SELF-CARE TO THE RESCUE!
Picture yourself totally relaxed, smiling, happy, thrilled with the richness of life. You are energized and strong ready to handle anything that life sends your way. There is no future only the present and moment by moment it unfolds and you stand in the center of it all.
Things are easy, they flow, you feel centered, unshakeable even in your ability to stand tall because you know that for every challenge there is a solution.
You have truckloads of patience and you shake it around you like fairy dust to neutralize circumstances that present themselves.
Smile, this is your life and you reign supreme as the queen of your domain.
Self-care begins with us. It’s an inside job that fills us up from the inside. When we are filled, we have more to give.
When we are filled, we are happy
When we are filled, we are centered
When we are filled, we self-regulate our emotions better
When we are filled, we are able to model for others what it is like to be healthy.
In 2009, the Dalai Lama stated in a conference that the Western Woman was going to change the world. Yes, indeed the western woman is uniquely positioned to change this world.
She is smart, independent, resourceful, solution-based, and stands tall in who she is.
All too often the western woman falls into a self-designed trap.
The trap is set when she puts the needs of way too many others before herself. She gives of herself long after the gas tank is empty, this causes her to run on fumes. Just like a car who sucks in air as it attempts to propel itself into the gas station, she arrives home, thoroughly exhausted, physically, emotionally, and energetically drained. That once strong western woman fades away into a shell of her former self. She stumbles through the doorway of her home and ungracefully falls into an irritated rumpled heap on the sofa.
How in the world can this woman change the world? She can barely help herself, or feed herself for that matter.
Can you imagine what “homework hour” looks like in her house?
What about dinner hour?
Forget about feeling fun and flirty when her husband returns home from work.
The look on her face tells him all he needs to know and he slinks away into his man cave driving the energetic distance further between them.
A depleted woman is angry, impatient, frazzled and life takes on a sour hue. She falls prey to feeling trapped, misunderstood and underappreciated. Then all too often she looks to someone or something else as the cause of the depletion. I have heard statements like, “If only my husband would cook dinner more often, if only I could get more help with the kids, if only my boss was more understanding…”
She snaps at her kids, and is chronically irritable, guilt quickly follows and then she beats herself up for acting like a crazy person. She isn’t proud of her words or her behavior. This is not who she really is. I have heard women question, why am I acting like this? Who have I become? I don’t like who I am.
How do we as women free ourselves from this trap and more importantly…how can we avoid falling back into it at another time?
Step 1 – Start with Personal Responsibility
The only person we can change is ourselves. It’s time to check in with yourself. What could be adjusted to help you get more time for you. Personal responsibility is the cornerstone for pivoting out of depletion and back into the woman that you are. It is not the responsibility of someone else to fill up your personal gas tank. We must drive ourselves to the gas-station to re-fuel. You cannot expect anything external to fill an internal void. We must fill it ourselves from the inside. Identify the breakdowns in your schedule, look for solutions to make changes that work better for you. Remember if it doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work. You are the center point, everything and everyone in your universe spins around your energy. Remember this next time you are tempted to work through lunch.
Step 2 – Start with an Ask
Have you asked for help? How did you ask? The best approach is to get vulnerable, start with appreciation of the other person for what they do, mention that you are feeling drained lately, and ask for a recommendation from the person as to how a solution can be reached, or directly ask for what you need. Which might be to go lay down and see if they can take care of dinner tonight.
In the examples below I’ve given you some suggestions on how to cultivate and reinvigorate your life force energy.
When your internal and personal needs are met, you become balanced. When balanced, you become the director of your life. In the director role, you begin to realize that life happens for you as you are able to actively call forth what you desire.
The contrasting role when you are depleted is to become the victim or martyr controlled by life circumstance that happens to you. Self-care liberates you by shifting you into the director’s chair.
Here are two key techniques that diffuse volatile situations: These are best used when you feel your internal temperature gauge begin to rise. When you start to get hot under the collar and anger surges through your body like lightning strikes. Instead of yelling, or lashing out resort to one of these.
With these techniques, they have an immediate benefit as well as a delayed benefit. The immediate benefit is that you regulate your emotions, and preserve your dignity. The delayed benefit is modeling for others how to properly self-regulate when life does not go as planned. If you are able to model for others how to identify and manage their emotions they will be able to adopt healthy communication skills for themselves that will last a lifetime.
Technique #1: Ask for space (do this in the moment when you are feeling overwhelmed. This will prevent you from saying or doing something you won’t be proud of.)
“I need some space right now, I’m feeling grouchy and I need time alone.”
“I need to eat right now and I need space. I need 20 minutes for myself and I will feel better.”
Technique #2: Practice deep breathing
Focusing on your breathing causes a pattern interrupt and helps you re-center yourself. There are many different breathing techniques.
The visual I like to use is the balloon. Imagine that you are inhaling in short bursts of air in through your nose to help blow up a balloon, you can even sweep your arms up over head as you inhale and fill your balloon. Then once your hands are above your head you violently exhale though your mouth and simultaneously swing your arms down. If you have kids around they will get a kick out of it and will want to start breathing with you in this way. It’s a key tool for diffusing negative emotions and helping to emotionally self-regulate.
The Western Woman will change the world by modeling what it is like to be healthy, centered, emotionally in control and ready to hit life head on. The Western Woman stands tall in her truth, she follows through and she is proud of every raw and beautiful part of herself. She demonstrates exquisite self-care so her cup overflows with love, patience, empathy, and determination.
Through self-care we are able to harness and re-direct our life force energy in a deliberate way to manifest that which we truly and deeply desire. Self-care opens doors along your life path that lead to surprising and delightful opportunities. You just might be surprised to find yourself humming a little tune one evening while you cook, clean, and wash dishes.
Dr. Purcell, it took me three months to rediscover your unopened email and to actually read this blog post on self-care. The timing of its message is RIGHT ON for me. Thank you for reminding all women of the important things!