First off, my apologies for not posting anything for the past few weeks. For the past several months, both my husband and I have been worried about and dealing with our parents’ illnesses. In the past two weeks, my husband Kevin lost both of his parents just eight days apart from each other.
So needless to say, most of all the other things that we all spend our time on have come to a halt. You find out very quickly that doing this or being there doesn’t really matter. That your business can actually operate without you, and all those emails can go without response.
The toll that the ongoing emotional roller coaster puts on your mind, body and spirit does eventually catch up with you — and when you combine the overall lack of sleep when tough times hit you, it eventually starts to make a mark.
So this week’s Resiliency Essential is all about Self-Care, and because my family and especially my husband and his siblings need it, I am writing about Extreme Self-Care.
Basic self-care is one of those essentials that gets put on the back-burner because we view it as pampering. Only allowed when we have earned it, burnt out or like now, realize there is NOTHING left in the tank.
What if we actually looked at self-care the same way we view brushing our teeth, washing our hands, getting an annual check-up? It’s just as important as good nutrition, drinking water and getting fresh air.
Well, everything I just mentioned is self-care. But back to Extreme Self-Care, because when YOUR Cup is empty, you need to take a few more deliberate and mindful steps to start to fill that cup back up again. Here are some Extreme Self-Care suggestions to try this week.
Lets face it, self-care is a touchy subject. That’s because our society largely views it as selfish, slothful and overly indulgent.
Yet, it’s anything but. Taking good care of yourself not only makes your life more fulfilling and contributes to your well-being, but it also extends to others.
In The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl Richardson provides a variety of nurturing and empowering activities for readers to try. Below are three of them.
1. Discover when, where, why and how you feel deprived.
First, it’s important to figure out where you feel deprived or depleted in your life. From there, you have a good idea on how best to approach your self-care. Richardson suggests asking yourself these key questions:
Where do I feel deprived?
What do I need more of right now?
What do I need less of?
What do I want right now?
What am I yearning for?
Who or what is causing me to feel resentful and why?
What am I starving for?
Be specific with your responses.
As Richardson writes in her book, instead of saying “I feel deprived because I have no time to myself,” you might say, “I feel deprived of solitary, uninterrupted time away from my children and husband, which allows me to do something just for me, such as read a good novel, have lunch with a friend, or take a quiet bath.”
2. Find your own rhythm and routine.
Routine isn’t boring. Rather, routine gives our lives stability, security, safety and serenity. And routine is rejuvenating. (Think of uplifting routines like getting enough sleep, participating in physical activities you enjoy and having a date night with your spouse or a girls’ or guys’ day out.)
To develop your own rhythm and routine, Richardson suggests asking yourself this powerful question: “What one routine could I put into place this month that would improve my life the most?”
Once you’ve named the routine, write it down on an index card. Then think of how you’ll schedule it into your life for the next 30 days. After a week of engaging in your new routine, consider if you feel more relaxed and healthier and less overwhelmed.
3. Create an “absolute-no list.”
Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you do. This list represents the things that you refuse to tolerate in your life. The ultimate goal, Richardson says, is to create a list that “makes you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your best self.”
She posted what some people she knows put on their lists, and here are some great examples:
- Not rushing
- Not using credit cards unless you can pay them off fully at the end of the month
- Not keeping anything that you don’t love or need
- Not answering the phone during dinner
- Not participating in gossip.
According to Richardson, create your own list by “looking for those activities you no longer do, no longer want to do, or would like to give up at some point in the future.”
Also, she says to pay attention to the things that frustrate you. For instance, maybe you’re tired of volunteering for organizations that aren’t very organized, she says. Use that for your list! So you might write the following, according to Richardson: “I no longer volunteer for any organization that doesn’t have a concrete vision, plan and sufficient staffing.”
When creating your list, it also helps to pay attention to your body. When do you typically feel tension, tightness or aching? This might be a hint that this activity needs to go on your list.
Post your list in a visible place, and read through it every day.
It is just as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you DO want.
Self-care takes practice. At first it might seem awkward to say no to something or someone. At first, you might feel guilty for taking time for yourself. But with practice, it’ll become more natural and automatic. And you’ll notice that you feel a whole lot more fulfilled.