The Catch 22 of Change

I came across this super sweet blog post today via Twitter.  (I just love how twitter brings me new things I’d never find on my own—thanks, Twitter!) Describing therapy as a “catch 22” is a very accurate description.  I mean let’s face it: Therapy works because it is different. It is a change. It is doing something different.     I can totally get how this can feel like a catch 22.  As living beings we’re drawn to homeostasis, to consistency, to stability, to mastery.  We wanna know how our day is going to go, where to get the best cup of coffee, how to succeed at work, how to create relationships we enjoy. We want steadiness, safety, and security. But here’s the thing– everything, absolutely everything, changes at some point. So putting all our focus on stability ends up leaving us ridged, unbendable, and in-adaptable and ultimately this is what creates distress. Learning and mastering flexibility, adaptability, and creating our own systems, processes, methods for coping with change, is change.  Is different.  Is growth.  Is where stability, safety, and security comes from. We can certainly call this a catch 22- in a lot of ways it really is.  But without this catch 22, we’re just doing more of the same, and therefore, end up with more of the same. We have to change, in order to experience something different. Where are you avoiding this catch 22 in your life?  Where are you holding onto old beliefs, definitions, patterns that are leaving you with more of the same? Have you considered that doing something new– something you wouldn’t normally do, that your family doesn’t do, that you’ve never done before– may be exactly what you need?

5 Tips for Overcoming The-End-of-Holiday-Blues

  Happy New Year! If you are anything like me, no matter how much you were looking forward to the new year, there’s always a bit of blues that comes with saying goodbye to another holiday season.  Life returning to “normal” sounds so good, and yet, is so uncomfortable– and if I’m totally honest, a bit depressing. Over the years I’ve come up with some tried and true strategies and routines that help me combat those end-of-holiday-blues. Here’s my top 5: 1. Do something to celebrate the putting away of holiday decor. We all have great memories of putting out the holiday decorations, right? Music, warm drinks, family, making our homes feel cozy.  Well, do something like this to celebrate the putting away of the same decorations.  Plan a special dinner. Listen to some favorite tunes.  Watch your favorite non-holiday movie.  Doesn’t matter what it is, just something that makes you feel good that your house it back to normal and helps you look forward to that day each year. 2. Plan at least one vacation When I had my first job out of college, we went from Christmas until Memorial Day without another paid day off.  Ugh, it was always so depressing to look at the calendar 6 months out and not see any time off.  Instead, use January as a time to set up some vacation time for yourself.  Even if it’s as simple as adding a mental health day to your schedule, or planning a weekend get away, or noting when a movie you are excited to see is coming out {Catching Fire expected release date: 11/22/13}.  It doesn’t matter what it is, or how simple it is, just get somethings on the calendar that you are looking forward to– before Memorial Day! 3. Pick a (or many) random holiday(s) to celebrate Between January and March there are all kinds of “random” events that make perfect holiday’s to celebrate.  The super bowl, Valentine’s day, President’s day, St. Patty’s Day are all great excuses to plan a dinner party, happy hour, game night, or pot luck. You don’t have be super into the particular holiday– it just gives ya a reason to do something fun with the people you care about. (I couldn’t tell you who has played in, or won, the super bowl the last 5 years but I know which chili recipe I can’t wait to have again on 2/3/13!) 4. Reflect over your past year & Name it There’s a reason that resolutions are tied to the new year.  Reflecting back over our past year is a very nice way to remember both the good and the not so good we’ve been through, remember how far we’ve come, give thanks for the successes we’ve had, while getting clearer about what we want going forward.  One of my favorite ways to do this is by naming the past year.  Some sort of funny endearing name that will help you reflect back on your year with humor and appreciation while at the same time reminding yourself it is over. For me, 2012 is the year of “Fear.”  2011 was the year of “Relaxation for Dummies.”  You get the point. 5. Make positive inner-peace focused resolutions We’ve all done the whole “I will go to the gym 14 times a week and not eat a carb for 6 months” type of resolution in the past.  And how does that usually work out for ya?  Instead, focus on what you’d like to feel, experience, understand, foster within yourself when setting resolutions.   Take some time, sit down, and really think about how you felt last year, how you feel now, and want to feel next year.  Don’t worry about what you want to do– that will come if you start by focusing on, and getting clear about, how you want to feel.  Then, each day when making decisions, you can ask yourself, “Will _______ help me feel how I want to feel?”  I think you’ll find it’s a whole new way of going about the old resolution game.

