"Making" yourself do self care is ridiculous.
Hiking. Going to yoga class. Drinking water. Taking a hot bath. Having quiet time to yourself.
You KNOW these things help you to feel better, but you're not doing them.
Many of my clients see the stress piling up and want to make themselves take care of themselves.
But the more stressed you are, the harder it is to "find time" for your needs. It's a spiral. You take care of yourself less which leads to more stress.
Instead of grabbing a stick to beat yourself, adjust your thinking instead.
"I know I need to sleep more."
Easy to say these words, and it happens all the time. But it's not effective. Here's why.
"I know" creates a feeling of shame. "I need to" creates a feeling of pressure.
Shame and pressure are NOT great motivators for taking care of yourself. You want to feel better, not worse, remember? In fact, they often lead to hiding, feeling like crap, or being even more stressed out.
They'll rarely get you to the action of actually taking the steps needed to get more sleep, go to yoga class, or sit quietly by yourself.
Instead, try these two:
"I can sleep more." "I choose to get more sleep."
"I can" immediately creates a release of pressure. It's absolutely possible for you to get more sleep, go on a hike, or cook a meal. Creating this statement reminds your brain that you do have agency. That what you want IS possible.
The second part, "I choose to," is equally important. You can choose to go to yoga class, or you can choose not to. And either is FINE.
We create extra mind drama when we get wrapped up in the falsehood that "I can't." Of course you can! You can also choose other things as priority, like you've been doing. Which is completely fine.
Just reminding yourself that you get to choose creates more empowerment, less stress, and less urgency.
So much of our stress comes from our thinking, not our circumstances.
It's a busy week at work - circumstance "I'll never be able to get everything done." - thinking
It's the thinking that creates the feeling of panic, stress, worry, or even despair.
You could also choose to think about your busy week at work, "I can handle this." or "This is temporary."
You get to choose.
So, let go of the mind drama and the added stress it brings.
Remind yourself that you can and you get to choose what to do or not do.
And stop using beating yourself up as a motivation tactic for doing self care.
- I want to go on a hike today. - I'm going to make a cup of tea this morning. - Tonight, I'm looking forward to my hot bath.
Choose to make decisions for self care because you want to, not because you "need" to.
If you'd like help looking at your thinking and managing your own personal situation, please feel free to reach out to discuss life coaching. I'll always be in your corner.