Are you done hearing the term “self-care” because you are doing all the “things” but not really feeling any better? You choked down the green juice in the morning, downloaded your favorite meditation app, and scheduled your exercise. And you never miss a get-together with girlfriends (click here for the Top Ten Coffee Houses in Phoenix). And yet, you don’t actually feel better? Some moms are actually feeling worse because they’re investing so much time, energy, and money into activities that are supposed to make them feel better, but don’t. You can change this by focusing 15 minutes of your self-care efforts on 3 areas that will help you get to the root of what’s causing you to feel out of sorts.
Self-Care Guilt Cycle
If your self-care efforts make you feel guilty, depressed, or resentful, then you are probably trapped in the self-care guilt cycle. The problem is that while exercise, massages, coffees, and mani/pedis feel good, they don’t actually fix the real cause of the stress and tension. This is why you feel so great during your self-care moment, but as soon as you leave, the feelings of stress, annoyance, and frustration show up again. So, then you spend more time, energy, and money trying to feel better with more self-care. It’s not your fault. The self-care industry rarely shows us how to actually tackle the source of the stress and tension in our lives. The reason this cycle happens is that you are not incorporating the three most critical components of true self-care, which are your mind, body, and heart. For example, if your mind rehashes a stressful situation while you are exercising then your body doesn’t get the recuperation it needs. Or, if you go out with your friends to reconnect and realize if you’re honest with yourself, it’s really a distraction from the stress of your daily life, then your mind and heart can’t recharge.
But here’s how you can break the cycle in 15 minutes.
Spend just 5 minutes focusing on what’s going on in your mind, your body, and your heart, so you can start to shift and heal the sources of tension and stress.
Your mind is powerful and by paying attention to what we say to ourselves, we can uncover emotions and patterns of thinking that are not helping us feel great. You can completely change how you are feeling by changing the way you think. Here are some activities you can try for five minutes and see how your mind feels afterward:
- If you tend to react rather than respond, start by paying attention to your feelings. Naming emotions decreases their power over your thinking, and then you can decide how you want to respond.
- Read ten pages in an inspirational or healing book.
- Look in the mirror and say five positive affirmations while keeping eye contact with yourself. This is a simple but powerful form of self-love.
We all know that exercise is good for our mood, but many of us only think about our bodies for the few minutes a day we’re working out. Checking in with your bodies for five minutes a day can have a huge impact on how you feel.
- Do a five-minute yoga, stretch, or tai chi video
- Follow a breathing routine to deeply oxygenate your body
- Use muscle testing to let your body tell you what it needs
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Time with our own hearts often gets set aside when time is tight and we stay in ‘doing’ mode. Filling your own cup enables us to continue to give to others while not being depleted ourselves.
- Write a gratitude list
- Visualize the future that you want and see yourself in it
- Listen to your favorite song and sing at the top of your lungs while you dance
Self-care activities that heal us positively impact everyone around us – we show up differently, make different choices, and respond differently. Now, when you show up for your girlfriends, you can be fully present and enjoy their companionship. Imagine how great it will feel to have your needs met so that you no longer yell at your kids, slam the door in frustration, or feel as though you need an extra-large glass of wine just to survive the night. Instead, you’ll be able to stay calm. You’ll have clarity on how you want to respond to situations. And you’ll make decisions from a place of love.
If you are interested in any specific practices or recommendations for true self-care or have ones that you love to share, please comment below. Let us know how it goes!