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Ask What You Can Do For Yourself – Making The Case For Self-Care

Written by: Tracy Yates, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

From 2020 forward, we, as individuals, as families, and as communities, have been trying to right ourselves and get back to normal. Many of us are still reeling from the loss of loved ones, relationships, jobs, and autonomy to name a few things. It seems like we can’t process one disaster or tragedy before another one strikes.

Each day we try to keep all the balls in the air with minimal droppage. Some days we don’t drop any. Some days we drop them all. We juggle work, relationships, social media accounts, and children. However, there is one neglected ball that often never gets picked up to start with: ourselves. Most of the time, we never put ourselves in the mix of things we must take care of. You know what we always take care of, though? Our cars.


How is your car doing?

Seriously, how is it driving? Do you need to get fuel or charge it up today? How often do you get the oil changed? Have you had done any work lately? When your car makes a weird clunking, whining sound or a random part falls off, do you have a trusted mechanic to take it to? So glad that there are experts who can figure out what’s going on. Phew! We are so good to our cars. I mean, we have to be if we don’t want to be stuck broken down on the side of the road somewhere.

How are you doing?

Seriously, how are you? Do you need to get fuel or charge up today? Time for a hot bath? Maybe you just need 5 minutes to be still, idle, so you can take a deep breath and clear your mind. Done any work on yourself lately? Taken a stroll around the block? Been for a run or hike? Burned off some building frustration from the work that’s making that whining sound in your head? Talked to anybody about that whining sound? An expert? No? Nah! It’s probably fine! It’ll figure itself out!

So, let’s get this straight.

The car gets fuel, an oil change, and washed. We spiff up the rims and clean the windshields so we can see clearly. We rub the fingerprints off of the rearview mirror, so we’re not distracted by smudges. I mean, it’s the WORST when you can’t see clearly behind you or where you’re going. (Oh yea, take that metaphor down the road!) And, when it’s making weird noises we don’t recognize or understand, it gets taken to an expert. You? You get one meal a day, a quick shower, and when your mind makes a weird whining sound, you get…nothing. Zip. Nada. You get stuck, broken down on the side of your own life. According to Helen Reiss, MD, author of The EmpathyEffect, “This constant state of tension and stress is an indication that self-care is entirely lacking. Feeling frazzled all the time isn’t a normal or healthy way for anyone to be showing up in the world.” She goes on to say that self-care not only supports your own well-being and joy, but “it can also make you more fun to be around and a better partner, friend, co-worker, or parent.”

Self Care Isn’t Just Bubble Baths

Self-care is way more than that. There are whole categories of self-care: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, psychological, relationship, and workplace. Here is a self-care assessment adapted from the work of Karen W. Saakvitneand Laurie Anne Pearlman. If you want to take a small step toward caring for yourself, pick one category. Maybe you lost touch with friends or family over the pandemic. Reach out via text and just say “hi.” You could even make a date to walk, get a coffee, or have lunch. On your way to meet that person, remind yourself, “I’m doing this for me, to take better care of myself.” Maybe you’re feeling blah and it just won’t go away. We often blow off persistent feelings of bleh, thinking that they will somehow magically be replaced with joy at some point. They can be, but you have to DO something. The Do: try standing outside for 5 minutes and breathing fresh air. If you want to get wild, take a short stroll around the block while you’re out there. And tell yourself, “I’m doing this for me. I’m taking this moment for me.” Maybe your inner critic has taken over your interior world and they’re driving you nuts. Those strange noises, those persistent feelings, are messages. What are they telling you? Maybe it’s time to take it to an expert.

Who You Gonna Call?

What kind of expert do you call? Feeling weighed down and exhausted by everything that has happened in life? Feeling stuck since COVID eviscerated normality and need to get unstuck? The Do: find a health and wellness coach. If you want to refocus yourself and tease out what direction you want to head in, a coach can help. They are the conduit between where you are and where you want to be. Together, you figure out what’s most important, where you want to go, and how to get there. Coaching is a powerful tool to get you into a self-care routine. Finding a health and wellness coach is fairly simple. The National Board of Certified Health and Wellness Coaches has a directory of board-certified HWCs here. and since coaching is done on the phone or through video calls, you can select coaches from across the country. Reach out to a few, most coaches will do a complimentary session to answer questions and you get to see if they’re someone you want to work with. Of course, you can always reach out to me at tracy@tracyyates.org or visit my website. You can also try an app like Ingomu (think the Netflix of coaching). They have group coaching communities around nearly every topic you can think of: work stress, creativity, menopause, relationships. You can join live or listen to the session later on. (Full disclosure: I lead a Coaching Community every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month on navigating grief and loss.) Ingomu gives you a chance to be coached with a little more anonymity as participants are off-screen and only respond via chat if they want to. Regardless if it’s me, or another coach, find a coach for yourself as a tool of self-care. The time you spend on yourself in each session is an investment that will not only come back to you but also to those you love far into the future. Running out of fuel? Need a proverbial tune-up? Remember, you deserve at least as much love and care as the car you drive.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Tracy Yates, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Tracy specializes in mental fitness and resilience. Mental wellness becomes challenged in times of crisis: break-ups, job changes, loss, and global pandemic. But, sometimes, there isn’t a crisis and someone is languishing —that ‘blah’ middle ground between depression and thriving. Tracy has worked with thousands of people on mental and emotional wellness, transitions, and lifestyle changes. Tracy's expert use of generative conversations helps clients achieve the height of their mental and emotional wellness. Creating a space for clients to discover what’s truly possible, she leverages their innate wisdom in order to transform their lives from where they are to where they want to be.

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