“Self care” and “self love” are certainly buzz words these days. I definitely have intentions for more self care and unconditional self love in the foreground of my to-do’s. However, sometimes self care seems to fall into the category of “one more thing I should be doing” and generally feels like too much.
I am a big believer in synchronicities. Sometimes when a particular lesson or message really resonates with us it seems to keep popping up over and over. This is completely the case for me. Particularly with a career in education and counseling I have been seeking to provide others with the support they need due to balancing the demands of everyday life during a global pandemic. We tell parents, essential workers and practically everyone not to forget self-care reiterating the importance for our overall well being.
Early this past spring I had the opportunity to take resilience training and I believe that this is where the realization of self responsiveness vs. self care really started to take root. We often think of self care as an item to check off our list: spa day, massage, face mask ect. This is the type of self care that takes time and money, two things many of us are often strapped for. *( I am not advocating against spa days because they are great, I just believe that there is a more acute approach.)
Enter the resilience training I took. Basically to alleviate burnout and increase a feel good experience on a daily basis we must train ourselves to consistently monitor if we are over-regulating or under-regulated. Regulation is the human biological response to our environments and stress. In ideal conditions we are right in the green zone, calm and focus, good to go. Some situations (ie. conflicts, toddler meltdowns, running late cause us to over regulate. Think the anxiousness reactive state we get into when we're juggling demands.) Finally there is that state we reach have been dodging curveballs and we have been in chronic stress for too long. Essentially instead of having a normal response to an abnormal situation the chaotic environment has become the new normal and our response is now abnormal. The lethargic and sometimes underwhelmed feeling gives you the “I feel nothing” vibe.
Most of us go through our days without the realization of our feelings until much after the fact. You can do way into depth on this topic and I will post links if this is something that you are interested in. When we start to notice and become mindful of our regulation throughout the day it opens the door for the best kind of self care. It gives us the opportunity to respond intentionally to our needs. These small and intentional shifts allow us to work in tiny moments of self care that help you remain in the regulated zone most days most of the time.
Let me give some concrete examples.
-It is noticing that feeling of stress and anxiety that comes up when dealing with a difficult co-worker or client and giving yourself permission to say, “You know I am not sure of a good solution at this minute but let me get back to you.” That small chance to breath and give yourself a chance to respond instead of letting the emotion overwhelm and create a reaction.
-It is when you notice and honor your body's need for nourishment and then thoughtfully packing something simple, delicious and nourishing for lunch.
- I might be as small as stopping for a cup of tea or glass of water instead of powering through just one more thing.
-It is that moment at the end of the work day when you realize that you haven't gotten much movement or fresh air and you purposefully go for a 10 minute walk before transitioning into your after work routine.
- It is recognizing guilt for wanting to take a bath instead of cleaning up the kitchen and choosing to give yourself the break despite the house work.
Your self responsiveness is going to look specific to you and your life. The small shifts created from remaining mindful during a day and responding accordingly is truly the best for of self care you can practice.
Check out this episode of "The Purpose Show" https://open.spotify.com/episode/1hU5VKEKwGaLbg4J7dcpbI?si=jfq6YHrKRkGNCGuP54Pk0Q
The training/information mentioned above can be found here: https://www.activateresiliency.com/