Self-Esteem’s Nemesis: “Deserve”

  If I could give only one piece of insight to a person asking me about Self-Esteem and Self-Worth it would be this:  Swap the word “deserve” for “worth” in your vocabulary. It’s a simple distinction verbally, and yet within our amazing mind’s and bodies, the difference is like night and day.

The Danger of “Deserve” 

When we say we deserve something, no matter what “it” is, what we are really saying is that we’ve done something to earn said “it.”  Literally.  The dictionary defines deserve as: [verb] “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)” Basically, when we use the word “deserve” we’re are teaching our bodies, and our minds, that our worth comes from the things we do.  The way we act.  The choices we make. The amount we give. It sets up a sort of quid pro quo within ourselves, that our value is based on giving and then receiving.  That our value exists only in relation to other external things and/or people.  That we have to give in order to have worth, and that our worth is measured by what we get back.  In other words, we can give until we are empty, homeless, exhausted, totally depleted and if we don’t get back something that fills us up, makes us feel valuable, or is equal to the amount we’ve given then our internal belief becomes that we haven’t worked hard enough, we haven’t earned our value, and therefore we have no worth. Scary, right?!

The Value in “Worth”

On the other hand, when we say we are “worth” something, we are saying to our minds and bodies that we, beautiful, flawed, unique, authentic us- have value, and we are worth said it. Check out the definition for worth: [adjective] 1. are equal to particular amount 2. important enough to justify something Do ya see the difference? When we are worth something, we are “important enough to justify” it.  We get to have said it because we. are. valuable.  We, us, who we are just because we are alive, have value.  We are important.  We matter. We are worth being treated with respect. We are worth having nice things happen to us. We are worth being paid attention to.

We are worth being loved.

We are worthy of love from ourselves.  From our families.  From life.  We, just as we are, not because of what we do, are worth love. So, start Today.  Start the process of learning to see your value by removing the word “deserve” from your vocabulary, and embracing your worth.  You, yes YOU, are important enough to justify this swap. You matter.  You are worth love.    

Self-Esteem: Learning to Love Ourselves

  While poking around Twitter this weekend, I came across this question directed at @DeepakChopra: “How do you make yourself believe that you are worthy ? X” ~@WamserC First let me say, I do not know, personally or via twitter, @WamserC so I can’t speak to what she meant by this question.  And, I am in no way shape or form trying to assume what she meant by this question.  I am simply sharing my personal reaction to stumbling upon such a profound question.  The simplest answer to this HUGE question is this: You can’t.  You cannot make yourself believe that you are worthy. Self-Worth is not about willpower, disciple, or working harder.  Self-Worth is about love.  It’s about compassion.  It’s the relationship we have with ourselves.

Creating a Loving Relationship

What makes a loving relationship?  Ever considered this before? Does a loving relationship appear out of thin air?  Or is it something that we cultivate, nurture, put time and energy into?  For most of us, it’s the latter.  Now yes, there may be an initial *spark,* something that fuels the desire to get to know this person better; but it’s the getting to know the person that creates, and fortifies, the relationship, not the initial spark. It’s discovering all the things we have in common with someone, the things we admire about them, the way they comfort us, support us, make us feel valued.  It’s uncovering the ways, and reasons, that we respect them, getting to know their insecurities, understanding what their life has been like and how they’ve ended up here, at this moment in time, as this person that solidifies our relationship with them…. that reveals their value to us, and makes their worth so crystal clear to us.

So why do we think it would be any different for learning to recognize our own Self-Worth?

Learning to Love Ourselves

We’d never dream of judging, loathing, yelling at, or putting down someone we want to have a relationship with.  Yet, for most of us, this- judging, loathing, criticizing- is exactly how we try to make ourselves see our own Self-Worth. We try (desperately at times) to shame ourselves into seeing our beauty.  How many happy relationships do you have that are based on shame? Learning to treat ourselves with the same respect, curiosity, and compassion we treat other people with is how we begin to reconnect with our Self-Worth. We begin to feel worth-it when we treat ourselves as worth-it. In other words, we learn to believe that we are worthy when we stop trying to shame ourselves into believing we are worthy, or make ourselves believe we have worth, and start getting to know ourselves. The very act of getting curious about us, about our experience, and our unsureness of our Self-Worth is showing ourselves compassion.  Is creating a loving relationship with ourselves.  Is valuing ourselves.  Is how we begin to feel our Self-Worth.  And once we feel our Self-Worth, believing it is effortless.

