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How To Integrate Self-Care Into Your Goals?

Written by: Kylie Feller, 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.


Set Goals This Year That are Connected to Great Self-Care and Connection

As we head into a New Year you may be thinking of the changes you want to make or things you want to achieve for this year. I am curious though have you thought about why you are setting these goals have you considered including self-care? I would argue that if you do not include more self-care and opportunities to reflect and connect to your True Self your goals may not give you the desired feeling you want. Take a minute and think about what the desired feeling is you hope to achieve from the goals you set?

I am curious how do you land on your goals? How are your goals connected to your own self-care and happiness? What does it really mean to take care of oneself? What self are we talking about? Should the Self be considered in all goals and resolutions in life and if so, how do we go about consulting with ourselves to make sure the path we are on is in alignment with our higher Self?

When we set goals that are not in alignment with our higher Self, they often do not give us the reward or payoff we thought they would. We often find that we reach that goal and yet still do not feel happy or content and so we go after another one but if it is not really serving your higher self it again falls short of what you are chasing. Can you relate to this?

What are you chasing when you set your New Year’s goals or when you make any kind of self-care plan? Take a minute and think about it, reflect on this question when you go to set goals and make routines for yourself.

Many people don’t really set any goals or practice any conscious form of self-care as they just have no idea what this really is or means. What does it mean to take care of yourself? Why do you think it’s so important to consider your higher self when planning your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals?

What Is Self-Care?

So many people have misconceptions around what self-care really is, they look at it as a list of external things you can do that are labelled as Self-care. But really self-care is less about what it looks like and more about how it makes you feel inside. Does that make sense to you?

We live in a culture that does not really teach us about Self-care and what it means to feel good inside. Instead, we are focused on the external world and checking off boxes to the things we feel “should” make us happy, but they often fail too for a significant amount of time if we do not also have this internal Self-care or a connection to this part us.

Many people believe if I get the job, the promotion, the house, the partner, the kids I’ll be happy or if I just go to the gym, eat good and get enough sleep then I should be happy. Although all these things are part of taking care of yourself and can add to your well-being and happiness, they are not what it means when we talk about self-care on the inside. When you have access to your True Self, accomplishing things in the outside world feels really good and you can enjoy life a lot more, but those external things are not what is going to give you access to your True Self.

Self-care and happiness are connected to feelings within us and thus different things might work better for some people than others, but they are all targeted around helping you feel more in touch and in alignment with yourself. Now, who is this Self that you want to get into alignment with and what does this really mean?

Internal Family Systems and Self-Care

Within each of us, we have a True Self or Soul, Or Spirit, etc.. This True Self embodies the qualities of Calmness, Compassion, Curiosity, Connection, Courage, Confidence, Creativity and has Clarity. Can you think about moments in your life when you have felt these qualities? What were you doing when you experienced them?

This is the part of you that is meant to lead your life but often gets buried by parts of us that are stuck in worries, fear, anxieties, guilt, shame, and other survival strategies. Many people lose access to this part of them due to having to adopt different survival strategies based on different times in their life.

For many people when they live from this place others may try to dim this, especially when younger. For many people, they get the messaging through generations that it’s not safe to be so bright and thus parts of them hide this away from the world, so the world does not take it. But it's always there, just buried. And as you become an adult it is often again safe again for you to shine and connect back to your True Self.

So, when I mention Self-care it's things that get you back to who you truly are. To find ways to access this part of you that may have been buried so you can once again lead from this place. The therapeutic model Internal Family Systems that was created by Richard Schwartz is a very effective approach that can help you connect back to your True Self.

To do this it means taking an honest look at how you are living your life and then maybe noticing that it would be impossible to feel good given the routine or habits one has developed. Then committing to making small changes to get back into alignment with who you truly are and creating space and opportunities to feel those qualities of your True Self.

Self-care is not a list of external things to do but rather a list of things to do that will help you get back to yourself and to a place where you can access higher levels of well-being and true happiness. Self-care is about feeling in alignment with who you truly are and accessing this deep sense of peace and contentment within.

Here are some practices I have found so helpful with getting back to my True Self. Often, I have had to rely on others to help guide me to these places but once there you can do a lot of it on your own. Allowing others to help you is not a weakness it is a strength, but in our culture where we have been taught to do it all alone.

