My self-care sucks, my diet is joke, I haven’t worked out regularly in months, I’m disconnected from my husband and my kids are driving me nuts!!!! How am I an “expert” when it seems my own life is such chaos. Who am I to help people? Why would someone come to me and expect their life to get better?
Sound familiar? Are you a therapist who feels like a fraud when it comes to balance and taking care of yourself? You are not alone! I asked “What is your biggest block to self-care” in a group of psychotherapists I received this as one of the answers. In a matter of a few hours there were almost 100 resounding “me too”, “did you read my mind”, “I feel like that all the time” responses.
I decided to address some of those blocks in today’s blog post. Before we delve into some ways to work around blocks, I want to invite you to consider something. Is it possible your expectations for yourself are a tad bit unreasonable? It is not unusual for us to have reasonable and achievable expectations for others but much more unrealistic and unreasonable expectations for ourselves. So just maybe you are expecting yourself to not only take care of others but take fabulous care of YOU all the time with no real help or plan on HOW you are going to do that? Maybe what you need is some support and guidance to better self-care? Feel free to check out my self-care coaching here if you are feeling led to have some extra support.
Now let’s look at a few of these “complaints” from the clinician in paragraph one.
My self-care sucks- First of all, by what definition? Maybe you are not as bad off as you think and with a little effort in learning about all encompassing self-care you would feel better about what to include. It is a mission of mine to make self-care a way of thinking, a way of life rather than another “to-do list” of things that we check off. A well-rounded self-care plan includes a look at values, relationships with yourself and others, spiritual practices that nourish you, friendships that help you thrive, having ways to nurture your creative side, playfulness and more! Take some time to really learn what you need to include in a self-care plan that won’t suck.
My diet is a joke- again by what definition? Is it truly terrible all the time or just sometimes? It may really be terrible all the time and here I invite you to think about why you would constantly feed yourself junk. Most of us try to force veggies down our kids mouths and want our loved ones to eat healthy. Why? Because we want them to be in great health of course! Don’t we desire the same for ourselves? I often find when I work one on one or in small groups with others that we often put other people’s well-being above our own well-being and are often more responsible for their emotions than we are for our own. This often comes down to BOUNDARIES or rather lack of boundaries. It can also indicate a need to work on valuing ourselves and our health and other self-esteem type work.
I haven’t worked out regularly in months- This screams either lack of motivation OR lack of time! Going with the lack of time for the focus today, what may help you is to learn better time management. We have probably all had a course or had a part of a class focus on time management at some point in our lives but have you ever really taken the time to focus on time management? It doesn’t seem all that sexy to analyze what you do with your time. In fact, I have some people resist this with all they have and even state “but I don’t want to know how much time I have wasted watching TV (or insert another mindless time sucking activity of your choice here). I will argue though, that if you do not know how you use your time, you cannot use it more effectively. Check out the link below to a previous post on time and get access to a free time analysis quiz and tool.
I’m disconnected from my husband and my kids are driving me nuts- If we assume the disconnection here is not a true marital problem that needs to be addressed then it likely goes back to the lack of boundaries and putting others above ourselves. If we spend all day absorbing the energy and taking care of clients and then we come home and do the same thing every single night, it seems likely that we will feel disconnected and overwhelmed (AKA my kids are driving me nuts). If we do not fill our own cup then it becomes empty and if we continue to try to give from an empty cup, guess what? We can’t! We know this logically and rationally but recognizing that we must take time out for ourselves to recharge and actually taking time for ourselves are two different things! One trick that works for many, when we get here, is planning! Put yourself on your calendar. Make a date to get a massage, take yourself to your fav park and walk or hike, take a bubble bath (with the door locked) and commit to not canceling on yourself. Think of it this way, do you cancel on your clients? Do you cancel on your family? Many of us would never even consider cancelling an appointment with a client (unless you have what you deem a “good” reason) but we often cancel on ourselves without giving it a second thought. No wonder we get resentful of giving! When we refuel we often feel the most connected to our spouse, partners and kids. Try it!
My gift to you…a FREE one hour NBCC approved Continuing Education course on self-care. Take an hour out of your day and take the course. Maybe you will learn something about self-care that will re-start your journey to healthy and happy and less disconnect and self-neglect!
Success! Now check your email for the link and password to your FREE CE course on self-care!
Photo by Manu praba