This morning I was reading Mara’s newsletter (I highly recommend subscribing, which you can do here). In it, she mentions the simple question we can ask ourselves when practicing self-care: What do I need?
It’s a question we ask every day, several times a day.
I love this because sometimes we complicate self-care. We get caught up in shoulds and checking off tasks. We equate self-care with specific activities — pedicures, bubble baths, exercise, eating certain foods.
In this new series I share links to all kinds of posts, which explore taking kinder care of ourselves — from appreciating our bodies to getting to know ourselves better to expressing our creativity (which goes hand in hand with self-discovery) to feeling our feelings to saying no to saying yes to savoring supportive, healthy relationships.
Because self-care helps us build a more positive body image. Because self-care helps us build fulfilling, satisfying lives. Because self-care simply feels good!
I hope you find these links inspiring and empowering.
12 ways to get out of a bad mood.
Are you missing from the visual story of your life?
A few days ago, in this post, I shared the many qualities that make up our inner critics, from Tara Mohr’s powerful book Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message. Because our inner critic is very different from our core self.
As Tara writes, “You are not the critical voice. You are the person aware of the critical voice. You are the person feeling perplexed by it or bummed out by it or believing it…You are the entity that is hearing the voice.”
Today, I wanted to share more insights from Tara’s book on how we can navigate our inner critic because she offers a helpful and compassionate approach.
Each of us has an inner critic. In fact, we’re hardwired for one, according to Tara Mohr in her fantastic book Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message.
She describes the inner critic as an expression of our safety instinct. It’s the part of us that yearns to stay safe from dangers like hurt, failure, disappointment and rejection.
And it’s a part that we often confuse with our core selves. We assume that the cruel comments are just us. It’s how we are. And they must be true.
We accept the inner critic’s messages wholeheartedly.
Years ago, I used to believe my cruel thoughts wholeheartedly. One reason was because I assumed they were true blue facts. Another reason was because I worried that I was cheating if I didn’t agree with these negative thoughts.
I was somehow doing something wrong if I let them slip by without fully consuming them. I would be letting myself off the hook. I would be taking the easy way out. I wouldn’t be holding myself accountable or responsible. And this wasn’t the right thing to do, I assumed.
Today, is World Mental Health Day. In honor of this day, I’m talking about stigma and seeking professional support. Learn more about this day, and read other pieces here.
When psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, was diagnosed with depression, her initial relief turned into shame. As she writes in her book Living with Depression:
…I felt inadequate and embarrassed by my diagnosis. I knew that society feared anything that strayed from the norm, and the idea of being seen as different, disabled, or dysfunctional really frightened me. I didn’t tell anyone about my depression, kept my medication hidden in a bedside dresser, and kept secret my feelings of failure. I even went so far as to believe that I should hang up my shingle as a practicing psychologist because, clearly, I was incapable of taking care of myself as a person. How could I take care of others as a professional? Despite the fact that I was a psychologist educated in the mind, brain and body, the misconceptions about mental illness shoehorned themselves into my life.
Many people with mental illness internalize society’s negative attitudes and start feeling shame. Many don’t seek help. Because there isn’t just a stigma against mental illness in our society; there’s also a stigma against seeking help.
Author Tina Welling had no idea that she had an underactive thyroid. She was experiencing all the symptoms, such as weakness and frequent infections. She was canceling meetings and outings with friends. Her work schedule was getting tougher and tougher to keep up with.
But she hadn’t noticed any of this — until a blood test showed her levels were off the charts. She’d become numb to her own body.
In addition to sharing links to others’ posts on self-care (along with a few of my own) in these “Self-Care Sunday” posts, I’ll also occasionally share a small tip or idea for taking kinder care of ourselves.
Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite blogs “Eat This Poem.” It’s written by Nicole Gulotta, who I actually interviewed last year about her creative process. In her latest post, Nicole shares this beautiful quote from Laurie Colwin’s book of essays Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen:
Lately, my mind has felt very crowded. There are so many thoughts bumping up against each other in my brain.
You have sooooo much to do. Did you call this person? Pay that bill? Run that errand? You have to revise your book! And think of topics for this month’s articles. You have sooooo much to do. Is it time for grocery shopping? Did you bring that coupon? Nope! Forgot it like you always do. You need to budget better. You have to revise your book! Did you take out the laundry? You need to sweep and wash the floors. The bathroom is not looking good. Why aren’t you writing on your personal blog? You’re soooo behind on email. Did you call that person? Pay that bill? Run that errand? You have to revise your book!
In her piece on the power of story and the quest for our true selves, Justine Musk includes this poem by David Whyte (the last few lines are my favorite):
This is not
the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.
Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.
This is the time
People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.