Self-Esteem: Seeing Our Barricades as Beautiful

-mcb “Most of us spend our lives protecting ourselves from losses that have already happened.” ~Geneen Roth I love this quote!  The truth of it just cuts me to my core.  We all do this.  Every single one of us. And yet, this pattern, this defense mechanism, leaves none of us feeling safe, fulfilled, or loved. The moments, minutes, years, and decades we spend trying to protect ourselves from hurts we’ve experienced in our pasts mean we are not able to focus on, connect with, and let in all the good, all the love, that surrounds us in the now.  It keeps us reliving, over and over again, the hurts of our past. At points in our lives, building walls around our hearts in hopes of shielding ourselves from heartache may feel like our only option, and truth be told, at points, it is. How we look at, and understand, this defense mechanism of barricade building determines if it’s helpful or hurtful to us in the long run.

Beautiful Barricades

Now I know that your first response to this is most likely, “This building walls thing is something I am doing wrong.  If I had better Self-Esteem I wouldn’t need to build walls around myself.”  Right?  Wrong!  Constructing barricades to protect ourselves is a loving response that our body does instinctively. The act of creating barricades is Self-Esteem. See there’s this whole part of our brain that’s only job, only purpose for existing, is to keep us safe.   It’s like the biggest, most elaborate, fastest processing filing system ever invented.  I like to picture it as a little guy (or girl) living in my brain literally doing nothing but taking in information and putting it into “Safe” or “Unsafe” categories. To keep things running smoothly, and keep up with the necessary pace, the little dude created a system so that like things are filed together or associated.   With me so far? So, when new information, especially emotional, visceral, and physical information enter our brain’s “inbox” our little dude checks to see if it feels like something we’ve experienced before, or reminds us on an emotional level of something that’s happened to us in the past. If so, he stamps the new the information with “safe” or “unsafe” based on the past, not necessarily based on what is currently happening.  This system of associating like experiences is the only process this little dude knows.  With the amount of information rushing his inbox, this is his way of not letting things slip through the cracks. It’s his way of saying, “Hey, watch out!  Did you see that potential iceberg ahead?” It’s his way of protecting us. It’s the single most loving thing that we do for ourselves. Period.

OK, so now what?

If you are anything like me, or everyone I’ve ever had this conversation with, your response to this new information is something like, “OK, so now what do I do? How do I make it stop?” The intriguing part, (why I absolutely love about my job, BTW)… asking these very questions is your little dude working hard to figure out if this information should be marked “safe” or “unsafe.” It’s like he received something unfamiliar in his inbox, and he’s got 1 second to stamp it and file it away.  He’s activated.  He wants desperately to know if he needs to warn you.  He doesn’t want to let you down, or leave you unprotected.  So it’s his nerves, his hurry up and figure this out that we end up experiencing and leads us to jump to the “now what” questions. This is how amazingly hard our little dude works!  Everything, absolutely everything that happens to us, goes through his inbox.  And if we don’t realize it, if don’t pay attention to him, then he has no choice but to associate more and more things into the “Unsafe” category- because he loves us.

Learn to Embrace Your “Little Dude”

The first and most important step in changing this lighting fast process is simply embracing our little dude. Learning about, understanding, and acknowledging our “little dude” is how we learn to love the parts of us that might have been a source of frustration at times.  It’s how we learn to move beyond the hurts of our past. It’s also how we reconnect with our Self-Worth. Acknowledging that there is, in fact, this little dude working away to keep us safe, is the only way that we can start to work with him, begin to take things off his plate, and start a new association file. When we work with him we are able to slow the process down, and review each thing entering our/his “inbox” with care and uniqueness.  This way, when something comes in that reminds us of a hurt from our past, something that already happened, we can review what is currently happening, and our current level of safety, versus associating it with the wounds of our past.  It may feel the same, or remind us of a past loss, but when we slow down and look at the current information separately we may find that we are completely safe now.  That we are blocking something good from coming in, because we are protecting ourselves from the past. Now, there may have to be conversations with our little dude as we undertake this new process.  We may have to reassure him, sometimes over and over again, that although this reminds us of the past, it is not the past, so it’s OK to label the new event as “safe.” Again, because he loves us, and wants to protect us, he’s all about associating more and more with our “unsafe” file.  We, our conscious self, our core self, are the only one’s with the power of veto.  We alone are the only one who can work with him to reorganize the process of protection.

