Tweet There’s a conversation I have with clients fairly often about seeing the signs and using them as a reminder. Like when your bladder is full, you go to the toilet. When your fuel guage is low, you go to the garage. There is no bargaining with the bladder and the fuel tank…you might keep them waiting a little while, but at some point, you are going to have to heed the message and just go to the loo. Stress, frustration, impatience, tiredness, lack of energy, irritation, lethargy and even procrastination are all the same. They are a message to … Read More
So this afternoon I was trying to work myself up to doing this newsletter…and struggling because I am super-tired and really want to sit in front of the fire reading my book. So, in true procrastination genius style, I went wandering off to read some blog posts…and found 2 that I really needed – one gave me permission to take care of myself…which made me smack my forehead and say ‘d’oh’…that’s what I need – not matchsticks to hold my eyes open, I need self-care…and b-r-e-a-t-h-e. The 2nd was about not having the time for self-care.
My response was typically pulpit bashing: SELF-CARE IS NON-NEGOTIABLE. I know only too well how difficult it can feel to squeeze in some self-care time into an already packed schedule. However, if you make it non-negotiable, and you really take care of yourself, you find you have more time. I had a discussion with some friends a few weeks ago about having so much to do and so little time, and they reminded me of a quote from the Dalai Lama – “I have so much to do today, I better meditate twice as long.” The more you have to do, the more busy your day, the more important it is to take the time to take care of yourself.
Lack of self-care is a serious time waster! When you are cared for, you can do more, better. When you’re uncared for, life is hard, you get down, ill, tired, scattered more easily. I struggled with this for YEARS until I realised one afternoon I had spent 4 hours trying to write a blog post…I was so tired, I just couldn’t focus. Once I stopped, rested and came back to it, it took 20 minutes!!!! Think you haven’t got time for self-care? Maybe you haven’t got time NOT to take care of you?
Self-care can take less time than you think. Yes, we’d all love to do yoga for 3 hours a day, bathe in bubbles for 2 hours, read for 5 hours, meditate for 2 hours…but in reality that’s unlikely, unless you live in a cave on a mountain, alone. And have your meals delivered. But for the rest of us, who have lives to fit in around our self-care routines, and obligations to meet, we have to marry self-care with realism. Most of the time when I don’t think I have the time to take care of myself, the moment I do, time seems to expand. Take today for an example – after 3 hours or so of procrastinating and NOT writing this article, I took time out to walk the dog (before it got dark, just in case of any more whizzes and bangs) and meditate for 15 minutes. I can’t say I feel like dancing and I’m overflowing with energy, but I HAVE got enough in the tank to write an article…and plenty of time to do it despite the ‘self-care hour’ I took.
In fact, taking the self-care hour is the reason I have the time…otherwise I’d have procrastinated for another hour and had even less time and more to do! So, let’s get practical for a minute. I’m a pragmatist, and while the ideal is that you take all the time you need for your self-care, if you’re not going to go from ‘no self-care’ to ‘more than enough’ (and most likely, unless you get sick, you won’t), let’s look at what is really doable. What you will actually do. How much time can you really ‘spare’ for a bit of self-care? An hour? Half an hour? 15 minutes? 10? 5? 1?
Over the years I’ve been preaching about self-care to my clients, I have come across several clients who insisted they had NO spare time in their day. For each one of them, I asked them to find 3 minutes – in 1 minute bursts. Which they all thought was pointless, but happily they trusted me, and they found that time. For one person it was a minute after the alarm went off and before the family woke up, a minute in the loo at work, and a minute in the car before driving home. For another, it was a minute while waiting for the bus to work, a minute at lunchtime, and a minute just before bed. Everyone can find 3 minutes in 1 minute bursts.
And if you can find more time than that, hap hap HAZAH! You are well on your way to feeling so cared for that you feel cradled in the arms of love! I know what you’re thinking – what the beep can you do in a minute for your self-care? Here are a few ideas: Meditate, stare out of the window (seriously, we so rarely take the time to sit and stare but it’s so soothing and lovely!), write, stretch, hold a yoga pose, dance, breathe deeply, give yourself a hand or face massage, draw/sketch, doodle, play a burst of your favourite song, read a page of a book…I could easily go on.
