This week on the podcast I’m delving into the topic of self-care and specifically how we can find our motivation to practice self-care. In this episode I break down what self-care really is and share my journey with self-care. I talk about the way self-care impacts those around us and our work-life.
Then I share an exercise to help you uncover your self-care motivators, because, without that interior motive, creating a sustainable self-care practice is very difficult. I hope you find the episode helpful and if you have any questions on self-care or suggestions for future episodes, feel free to send me an email: [email protected]
You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or listen here.
LINKS AND FURTHER READING:
- How self-care supports others
- How self-care impacts your business
- Self-care for carers
- How to find your self-care motivator
- Coaching services
In today’s episode, we’re gonna be talking about self care. And I really want to get back to basics on this topic, so we’re going to talk about what it really means, how it supports us and those around us, but also how we can find our self care motivators. Because this is really what we need if we’re gonna form a sustainable self care practice. So sit back, get comfortable, and let’s get into it.
Hello everyone! And welcome to another episode of Seedling. I hope you’ve had a good week. So we’re gonna be talking about self care today. And if you know me, if you follow me online at all, you’ll know this is a topic I am really really passionate about. So I’m looking forward to digging into it today.
But first of all, I want to talk about what self care actually is. Because it’s one of those things that has kind of become a trend and a lot of brands and companies are using it as a bit of a marketing tool to sell things to us. Like candles and face masks and any beauty product ever. So it’s not surprising that a lot of us have a bit of cynicism when it comes to self care. The fact is, all it is, is looking after yourself – whatever that looks like to you.
That’s the beauty of self care of self is, is it’s completely individual and looks different to everybody.
I like to think of it in two kind of areas: the physical side and the mental side.
So the physical side might cover things such as relaxation, exercise, maybe your diet, what you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping. Things like hydration, also taking medication even, getting a massage, having your nails done, all of those things count as physical acts of self care. If it makes you feel better physically, then great, that’s self care!
But then there’s the slightly tricker side to understand, I guess, the less tangible side. And that’s the mental side. And that’s things like setting boundaries, asking for what you need, saying ‘no’ to people, making space in your life for creativity and fun, going to therapy if you need to, connecting with others, or even taking time alone.
So yeah, that’s quite a big umbrella of self care. There’s a lot of different things that fall under it, but the thing is, it’s really important to understand both sides of that coin. There’s the physical side, and then there’s the emotional, mental side.
But let’s talk a little bit about my experience of self care and why it is I am so passionate about it and why I don’t really shut up about it!So, for me, it’s something I feel I’ve intuitively always done ever since I recovered from my eating disorder. It was a big part of that. I had to learn to really look after myself mentally. And I thought I had a pretty good hold on it, up until the summer of 2017 when I started struggling with anxiety and I was getting physical side- kind of, physical symptoms.
I was feeling really unwell and I had to go and have cognitive behavioural therapy. And through that therapy and through discussions with my therapist, I realised that I’d actually let my self care completely slip off my list of priorities – despite the fact that I was talking about it a lot at work, I was writing about it a lot, I was training to be a life coach to help people with self care, and I wasn’t doing it myself! It was a classic ‘I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching’ moment.
I also started to realise just how much my self care was impacting other people around me. When I was taking better care of myself, I was a lot calmer, I was less likely to get stressed and angry at people, and also I was much more able to be there for other people when they needed me. And I realised that this was going to be really important if I wanted to have a career as a coach because I need to be 100% there for clients and I can’t do that if I’m not looking after myself.
And that’s another thing I think is important for us to recognise, is how important self care is for the work that we do. Whatever line of work you’re in, whether you work in an office, in a company for somebody else, or whether you’re self employed or freelance: when you look after yourself, you can do your job so much better. You’ll be a lot more productive, you’ll be a lot more focused and able to get what you need done.
And you’ll be there to support whoever it is you need to! Whether or not it’s the people in your office that you work with or clients or customers that you work with. But taking that time to look after yourself means you can be 100% there.
And I will say that this is especially, especially important if you are freelance or if you do run your own business because the fact is, you are your business. And your business is not going to thrive if you’re lying there, feeling really stressed and exhausted. If you’re looking after yourself, if you’re feeling really good, really relaxed, and really well rested, you’re going to smash it at work.
So, those are two things that I think we need to remember when it comes to self care, is it doesn’t just impact us, it impacts those around us and it can even impact our business and the work that we do.
So why is it, now that we know all of those things about self care, that we really struggle with it?
I’ve seen certain barriers to self care coming up time and time again. Some of them include: feeling unworthy, so feeling like maybe you don’t deserve to spend that time on yourself; not having enough time; feeling like you’ve got so many other responsibilities and things you need to do that adding self care onto the list is just one thing too many. Some people say they don’t really see the point of self care – they don’t understand what it does to impact them or why they need to do it. And then, finally, other people see it as a selfish act. When they could be looking after somebody else or they could be supporting someone else, taking that time for themselves feels unnecessary and selfish.