6 Self-Care Tools To Help You Connect To Your True Self

1. Internal Family Systems

This is a form of therapy that understands the mind as being made of multiple parts and that within each of us is a healing force, our true nature, the Self. Engaging in this form of therapy can help you bring more harmony into your internal system. To begin doing this work you can just search Internal Family Systems and begin reading the books or listening to podcasts. You can also get an IFS therapist or coach to help guide you in getting to understand your system and access more Self-energy in your life. I have never found a theory that was so effective at helping one heal and come back to really living.

2. Yoga Nidra

This is also known as Dream Yoga. I discovered this practice while I was in Bali. I had always wanted to find a form of yoga where you just lay on your mat, and this is what this is but that is just the starting position. In this form of yoga, you walk through the different layers of the body and mind till you hit sleep, but it is only your mind and body that goes to sleep, your consciousness stays awake. When this happens, you can provide your body and mind the environment for deep healing and rest. This is the place where miracles can happen as you wander into your subconscious mind and begin making healing adjustments. You can find lots of yoga Nidra’s on Insight Timer and online.

3. Yoga

I never really liked doing yoga, but I did like how it made me feel. I always knew there was something special about it but I could not figure it out until I just dove in. I took my yoga teacher training, and, in this training, I did so much internal healing, it was the first time I could really feel myself make contact with my emotional body. The practice created a safe space for me to really feel and process emotions that had been stored in my body for a long time. There is more and more research that is coming about the benefits of yoga, especially around healing trauma.

I have found a lot of profound self-care teachings in the yogic philosophy that has created a foundation from which to live my life from. It also continues to help me cultivate a greater connection to my True Self.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation

When I first started to meditate, I also found it challenging but I did it because it made me feel good. Notice the theme around not really wanting to do it but coming back to a feeling. I noticed that it felt good to focus on my mind and body. I ended up going to a Vipassana retreat at the beginning of my mediation journey which really gave me the foundation to go deeper into the practice.

Over the years I have found a lot of joy not just from strengthening my focus with my mind by becoming more present to my environment but also through guided meditations that exercised my imagination and connected me to beautiful places within and in the quantum field. I have found meditations to be a foundation for my well-being as it creates a space for me to connect within myself. It helps me create an environment within myself that I could connect to that is compassionate and calm.

5. Creativity

Creating art through drawing, painting, dancing, or singing are other beautiful ways to connect to your True Self. These creative moments open up the opportunity for an optimal experience like flow. Have you seen the Disney movie Soul, it's all about this.

Journaling with parts of yourself can also offer you away into the subconscious mind where you can witness your patterns, beliefs, and emotions that might otherwise not have space to be heard or seen. Once you become more aware you can begin to make conscious shifts.

6. Self-Compassion

The practice of self-compassion intertwines through all of these Self-care activities. I know for some the thought of cultivating greater self-compassion inside can feel like an impossible task. You can only start from where you are though so often it is with the critic that you can begin your compassionate practice. Can you seek to understand with curiosity and compassion even the most challenging parts of yourself? Can you go within and mindful notice the parts of you that are suffering and offer them the love and compassion you would give a child or someone you cared for deeply? Kristen Neff is a great resource for developing greater self-compassion as well.

There are so many different ways you begin to connect to yourself so you can set goals that are more in alignment with you and thus will lead to greater happiness. The most important thing is that you create opportunities for this connection to your true Self to occur so you can enjoy the life you work so hard to create. Remember it is less about what you do but how it makes you feel. These are all acts of Self-love.

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Kylie Feller, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kylie Feller, M.A., is a registered clinical counsellor and life coach. She specializes in helping people understand and heal trauma while connecting them to their own innate healing force, their True Self. She believes that there is nothing people cannot heal and that all individuals can thrive and flourish if given the right formula. She has also launched an online program to help individuals navigate dating in a way that promotes greater growth and healing called, Swipe Right into Loving Yourself. She is a trained Internal Family Systems therapist, Empowerment Coach, Akashic Record Coach, Reiki Healer, and Yoga Teacher. She works with individuals one-on-one online helping them to access inner transformation so they can truly succeed in all levels of life.





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