Accept Not Judge

This can’t be done though judgement.  Judgement is only going to make him feel under attack, and pull up that huge “unsafe” file he’s been working on. The only way to begin to work with him is to acknowledge him.  Love him.  See his work as a loving response.  A protective response.  A beautiful barricade. Then, and only then, can we start the process of organization. Working with him, loving him, appreciating him, is how we begin to let the now happen. It’s how we stop protecting ourselves from what has already happened, which leaves us isolated from the good that happening now, and how we begin to let light and love shine in; and, my friends, this is how we reconnect with our core self.    

Self-Esteem Lessons via Writer’s Block

Arnett Gill

I have been struggling with a HORRIBLE case of writer’s block. 

Shocking, I know, as I this is my first blog post in 2012. {She says with total sarcasm}  Now I know, and expect, writer’s block to rear it’s ugly head form time to time… it’s part of the gig.  What makes this particular bout of blockage so bizarre is that I’ve been so excited to get back to my poor neglected blog. I’ve literally been stockpiling inspiration for months! I have computer files, bookmarks, notebooks packed full of ideas, topics, and stories I want to write about.  Some are awesome blogs I’ve discovered, some are good books I’ve read, some are songs that stirred my soul, and then of course there is Pinterest; oh dear lord, Pinterest, and the millions of ideas that single website sparks.  And yet, when I sit down to write a post…. nothing.  Literally, nothing comes to mind, or seems to makes sense when I write it, or feels authentic to me.

It feels like I have the research, the topics, the inspiration, and yet, no voice.

At first I thought I just hadn’t found the “right” inspiration, so I spent more and more hours collecting more and more motivation.  Then, I thought I must not have created the “right” plan for sharing my info, so I invested my evenings into mapping out, or create a plan of how to share all the thoughts rattling around in my head.  When that didn’t work, I decided to take a break; in hopes that the stress I was putting on myself was keeping the words from flowing. Finally, I decided to take the stance I’d have if I were one of my clients, and stop judging myself for having writer block, and instead, just get curious about it.

I started asking myself all sorts of curiosity-based questions.  For example…

“Why do I want to blog?” “What do I enjoy about blogging?” “Am I blogging for me, or for other people?” “Why did I start this blog? As I reacquainted myself with my interests, hopes, desires, and goals for my blog it became easier to be curious about the intense writers block I have been experiencing.  Instead of looking for the “right” thing to fix the stagnation I was feeling, or the “right” way to get unstuck, I became simply curious about the feeling of panic that kept me from being able to write.  My questions transformed into, “Hmmmm, so I know I want to blog, and yet when I try to write a post panic sets in.  That’s interesting, why would panic be showing up for something I want to do?” Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, the message I must share 10 plus times a day with my clients: panic is showing up because writing a blog post is something I care about.

This is what it means to care about something!

It’s impossible to care about something and not fear loosing it. Fear, panic, anxiety, worry are all horribly uncomfortable, AND they are all signs that we actually care about something, or someone.  Because these feels are so uncomfortable to experience, it’s easy for us to approach them with dread, judgment and contempt and totally loose sight of why they showed up in the first place.  They do have a message for us but we can’t hear the message when we are only focusing on the pangs they are creating.

Change Your Focus, Change Your Experience

One of my favorite quotes or sentiments is, “energy follows focus.”  Meaning, whatever we focus on we get more of.  When fear, panic, and/or anxiety show their ugly mugs and we pay attention to them, worry about them, try to avoid them, or try to get rid of them, THEY are are our focus, therefore THEY are what we get more of. More dread. More fear. More Panic. More self-judgement. More anxiety. More self-loathing. More and more of these feelings, that I call bullies, and less and less of….us. I realized that my writer’s block has been intensified because my focus has been on making these distressing feelings go away, not on what I want to say.  I lost sight of the relationship I have with my blog, and myself, and gave all my focus to these annoying bullies, when I should have just asked them, “Hey, what’s your deal?!” So, I finally did it.  I finally asked, “What’s your deal?” and wouldn’t you know my first post of 2012 was born out of this simple question.  Moving my focus from the bullies that had plagued me since December to myself, and what I want to say, is all it took to get the gears turning again!

