Let me tell you a story, a self care story. It all began when I was having a challenging week, a really challenging week actually. I was worrying about a potential health issue I was facing, and I was torturing myself with the ‘what if’s” surrounding it.
I was a mess!
I knew the way I was thinking and acting weren’t serving me, “Sonja, come on, you know what to do in situations like this. See and feel the outcome you want. And then, live in the present, not way ahead.” These reminders surprisingly/notsurprisingly worked well;) They typically do! But after a while, I would slip back into fear mode, and back to the torturous and worrisome story I had begun my week with regarding my potential health issue.
So what did I do stop torturing myself with ‘what if’s’?
I practiced what I preach. I practiced what I teach. I practiced what I believe.
I immersed myself in extreme self care.
And no, this did not include going for a facial. Nothing against going for a facial, not at all! But I needed other types of self care, ones that would nourish me on a deeper level. Throughout the week I made the space to nurture myself and pay close attention to what my body was telling me. I did the best I could to take care of ME. And by the end of that week my health issue ‘disappeared’. Imagine that. I took such good care of my emotions, my physical body, and my mind and spirit, that my body healed itself. I want to share what I did with you, because you too, have moments and days of panic.
These are the 5 self care practices I did over and over to take care of myself as I went through my worrisome week. Please take a moment to write these 5 practices down. And the next time you go through a tough time, are experiencing physical pain, or just need a break from everything…stop. Then focus on one or more of these practices. Self care is the most important part of your day. And once you begin to practice it consistently, you’ll understand WHY.
Sonja’s 5 Self Care Practices
1. Get Grounded – Lie down on your floor for 5-10 minutes, or get out in nature and go for a quick walk, or sit in the grass, or walk on your lawn in bare feet, or get into the yoga pose shavasana, also know as dead corpse pose. Simply stated let the earth ground you. Settle yourself.
2. Move Your Body – Go for a walk, lift weights at the gym, hike in the mountains, do some stretches for your tight muscles including neck, shoulders, back, and hips, pump out some push ups on the floor in your office. Anything, just move. Moving your body helps release the negative energy that’s stuck in your body. Don’t make it hard, just move. Jump up and down for 10 seconds, easy right?
3. Get Support – Make a date with someone in your life that lifts you up, and talk it out. This touches on the previous practice of getting the worry, stress, and negative thoughts out of your head and body. Voicing your worries is really important, don’t isolate yourself or keep your fear bottled up. Let it out. Let the people around you support you. Ask for help. Learning to ask for help is one of the greatest practices you can teach yourself. People want to support you, it makes them feel good too;)
4. Change Your Story – What past/current/future story are you stuck in? For me, it was the disempowering story about the potential health issue I was facing. I knew that negative story wasn’t helping me in any way. I also know creating an empowering story would be a game changer. What positive aspects could I find in my story? How could I take the story I was telling myself from disempowering to empowering? What possibilities were available to me if I’d open my eyes to them? What possibilities could arise out of my situation if I chose to change my story?
Here’s a quick example – Let’s say colleagues always come to you at work, asking for your help, input, or guidance on their own projects/work. You feel guilty if you don’t help them, so you always stop what you’re doing and help out, even though you have your own work to do, and then get behind on it. And because of your pattern of always helping everybody else and putting your own work last, you miss a deadline at work for a big project you’ve spend a lot of time and energy on.
“Sh*t! If everyone would stop bothering me I would have met the deadline, I can’t take this anymore!”
Ok, so that’s the fuming, pissed off, disempowering story. Nothing can be resolved in that state or that story. But, if we were to create that story with empowering eyes, it might sound something like this.
“I’m an expert in my field and incredibly helpful, which means I have many people on my team that come to me for help and advice. I appreciate they trust and respect my opinions and input, it feels great to be wanted and needed! And because of this, I’ve now realized to get my own work done, I must prioritize my tasks first, and spend a certain amount of time and energy helping colleagues which I’ve decided will be a maximum of 30 minutes per day. And that feels good. So the missed deadline can be changed into an empowering story, because it gave you something valuable, it gave you clarity.
If that missed deadline never happened, you’d still be feeling pissed off about how much time you spend helping others on your team. But because of the ‘pain’ of missing the deadline, and changing the story to an empowering one, you realized where you needed to make changes, and you made them. An empowering story opens up possibilities where you thought there were none. A disempowering story on the other hand, has no room for possibility. This particular self care practice takes time, so please be gentle with yourself!
5. Focus on Your Sleep – Any challenging situation will feel worse of you aren’t sleeping well. Practice extreme self care around your sleep habits. If you aren’t sleeping long enough, start there. If you’re worrying in bed at night, find a way to stay present, perhaps reading a book or listening to a meditation. When you wake up feeling refreshed and rested you can look at your situation with clear eyes, and the energy to find solutions to the problem you’re facing.
And there you have it! These 5 practices are incredibly valuable and can change your life. As you can see, a facial was not one of my 5 self care practices. When women think about self care and what it is, many think it’s about going for facials, manicures, or other spa treatments. Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of those, I enjoy them too! Self care goes much deeper than that though.
Self care is taking care of yourself on the deepest level. It’s being in your fear/pain/worry and knowing first, it’s OK to be there, and secondly, you trust yourself to know how to bring yourself up and out of it. Self care is being able to nurture yourself and take care of your own needs including your mind, your body, and your spirit. Self care is living a holistic lifestyle on a daily basis. Self care is an art.
Would you like to become an expert at the art of self care?
I’ll teach you how. Click here to book a complimentary Strategy Session.