Here’s what happens when you take 3 minutes to take a little bit of care of yourself: You calm down, you re-prioritise, you stop long enough to realise that some things don’t actually have to be done today and others can be delegated, your body begins to relax, you get used to a bit more self-care (and if your self-care is really crap, just this little amount can make a HUGE difference), you start to feel cared for, time seems to expand, life gets a little easier so you can get more done in less time, giving you more time for self-care – and this continues to expand. The better you feel, the more you are able to give easily, the more you are able to accomplish quickly and in a more focused manner, giving you more time for self-care…so you feel even better, and the cycle expands and expands until you find yourself taking all the time you need for your self-care and feeling GREAT!
So I meant what I said – you may feel like you don’t have time for self-care, but truly, you don’t have time NOT to take great care of yourself.
– Something to Play With –
What amount of time can you spare EVERY DAY for self-care? Add at least 3 more minutes into your life of self-care every day – to make it easier for yourself, make a list of the things you could do in the time you have (it may not be ideal, but be pragmatic – some self-care is WAY better than none!). Whenever you feel able to, add more minutes into your daily self-care routine and make it a priority – remember, it is NON-NEGOTIABLE! Want to share your thoughts on this article? Please leave a comment below.
And if you need more help with self-care, remember to pick up my free ebook about self-care.
Tweet Sometimes we get stuck with our Big Dreams…we may blame it on ‘procrastination’, but it may be that we just aren’t quite sure what to do next. Ask yourself “what is the EXACT next step to take towards my Big Dream?” If you don’t know, you’re not procrastinating, you’re stuck. And this is NO BIG DEAL. Simply because if you don’t know what to do, all you need to do is to FIND OUT what to do! This time in history is a fabulous time to not know what to do – because we’ve got google! You can also … Read More
How many of us support ourselves fully, 100% of the time? Even when you’re gnarly or grumpy or lazy or procrastinating. Imagine how much easier life would be if you supported yourself 100%. Supporting yourself when you’re doing something ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ is about figuring out what’s behind it all and helping yourself move forward anyway. Maybe you’re being ‘lazy’ because you need to rest? Maybe you’re procrastinating because there is a better way or a better time to do what you’re trying to do?
To listen to this week’s podcast, click here: Supporting Yourself and Your Big Dream
(or to download to your computer, right click on the link and ‘save link as’ or ‘save target as’)
On a scale of 1-100, how much do you currently support yourself? Now move that up just a few points…what can you do to support yourself more?
You can also subscribe to this podcast on itunes here.
May all your dreams become reality.
Do you ever get the feeling that you are pushing a stone uphill? Against a herd of bison coming toward you? With your feet tied together? There are times in life when we seem to push and push and push, and yet nothing happens, nothing changes. Apart from our energy level, which visits the basement! And what do you do in response to the ‘nothing happening’?
Push harder? And keep pushing? Yes! Because if you want things to happen, you’ve go to put the hard work in, right? If we let ourselves off the hook for just a second, we will become lazy, idle, unproductive members of society. And this is a bad thing. What would you think if I told you that was absolute tosh? Would you think ‘yes, I know but I still keep pushing myself’?
There is a body of thought which says that when we stop pushing and start allowing things to happen naturally, organically, they happen faster than if we ‘push, push, push’. Not only is the happening faster, it is easier on us – there is a flow, a rhythm, an ease that is joyful. A surprising number of people know this, agree with it and ignore it! Me included on occasion! Just this week I was trying to push myself to do some work.
I was tired, couldn’t concentrate, wasn’t interested, kept being distracted, didn’t want to do it…and it still took me an hour to read the signs and move onto something else! Der. I had become very attached to doing this work – my success or failure had become tied into ‘getting this done’ (a ‘push’ attitude if ever I saw one!). As soon as I let go of pushing myself to ‘get shit done’, I actually managed to do something useful instead of being the living incarnation of resistance to pushing!
This does not mean forgetting altogether about what you want and giving up. It means stopping pushing and trying to force things to happen. It means stepping back from your challenge for a moment and finding out WHY it is so hard to do – it could be many things – there might be a better way, you might need some self care first, there might be something more important to do, you may have something to learn, something you need, something else that has to happen first. If you don’t stop pushing, you will never know if it could be easier to do what you want to do.
And if you collapse in an exhausted heap and the stone you’ve been pushing uphill runs over you, how does that get you closer to what you want? So, if you could stop pushing for a moment, enjoy your life and allow something to evolve naturally, what would change for you today?