And I gotta say, it marvelous to be back!!!!

   

Is the “S-Word” lowering your Self-Esteem?

Pinterest

Hello!

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post- OK, OK, it’s been almost forever since I’ve paid any attention to my poor neglected blog.  I’ve thought about, and even planed out many posts in the time I’ve been MIA, and each time I think, “I gotta get one of those posts done” I’d end up feeling this dread, embarrassment, and all sorts of self-judgement for not being a “good blogger” and letting so much time pass.  Which of course kept me from posting anything. So I decided this shall be my post topic.  The “S-Word” and how it lowers our Self-Esteem.  What’s the “S-Word” you ask?  The answer: SHOULD.

Is “Should” Lowering Your Self-Esteem

There’s a little therapy joke that I love about how when we “should,” we end up “should-ing all over ourselves.”  And it couldn’t be more true. For example, during my 3 month blogging hiatus the only reasons I felt like I “should” be posting were external, duty based, put my best foot forward reasons.  I felt like I “should” post because, I love my blog, I love my readers, it helps my business, I don’t want to become one of those blogs you find where it’s good info but it hasn’t been updated in 3 years, because other people are doing it, because I am supposed to.   But not once, until yesterday, did I feel like I wanted to post. The truth is I’ve been busy.  When last I wrote we were heading to Las Vegas, and things haven’t slowed down since.  We’ve got a home remodel project going on, I traveled out of state to visit family, I got the horrible flu that’s going around, my practice is booming (blessing) and that means I am working LOTS of hours (blessing that also depletes energy), I attended a several day training, then our birthdays came, and Thanksgiving hit, and now all of a sudden it feels like Christmas is here.  Phew!  It’s been a hectic, busy, amazing, and tiring few months to say the least. During all of this, each time I thought about my blog, I felt the “S-Word” immediately, but I never felt the “want” to post something.  So, I respected that.  I fought the “should monster.” And won, I might add!

Should vs. Want 

Now, I know we all have things we have to do in life that we don’t want to do.  Life’s (or a successful life’s) not about only doing the things we want to do.  Sometimes we have to bite the bullet, take inspiration from Nike, and just do it.  Learning the difference between these situations and “should” situations is key for Self-Esteem. Sometimes there are things we don’t want to do, but we want the reward or perk or outcome said “it” provides.  For example, paying bills, exercising, or going to work are all examples of things we may not always want to do, but we do them because we want the aftereffect. When we do something because we feel we “should,” we are doing something we think we should want to do, or that we believe other people want us to do.  Basically, we are hoping to create a desired aftereffect, usually respect of some kind, by doing something we don’t want to do.  Which, in reality is disrespecting ourselves. So we are trying to be seen with respect by doing something disrespectful.  Hmmm, are you starting to see the flaw in this line of thinking?

Why It’s a Win

I call my fighting of the “should-monster” regarding my hiatus a win, because if had posted before today, I would have been putting myself out, adding stress to my life, treating myself poorly simply because I was worried about you might think of me. Which let’s face it would have changed the post I was able to write, the amount of sleep I was able to get, my ability to be present with my clients, my irritation level with my husband and contractor, and my overall enjoyment of this time of year.  So I would have written a post that I didn’t really like, and you probably wouldn’t have liked, and for what?  So the date mark on my post was a certain number? Taking this time to put the things that are (currently) important first allowed me to do those things well, feel good about what I was doing, and experience the moments of joy that were scattered throughout my past several months.  Taking a 3 month hiatus made me feel good about myself and important in my own life.

Fighting Your Should-Monster

So, I ask you, how many things are you doing in your life simply because you feel you “should?” And how do those things make you feel about yourself?  Do they feed your anxiety and insecurity or do they bring you peace? Imagine how you’d feel about yourself if you spent your time focusing on and doing things that you want to do, that fill you up, that are respectful to you.  Life, not to mention Self-Worth, feels very different when we fight the should-monster and discover what we want to do instead.

Self-Esteem: Why it Get’s Mistaken for Weight

Pinterest I am preparing this blog post ahead of time, as I’ll be on vacation next week.  When this is posted I’ll be lounging poolside in Las Vegas basking in the sunshine, floating down a lazy river, and sipping cocktails (hopefully) delivered by some cute cabana boy.  I can’t wait!