So yeah, those are some pretty big barriers to overcome. But they can be overcome. And I think one of the ways you can do that is to understand your personal self care motivators.
Because when you read articles that talk about self care, when you listen to podcasts about self care, you can take in all of this information, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything to you in your circumstances and in your life. If you don’t have your own internal motivation to do something, you’re really unlikely to do it. You might keep at it for like a week or two, but after that the habit will fall away and you’ll go back to old ways because you haven’t really tapped into why it is you’re doing it.
And that’s what I want to help you with in this episode and that’s what I want to go through now.
So I’ve got a list of questions that can help you understand what your motivators are. And hopefully this can help. And I will say as well that if you find this kind of information easier to digest through reading, I have actually got a blog post on this so I’ll pop the link to that in the shownotes. And that can be helpful if you want to bookmark it or come back to it!
But if not, grab yourself a pen and paper and write down the following list of questions.
So, the first question is: what do you consider an act of self care?
So, as we discussed earlier on in this episode, there’s lots of different things that can fall under the umbrella of self care and for you, it’s just about figuring out which ones you like to do, which ones you’re currently doing, maybe which ones you want to add into your routine as well. So many a big old list, write everything down that you consider self care.
The next step is: how do you feel when you carry these actions out?
So just think about all these different things you’ve written down and how they make you feel. So, for example, say you’ve added ‘reading a book’ to your list. How did you feel when you’ve read that book? Did you feel relaxed? Uplifted? Like you’ve had a little bit of escapism for a while? Do you feel inspired maybe? Try and figure out those feelings and write them down.
The next step is to write down how you will benefit personally from this.
So you’ve written down your acts of self care, you know how they make you feel, but what’s the benefit to it? So what’s the benefit to you feeling relaxed after reading a book? How’s that going to benefit you?
The benefit to you is probably going to be that you’re feeling less stressed and you’re feeling less overwhelmed with things and you’re feeling a little bit more inspired and maybe even more creative.
The next question is to ask yourself: how do those around you benefit from you feeling this way?
So let’s kind of continue on with the book reading example. You’re feeling more creative, you’re feeling creative, you’re feeling inspired. How are the people going to benefit from that? Think about your immediate kind of family or partner, your kids. How are they going to benefit from you being more relaxed? How are your work colleagues going to benefit from you feeling more creative and inspired? I’m sure you can think of some really good examples here.
And this is a really great point for parents actually. If you are engaging in self care, it’s really important for you to remember that you’re being a role model to your little ones. Them seeing you taking the time to read a book and relax teaches them that it’s okay for them to look after themselves in the same way. So maybe write that down as well if that applies to you because that can be a really helpful thing to remember!
And the last step, really, is to put all of that together into some concise sentences that depict what your self care motivators are.
So, let me give you my example. So, for me, my self care motivators, I have two: one is to protect my mental health and thus not need to take time off sick from work, number two is to be better able to support those around me, including my loved ones, coaching clients, and work colleagues.
For you, it might be to be a role model for my children. It might be to be a more supportive partner or friend. Or even just to take greater control of your health. Whatever it is, print it out somewhere and keep it where you’ll see it every single day to remind yourself why it is you practice self care. Remember the ripple effect! Remember that you making self care a priority sets an example to other people and gives them permission to do the same.
We’re all totally different. We all have different lifestyles, we have different needs, we have different experiences. And that’s why self care is going to look different to all of us and fitting it in practically, I know can be difficult. And that is why I decided to set up my self care strategy sessions as part of my coaching offering, so that I can really give one on one tailored support to people and help them make a sustainable self care practice.
Just having that sense of accountability I think can be really helpful. And if you don’t want to get that through coaching, there’s so many other ways you can get accountability. You can maybe make a WhatsApp group with some friends and set self care goals and check in with each other and see how you’re getting on. Or you could even share your intentions on social media. For example, on Instagram Stories. Tell your followers what it is you plan to do. Set an example to them and hopefully they can hold you a little bit accountable as well!
So I hope that was helpful and that you’ve now nailed down what your motivations for self care are because that’ll really form a foundation for you to build a really sustainable self care practice.
If you have any questions on this topic, if you want me to go into more detail about any part of self care, definitely let me know! Send me a DM on Instagram, I’m @katbluejay, or send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll definitely look to cover it in a future episode because, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I’m really passionate about this subject. It’s something I care about a lot and I really want to talk about a lot. So any excuse to bring it up in conversation is very welcome!
But now I’m going to leave you to the rest of your day. I hope it’s a good one. And I’ll be back with you again at the same time next week!