Surround Yourself with Strengths Inspiration

In difficult times, especially, it can be comforting to reach out to others and to examine how they positively impact our lives.

The “Who’s at Your Table, Strengths Edition” is an exercise to examine who you allow into your inner circle and how they bring strengths to your life and elicit strengths in you.

Check out the video and let me know what you think! If you prefer a pdf, here’s a link.

Self-care is NOT Selfish

Before you dive into these words, take a look at this image.

Look at the water, replenishing this beautiful, living, growing, life-giving plant.

Is the plant selfish for being watered?

I think not!

Selfish is a word that is loaded with a ton of shame, at least for me.  And that, in turn, can add stress to an already difficult time we are all facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Do any of these resonate for you?

  • You need to take care of everyone else first.
  • Get all your work done, and then, maybe you can play.
  • You’re not allowed to rest until you collapse in exhaustion or sickness.
  • Taking care of yourself first brings shame.
  • Saying no is selfish.
  • When you do try to do something for you, your family seeks you out like a fierce game of hide and seek!
  • When you manage to sneak away, even to the bathroom for a luxurious solitary pee, or even bath, you feel reenergized, yet slightly guilty.

Here’s the truth:

(aka what I’ve learned in all of my training, research, and the school of life!)

You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted, sick, fried, resentful. 

Repeat after me: I am not my best self when I play the martyr.

Your loved ones deserve your mentally and physically healthy, refreshed self, and if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’re heading down a slippery slope without a helmet! And then, who’s going to be the superhero in your family?

Trust me. I was trained to care for others first. From a very early age I felt it was my job to be sure others were happy and not in conflict.

It’s not served me well. Autoimmune illness, check. Crash and burn, check. Shame spirals that overcome me at times, check. 

At 55, I am learning that caring for me is not selfish, it’s essential. I hope you learn this sooner, and have some extra bonus years of joy!

What will you do today for YOU? 

It can be as simple as finding a quiet place to drink your coffee and savor the birdsong, waking gently before diving into your to-do list! 

It can be a short mindful breathing practice, or maybe even a loving kindness meditation!

It can be treating your body with some gentle stretching and movement.

It can be slathering on some beautiful fragrant (safer skin care of course!0 lotion

It can be baking something that makes the house smell like your favorite holiday. 

It’s really up to you!

Let me know your thoughts on this concept of self-care/selfish?  And let me know what you will commit to today, even if it’s something that takes under 5 minutes! 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Coaching in this time of “new normal”

I’m not even sure what “normal” is anymore, but I do know that many people are being challenged beyond their limits, knowing that they’re not quite functioning they way they’d like to be, but not sure what to do about it.

I’d like to share that I’m part of an incredible group of coaches, Health Coaches Without Borders, and we are offering free individual and group coaching for a 4 week period beginning soon!

Check out their site, and check out my group offering! Spaces are still available! I’m offering a 4 week group for women who fall into any of these categories:  moms, helping professionals, teachers, and basically anyone who could use a little bit of time, support and compassion at a time when life is anything but “normal.” We’ll work on building hope, confidence, realistic optimism and come away with a feeling and deep knowledge that we are not alone.

Please reach out at contact@joanyounghealthcoach.com with any questions! Registration ends April 22nd! My group begins May 2nd!

Who’s Taking Care of You? 7 Simple Tips to Get Back in the Self Care Groove

Who’s taking care of you? 

It better be YOU!

When was the last time you sat peacefully sipping on __________, feeling alive and excited for the day?  

When was the last time you felt comfortable in your body, excited to put on your clothes, and energized for any activity you desired?

When was the last time you took some time for yourself, went off and read a book or took a hike, and later regretted it?

When was the last time you sat down to a meal you created (ok maybe you took a picture and posted it too!) and said, Damn! This is nurturing my body AND it tastes amazing!

If you can’t find the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. Many of us are far more able to generously care for others but lose track of ourselves in the process.  

Here are 7 simple tricks to get back in the self-care groove:

 

1.Practice the pause before you say yes. 

 

Many of us are so accustomed to pleasing others, we hear the yes coming out of our mouths before our minds catch up. Sometimes the best thing to do when someone asks you to do yet another thing is pause first. Sometimes this pause will create a moment for the asker where they realize they can actually do it themselves! Practice saying these words in your head: Let me think about that. 

 

2. If the pause doesn’t work, ask yourself a couple questions: 

Am I going to regret agreeing to this? What toll will this take on my: a) sleep b) other work c) relationships d) joy?

 

 

3.Take 5 minutes alone, anywhere, and get them on your calendar every darn day. Make sure your kids, significant other, coworkers, whoever, know that you are NOT available. Start with 5 minutes as you train others that you deserve this time and increase up to an amount of time that will work for you! What to do during those minutes? Perhaps some mindful breathing, journaling, listening to a song you love will energize and motivate you to create more time for you! 

4. Brainstorm a list of foods that delight your senses AND make you feel energized. My favorites in the summer: frozen blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries that I keep in my freezer at all times. When that sweet craving hits, I am prepared.

5. Listen to your body!

When you feel compelled to push through something but your body says, “Hell No!” you’re better off listening. Injuries happen when we are tired or hurting. It takes practice, but with some attention you can notice cues that tell you, no workout today, just rest! 

6. Connect with others: 

Don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to a friend, smiling at someone in the store, (especially a little person as they often smile back!) We are social creatures who sometimes forget how much we need to be seen and valued by others. Today: send a message or call someone you’ve been missing! Get a date on the calendar before another year goes by. 

7. Challenge that inner critic: 

You probably know who I mean! All of us have those limiting voices inside that focus on what’s wrong not strong. Take a moment to pause when you hear that critical self-talk and ask yourself: Is this true? Chances are, it’s b.s. You are whole, smart, beautiful, loving, and genuine. Take my word for it and tell that critic to take a hike! Need more practice? Check out the resource for Loving Kindness meditation at the end of this post.

 

Resources:

Free Loving Kindness Meditations by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, one of my favorite researchers. 

           Check out this article to learn more about challenging your limiting beliefs.

Start an Appreciation Journal

The concept of collecting and savoring messages from students and parents over the years is not new to me. I keep handwritten notes and cards in a box that I occasionally stumble upon when I am looking for something else. 

Instead of this random walk of discovery, I am going to take the advice of Forest Fein, meditation instructor, and create an Appreciation Journal. I will use a simple Google doc to record the year, the statement that a student said, and the date. I will also take a picture of any cards, photos, handwritten notes and upload them there. 

Why savor appreciation? 

It affirms us and the impact we make on the world.

It helps us through tough times when we feel unappreciated. 

It helps us express gratitude for the work we do.

Why not try it?