Weight & Self-Esteem.

As I’ve been getting ready for this poolside vacation I’ve found myself reflecting on the connection between Self-Esteem and weight.  Sometimes it seems like 95% of information on self-esteem talks about nothing but weight and body image. Do you notice this, too? I think it’s annoying, and to be frank, disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that our body image plays a part in our self-esteem, of course it does- it’s part of us.  But, it’s not the only part of us.  More importantly, weight struggles are not the only way low self-esteem shows it’s ugly head.

So why do we focus so much on weight & self-esteem?

Because weight, especially too much weight, can’t be hidden. Unlike anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders and chronic pain our size is out there in the world everyday.  There is no way hide our size.  There is no way to pretend we are a size 0 if we aren’t.  There is no way to secretly struggle with weight.  If we do struggle with weight, it’s out there, everyone knows. On one had, this is difficult.  It’s hard to publicly be exposed as “less than perfect,” especially in our beauty driven culture.  But on the other hand, it’s kind of amazing!  Publicly living a struggle gives access to a great resource that would be missed if the struggle were secret- community.  Other people going through, or who have been through, similar circumstances. Body positive programs, blogs, articles, and support systems are popping up everywhere because weight can’t be hidden.

Celebrate Community

“Shame is about the fear of disconnection” -Brené Brown One thing I know for sure- secrecy hurts.  As humans, secrecy and shame are the worst pain we experience.  There is nothing like the feeling of reaching out, being real, sharing who we are and what we are going through.  Trying to hide who we are, and cut ourselves off from community, hurts like hell.  So why do it, especially about something like weight that’s already out there? Self-Esteem comes from exploring what is, creating coping skills, living authentically, and having a relationship with ourselves, not our jean size. Connection comes from being open, vulnerable and real with others.  If we find a way to do this, to be authentic with people who understand our struggle, then the struggle turns into a blessing. Next time your jean size gets you down, try these idea’s instead of the old familiar negative self-talk and/or searching for way to change yourself.
  • See it as a opportunity for connection.  Reach out to someone you trust and let them into what is going on with you.
  • Look for ways to improve your self-esteem, other than weight loss.
  • Find a community! Check out body positive blogs, groups, articles, Facebook pages, or people to follow on twitter so that you know, and feel, that you aren’t alone.
Maybe, just maybe, if you approach it differently it will actually feel differently too?!      

My 1-2-3 Guide to Getting More out of Self-Care

Pinterest I can’t even tell you how often I ask people this question: “What do you want?”  It may sound like the simplest question ever, but it inevitably brings about the most complex responses in people, and oh so often…. crickets. We tend to spend so much time thinking about, defining, and avoiding what we don’t want, that when asked, “what do you want?” we freeze, can’t answer, and actually don’t know what we want.

Why Self-Care

One of the most straightforward places to start learning what we do want is through Self-Care.  Figuring out, defining, and practicing some soul filling self-care activities benefits us, and our self-worth, in numerous many ways. It teaches us who we are, what we like, what we do want. It also shows us ways to cope with, recover from, and survive trying times. It allows us to feel full, connected to ourselves, and worth-it no matter what is going on in life. It enables us to detach ourselves from a problem, situation or person and see our individual value, and the big picture, separate from what is going on in a moment.  This space helps to remind us, “This too will pass.” Sound good?

Getting the Most out of your Self-Care

So, how do we go about getting the right Self-Care for us?  It may sound complicated, or like a crapshoot, but really, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Start by dividing Self-Care into 3 categories Category 1- things that bring immediate satisfaction with very little effort. Simple things like taking a bath, having a glass of wine, reading a good book, listening to music, watching a favorite TV show/movie, painting toenails, at home facials… Things that you can do at home, in your pj’s, totally on your own. Category 2- things that require minimal effort, but bring about big rewards. These are things like getting a massage, acupuncture, haircuts, mani/pedi’s.  In other words, things that you have to leave the house for, and help you relax and reconnect with yourself, but you don’t have to be all glammed up for, or coordinate with other people’s scheduling, timing, desires. And, category 3- things that take more effort but make ya feel fabulous! These are things like lunch dates, happy hour with friends, night’s out on the town, hosting parties, road trips.  In other words, things that require effort but totally change up the  monotony of your everyday life and make you feel alive. Pretty simple so far, right? Now, spend some time figuring out what activities fit into each of these categories for you. There isn’t a one-size-fit’s-all for this.  There isn’t a right or wrong for this.  There is only what feels good to you!

