10 (More) Big Things you need to do for REAL self-care

Unlock Your Wellbeing Blog

10 (More) Big Things you need to do for REAL self-care

Following on from our first Blog about Real Self Care, here are some more significant actions you can make to make a real difference.

  1. Learn to say “no” when you need to

We often say “yes” to things we really don’t want to do. You might think that’s a good thing – it keeps the peace.  And whilst we can sometimes decide to do something we don’t want to do because we want to please the person, or at least not disappoint them, that should be an occasional “BLIP” rather than the way we operate all the time.

Many of us are serial people pleasers. We are terrified to say no. But that often has more to do with our fragile self-esteem or an unhelpful outdated belief, such as “people will only like me if I do whatever they want”. We are then left spending our precious time and energy on things others want to do, with seething resentment leaking out of us and end up exhausted, trying to also squeeze in the things we actually want to do.

Now of course there will always be times when it behoves us to do tasks or projects we aren’t too keen on – at work, for example, to meet the requirements of our jobs or to shine if we are on the lookout for promotions or bonuses.  There will also be occasions when we will do something we would rather not for someone else because we care about them. But these should be “occasions” not our permanent way of being. We should be clear with ourselves about why we are doing it and accept it “this time only.”

How can we say “no” kindly?

  • Thank you for thinking of me, but I can’t help at the moment
  • I’m not able to do that, but I might know someone who can
  • Sorry, I am completely flat out, so I won’t be able to come.
  • That’s kind of you to ask but it’s a “no” from me this time.
  • I’m sorry, I know you were hoping I could help, but it’s just not possible
  • I am a bit tied up at the moment – can I get back to you when I have time to listen?
  • Thanks, but It’s not really my thing, I wouldn’t enjoy it
  • That would be lovely, but can we make it later in the year?

Find a way of saying “no” that you feel comfortable with and try it out. I can reassure you that the sky will NOT fall down just because you said no! And you have freed yourself from doing something you didn’t want to do and can now do what you need to do for your own self-care without feeling guilty.

  1. Tame your inner voice

If you were to write out, word for word, things your inner voice/narrative says to you, you would immediately want to sue it for defamation of (your) character, lying, inaccuracies and cruelty.  We need to TAME that inner dialogue – many of us have it burning away inside of us making our lives a misery. Start noticing the way you talk to/about yourself and check it out – is it being helpful or (highly likely) harmful.  It is often full of “should/shouldn’t” “oughts”, “musts”, catastrophic thoughts, and generally being down on ourselves. This needs to change, and quickly. Imagine that your mind is a garden. All of those unhelpful and harmful thoughts are weeds, they need to be taken out so the things you actually want to blossom and flourish in there can have some space.

Taming and weeding out that critical inner voice is a HUGELY important self-care task. Make it a new habit you get into, checking and challenging your thoughts, replacing them with supportive and positive ones.

  1. Do things your “future self” will thank you for.

I find this a very useful little tactic.  If you want to do a task but leave it for “later”, you are often just creating a very crammed, messy and chaotic “list of things to do that I am endlessly putting off”. Remember that time when you completed a task that had been hanging over you for ages? Or the time you cleared the kitchen sink completely? Or tidied out the cupboard under the stairs? The feeling of satisfaction? How pleased were you with yourself?  You can get that feeling often if you make some little shifts to do tasks to please your future self – and that future self might be only 10 minutes into the future!!! Tick it off your “to-do” list. Dopamine hit right there!! Note to self: get your car cleaned, you will be so pleased with yourself!

  1. Make sure you have things in your life that you can put your heart and soul into

It could be your work.  Some of us are very lucky to have work that we love so it doesn’t (always) feel like work.  But for others it might be finding a hobby we love, being part of a group or family that we adore, and some of us find that we give our heart and souls to our pets or animals. Fill your time with things that absorb you – and do them, don’t wait for this or that or the time to be perfect – do them anyway.  Exhaust yourself with things that you are passionate about, rather than feeling fatigued doing listless or gruelling things – there is a big difference to those types of tiredness.

  1. Be gentle on yourself if you make mistakes.

In the heat of the moment, when we do something wrong, we can feel like this is going to define us and we have failed completely. People will judge us only on this and we feel shame and guilt.

Or not. What if we were kinder to ourselves. Remind ourselves that everyone fails sometimes? Forgave ourselves for our mistakes? Rather than castigate ourselves, we can choose to pause. To take a deep breath, allow ourselves to calm down and then consider what we did, what would have been better and what we can do differently in future. We can acknowledge that what we did was not our best. We can apologise (properly) if we need to and make amends. We can learn and grow rather than cower in negative self-judgement.

  1. Give senseless drama the elbow.

Senseless drama is another waste of our energy. Newsflash – You Don’t Need to Join In All the Drama Around You.

It can be tremendously difficult not to engage with dramas around us – defending ourselves, attacking others, enjoying the drama of other people’s lives, giving our opinion and judgement, getting angry, frustrated or upset. But it is terribly draining to live on that High Wire and life is too short to be constantly arguing and in conflict with others

It isn’t easy, but perhaps sometimes the best course of action is saying nothing – think of it this way “don’t waste your words on people who deserve your silence”!

Can you find a way of moving on from it all with your head held high? Whilst at the same time telling yourself that calmness is a superpower?

Help yourself to move forward to a more peaceful life

  1. Be true to your Values and let them guide you

Whether you do the right thing or the wrong thing, people will judge you. So make the things you do be in line with your Values and you will feel comfortable within yourself that you have done the right thing, even when people judge or even REJECT you

Being able to accept the slings and arrow that will come your way with equanimity is easier if you are operating in line with your Values.  Have you identified YOUR Values?  We have a great half day course on doing just that – so contact us for further details.   What matters is how you see yourself in the mirror – true to your Values or acting against them.

  1. Start looking for silver linings

Our “Science of Happiness” course emphasises the importance of training your mind to see the good things even on days where there don’t appear to have been any.  Perhaps especially on those days.

So look out for:

Glimmers instead of Triggers

Green Flags as well as Red Flags

Life jackets to keep you afloat – what are yours? Friends? Music? Running? Jigsaws? Laughter? Trees? Your pet?

This is REAL Self-Care. This is doing what is necessary to truly care for yourself by making your path through life as easy and positive as it can be. Stripping back “stuff” and “drama” and boosting your understanding of yourself and what matters and then focussing your attention there.

Contact us for details on any of the above – anne-marie@UnlockYourWellbeing.co.uk

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