Hectic mornings, kids to school, work, workout, groceries, cook, clean, kids’ activities, spouses’ poker night, pay bills, crazy bedtime, phone calls, laundry, pack lunches, limited time with spouse, finally your bedtime… and REPEAT
You can switch it up a bit to suit your situation. The question remains: where is the “you” time? There just doesn’t seem to be any time left. We often fail to see how time for ourselves can fit into our daily routine. We are worth prioritizing, so we can be the best version of ourselves.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Do you see what others likely see: A vibrant, always-at-her-best supermom, wife extraordinaire, volunteer of the year, top career woman, the woman who can juggle it all? Or do you see a somewhat neglected, tired, unbalanced and lonely woman, in need of praise, time to pursue her passions, and time to just breathe?
We praise our kids for pooping, because we love them. So why do we feel guilty asking for praise or praising ourselves for all of the things we do? Do we feel guilty loving ourselves? We deserve and need the same love, reassurance and nurturing that we provide children, to be the best version of our self. Guilt should never accompany self-love.
What can we do?
We can still be super…moms, wives, volunteers, career women, and an incredible “juggler” who finds time for herself as well, so that we can be at our best emotionally and physically, feel like ourselves again. We simply need to see that taking time for ourselves can fit into our regular routine, and realize that it needs to… We can’t give from an empty well!
When you hear the words “self-care” what comes to mind?
I’m too busy at work this month; the kids are just starting soccer and baseball season…good luck finding a spare minute for me; once I look after everything and everyone else in my life, I’ll take care of me! Do you think it would be selfish to put yourself before others?
Are you familiar with the adage, “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others,”? If so, why do you feel selfish or guilty putting yourself first?
Our behavior and emotions impact everyone around us, our children included. We might think that those around us: our children, friends, co-workers, and loved ones, are oblivious to how we really feel, if we “act” positive and relaxed. How we feel, and our actions, affect them, even at a young age; they can feel our stress and our need for rest and rejuvenation.
If you need more convincing, think of it this way:
Your heart pumps blood to itself first, then it pumps blood out to the rest of your body. This is how it keeps you alive. It serves itself first, then the other organs. It needs to take care of itself before it can take care of others, or you wouldn’t be alive.
You need to take care of you first. Then, you can take care of others.
You deserve to take care of you. Those you care about, deserve it as well. You will be nourished, rejuvenated, the best version of yourself, and your well will be full and available to the important things and people in your life.
We are half way through another year… Does it feel like it has flown by? Are you wondering where the time has gone?
Time itself, doesn’t slow down.
However, we must allow ourselves to:
reduce the rush
slow down in life
and, get to know ourselves better
or, we can become emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally frazzled.
To most, it feels like our society is fixated on a “go, go, go” mentality; a fast-paced environment that leaves little time for rest and introspection / self-reflection.
What is Self-Reflection?
a practical way to use a few minutes a day to work on yourself – even when busy
asking yourself thought-provoking questions to help develop a deeper level of understanding yourself
allows you to absorb, process and organize the information you take in all the time
emphasizes balance and mindfulness (active, open attention on the present), allowing you to have a clearer picture of your true desires; who you really are
remove inner roadblocks and release emotional tension and stress
promotes positive change, self-awareness
it allows you to become more proactive, than reactive
You often do not have a clue why you are doing a certain thing and why you feel the way you feel. The subconscious mind, which makes up 90% of your brain function, is on autopilot and can trigger certain behaviors in certain situations. These triggered behaviors don’t necessarily lead to the desired outcome.
Self-Reflection helps with that!
Through self-reflection, you can:
change how you see yourself
how you feel about certain situations
how you act
“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The Benefits of Self-Reflection include:
Keeping you focused on the bigger picture!
It is important to have a clear vision of where you see yourself in the future – write it down if you have to or create a vision board, to continuously remind yourself of what you intend to accomplish!
By keeping an overall goal in mind, your daily tasks become more meaningful and less frustrating
Allowing you to define your own happiness!
Recognize the positive events and activities in your life, and apply these to future endeavors and goals
Ask yourself: When am I most happy? What am I most proud of and why? Who do I most enjoy spending time with?
Preventing you from worrying about things out of your control!
Self-reflection allows you to direct your energy toward self-improvement, rather than trying to improve others, and change things you have no control over
Why worry about traffic jams, or those with odd opinions, when you can be improving yourself?
Noticing negative patterns in your life!
Self-reflection enables you recognize negative patterns; understand how and why they have a damaging effect on your emotions; allow you to consider alternative approaches and alleviate the stressors.
ie: toxic relationship or work environment
Increasing self-awareness for improved results!
With increased self-awareness, you are more likely to trust your gut when making decisions, and you will feel more confident in your choices!
You will have the courage to face fears and challenges, because you are confident in who you are!
You will be more aware of who YOU are, and what YOU truly want in life!
Other benefits include: developing better critical thinking skills, communication skills, social awareness, empathy, tolerance, creativity, emotional awareness, …
What is an immediate, short-term goal that you have right now?
Do you have a goal to spend more time with family, exercise more, start a new hobby (painting, ping pong, golf, paddle boarding, …)?
these goals could be unrealized (not met) because of lack of self-awareness
you need to know how to direct your behavior, in order to know how to pursue your goal
self-reflection helps you make progress on the goals that will improve the quality of your life
Self-Reflection Tools, Activities and Methods:
Self-reflective journaling is not about jotting down your days’ activities, but rather:
your thoughts, your perspective, your feelings, your actions, the feedback from your environment throughout the day
It is about becoming aware of your actions and behaviors, and the results of those actions and behaviors.