Here’s How

Start by review your schedule for the previous two weeks and the upcoming two weeks. What do you notice? Do you see any trends?  Are you looking forward to, or dreading the upcoming weeks? What are you looking forward to, and what is causing you dread? Which weeks have you been the happiest and most balanced? What did you do those weeks? All of this information, all of these answers, will help you to build your own categories, and see the areas you can influence in your upcoming weeks. For example:
  • Maybe you’ve got a killer meeting, or an event you’ve got to work, but if you know that a mani/pedi makes ya feel wonderful then you can schedule one before and/or after the event to help make the event more tolerable.
  • Or, maybe you’ve got company coming to town, so planning in some quite or down time after they leave will help you rebound and feel rested again.
  • Or, maybe you’ve got endless alone time on the books so scheduling a coffee date, happy hour, or event out of the house is what you need to break up the silence.

Creating Balance with 1-2-3

Hopefully by this point you can see how we can use the 1,2,3 categories to create a balanced schedule! By looking for holes in our schedule and filling in with categories that are lacking, or saying “no” to areas that are already overloaded, or reorganize our to-do’s to create more down-time, we are able to ensure that we have a schedule that feels balanced for us. The more balanced we feel, the more worth-it we feel, the more soul-filled we are, the more effort we put into keeping these feelings.  Imagine how much easier the effort is if we already know what makes us feel balanced?!  

Self-Care: A Helpful Path to Self-Worth

  Pinterest So, as you can tell, lately I’ve been neglecting my poor blog!  Not because I don’t have things to say, but because I have so many things to say I can’t seem to stick with and finish a topic.  The downfall of having your passion, be your work! ;-) As I blocked out time in my upcoming weekend to tackle a few posts and get organized it got me thinking about self-care, and how it relates to self-esteem.

Self-Care or Selfish?

I know for some people “self care” is a four-letter word (two of them, in fact), but really self-care is a great way to strengthen our self-worth.  I often talk to clients and friends who say putting aside time for themselves feels “selfish” and therefore never do it.  They have a sense of pride that comes from working themselves to the bone on a regular basis.  What’s interesting to me, is these same people tend to have crisis after crisis in their lives and always feel rundown, unorganized, and totally anxious. It’s not coincidence that this is how their lives unfold.  Never taking time for ourselves is a recipe to living life this way- anxious, stressed out, tired, cranky. Usually when we explore this concept together they begin to see the pattern and realize that it’s actually their lack of self-worth that keeps them for self-care routines.  In other words, they don’t feel worth the time attention pampering and relaxation that self-care provides.  Sound familiar?

Changing This Pattern

The simplest most direct to begin altering this thought pattern and belief is by changing our intention around self-care. Instead of doing self-care rituals because we feel worth-it, do them because we want to feel worth-it. If you feel shaky, nervous, or undeserving while brainstorming, scheduling, and/or doing self-care acts remind yourself, “I am doing this so that I will feel better about myself.  This is my path to better self-esteem.” Also, remember it’s important to take baby steps in setting up self-care routines for yourself, especially if you are new to self-care. And, self-care can be done through the simplest things…
  • Splurge on a wine that’s a touch more expensive than you usually spend
  • Take time to make yourself a yummy cup of tea
  • Relax in a bath with your favorite expensive bath salts
  • Say “no” to just one thing this week.
  • Turn off your computer 20 minutes earlier than usual at night
  • Schedule a massage, acupuncture, mani/pedi
  • Take a long walk WITHOUT your cell phone
  • Treat yourself to a new book, album, movie
It doesn’t matter which you do, as long as you do something, and remind yourself when it feels selfish, “I am doing this to be a better me.  I will have more to give, I will feel better, I will feel worth-it if I do this for myself.”

My Plan

As for me, I am still going to work on some blog posts this weekend BUT I am going to set a timer, and only spend the 2 hours I set aside each day on writing.  With my other 22 hours I am going to walk, picnic, hang with my hubby, grill, sleep, maybe catch a movie and relax so I am refreshed and my best me, for me, and for my clients, next week!