?). Rather it is invitation to let go of other things. It’s an encouragement to step away from the outside and look inside for your own congruence and acceptance.
I can’t tell you what that looks like for you. If you want a partner in this process of becoming a deliberate creator of your life, there are three ways to work with me… personal training at Freedom Fitness; creating Your Vitality Plan (a mini-coaching program); or my 6 month 1:1 virtual exercise and nutrition program. If you’re curious about any of these, contact me and we can see if it’s the right time.
May you take exquisite care of yourself, especially during the holidays. May you never give up on yourself. May you look in the mirror and say, “You’re doing it right and I love you.”
P.S. If you think this message is beneficial, please share with a friend! 🥰