You will think about everything that happened throughout your day, and WRITE down (journal): why it happened, how you felt, why did you feel that way, how is that affiliated to your beliefs and values, …
The purpose of self-reflective journaling is:
to get things out of your head and clear your mind, allowing you to relax
allow you gain insights you may otherwise miss
useful problem-solving tool
Three ways to keep your self-reflective journal:
Notebook – the best! (Your hand is connected directly to your brain and handwriting with no blinking lights, popups, distractions … is the best way to go!)
App – on tablet, phone, laptop, etc (notepad or journaling software, even something as simple as Evernote)
Edward de Bono’s, The Six Thinking Hats, is a simple, effective method that helps to increase productivity, focus and mindfulness. The main idea is that by “mentally” wearing and switching “hats”, you can easily focus and redirect thoughts, a meeting or a conversation.
This process allows you to look at situations and yourself from a different perspective. It can also help you when practicing self-reflection by providing new insight. It is also quite fun!
Are you going to wear a blue, white, yellow, black, red or green hat?
Did you know that asking yourself “why” repeatedly, helps you get to the root of a problem by encouraging analytical flow?
think of a situation: (I didn’t get the promotion, I rocked that presentation today, that hatrick I scored was unexpected, I failed the exam,…); OR a certain feeling: (I was distracted all day, I am in a bad mood, I am unusually upbeat today,…)
once you have a situation or feeling in mind, start asking yourself WHY
do it 5 or 10 times
you will gain new insight into yourself
ie: I was distracted all day
Why was I distracted all day?
maybe I was thinking about the kids activities tonight and the upcoming vacation and having to get immunizations and what to do if the dog gets sick again while we are gone
Why was I thinking about the kids activities tonight?
I may need to get someone to carpool Sally so I can pick up Joe…
Why? because there isn’t enough time between the two
(take steps to arrange this… why be distracted all day?)
Why was I thinking about the upcoming vacation?
I should be making packing lists and determing what we will be doing each day
Why? to ensure we have appropriate clothing for weather and in case we need to buy passes in advance
(set aside some time in your schedule to do this… avoid future distraction)
Why was I thinking about immunizations?
these need to be scheduled
(schedule them! avoid worrying about it any longer)
Why was I thinking about if the dog gets sick again?
I need a plan in place, or decide I can’t control this
Why? because it is causing me stress and really is out of my control
(decide to have a back up plan for the dog or let it go)
This chart is a visual representation of 10 key areas of your life. It allows you to self-reflect and determine how fulfilled or satisfied you are currently in each of the areas. You will assess each area on a scale of 1-10. Then highlight certain areas in red and others in green, and ask yourself “why” for all 10 areas of life.
Self-reflection can change the course of your life simply by better understanding who you are, and what you are. It is all about YOU: your whys, your desires and what you want in life.
Self-reflection is about understanding, tolerance of self, increasing your capacity of love for yourself and others, becoming more aware, and noticing things about yourself and your past that may be contributing to current life patterns and emotional states – positive or negative.
Take time to self-reflect. Dare to be the ideal you!
Stress. One little word that seems to be on many people’s minds these days. If you’re finding stress entering into your day-to-day life, I would like to offer some suggestions on how to alleviate this state of mind. Here’s one simple way. Wayne Dyer says:
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
So what does this mean, exactly? Consider for a moment that an outside event can invoke completely different thoughts for two different people. Person #1 may think – wow, that’s so cool!, or I’m good with that. Meanwhile the exact same event may cause person #2 to melt down or say I am so not good with that. What’s the difference? It’s the immediate unconscious thoughts due to years of conditioning. That’s all.
Consider how you might change your own thoughts and responses to outside things or people. It’s really not important to change people or things (good luck with that anyways), it’s more important to consider your own reaction to the seemingly unchangeable. So just let it go, and change the way you view the thing that is seemingly creating stress for you. Of course that sounds easy but it can be difficult to take either of these actions (changing your thoughts or letting go).
Part of alleviating stress in your life relates to letting go of things you cannot control or change. It’s an inner choice:
– you can choose to stay in an out-of-control spiral where external stressors like people or things typically don’t change; or
– you can remove yourself from the stressor by thinking differently about it; whether it’s for a moment or longer term. So again you basically have two options:
1. Stay the course and continue to feel the stress; or
2. Change your inner thoughts and reaction to the stress event. Then feel the weight lifted off your shoulders (in other words, stress begone!).
Which do you choose? I prefer the one that lessens my stress.
Emotions. Everyone who wants a piece of inner peace say “I”. We discussed thoughts earlier, but consider that your thoughts create your emotions (because without a thought there would be no emotion – where do you think emotion comes from?). It’s true that emotions can be beneficial in some ways and for some things. They’re part of our system of sensing and responding to the world. But try not to let emotions completely control you. They will chew you up and spit you out if you let them run rampant. So please, make a good choice. Never allow another person or event to control your thoughts and emotions.
Again, this sounds simple on paper, and it may be easier said than done. How do you change your thoughts and resulting reactions. Better yet, how do you sustain this change into a learned behaviour? This is where “leverage” may come in handy. Tony Robbins says “Leverage is uncovering what’s most important to a person to help them make the commitment to making a change. To ensure that change is lasting, the commitment has to be overwhelming. It has to overcome the forces of inertia that hold our old behaviours and beliefs in place.”
He goes on to say that “to access leverage, you must…associate massive PAIN to not changing NOW, and massive PLEASURE to changing immediately. The motivation is based on both pain AND pleasure. Pain is short-term motivation, but you need the pleasure side for long-term motivation.”
To sum up, consider how a better life choice decision for alleviating stress, like changing your thoughts or emotional reaction to external events, could help you change your life for the better.
Continue to practice these strategies and you’ll be on your way to living your best life!