Episode 27: Real Self-Care
You are listening to the Confidence Catalyst Podcast with LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles episode 27: Real Self-Care
Welcome back my friends! Another glorious week with glorious sweater weather. This is my all time favorite time of the year. So wherever you’re at I hope it’s fantastic for you.
Fall also means that school is back in session, holidays are on their way, summer is over and back into the routine of daily living. My daughter started back with her church youth group. She’s younger so they took the summer off and to start it back up again they planned this fun family picnic. It was still warm so they had a slip-n-slide and fun stuff.
Are you taking time for you?
But while I was there this sweet lady from church came up and was talking to me about all the things she noticed I had going on in my life. She said, “you have your business, your weekly podcast, you homeschool your kids and take them to their activities, you have several callings, and keeping up with your house, I just don’t know how you do it all. I worry about you. Are you doing okay? You do a lot, are you doing too much? Are you taking time to take care of you?”
I love this lady. She’s so sweet and cute. My husband and I smiled at her and I could emphatically tell her that things are amazing. I told her self-care was first and foremost and because I value that so highly everything else fits and works itself out.
How do you do all that you do?
I’ve been asked this question on multiple occasions so I wanted to hop on here this week and talk to you about what my self-care looks like and how you’re going to want to adopt it into your own life.
I don’t think of myself as doing so much or high and mighty by any means. Everything I’m able to do is a result of this self-care and I want to help you out so you can feel amazing no matter what the season is, what you’ve got going on in your life, and how busy things might be. It is entirely possible to do the seemingly impossible.
So self-care is a term we hear pretty often. It gets thrown around and talked about a lot in the media. If you were to google self-care you’d see several ideas of what people think it is, things like:
Take a bubble bath
Take a walk
Have lunch in the park
Go to the beach
Go for a hike
or go out with friends
Go to a movie with a friend
Play board games
Plan a trip
Get a pedicure or manicure
Get a massage
Eat your favorite meal or dessert
Listen to music
Rent a movie
Play video games
Read a book
Put on clean clothes
Wash your face
Say no more
Say yes more
Avoid triggers – I think if we did this no one would get anything done ever
Eat good food
Get more sleep
What do you notice about that list? I’m not knocking it by the way, I think we can and should do several of those things but that is not real self-care and I’ll tell you why.
All focused on DOING, EXTERNAL, OUTSIDE OF YOU
Self-care isn’t something you have to go and do. A lot of people can’t go on trips when they’re feeling depleted. They don’t have time or money to get pedicures. Bubble baths are great but they aren’t solving what the problem is in the first place.
Self-care starts in the mind because it’s your mind creating the need for it in the first place. Think about that. Say you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. So you want to relax, you need some self-care so you hop in your warm bubble bath and you’re confused because you still can’t relax. For a few minutes the warmth feels amazing but then you’re still tired, you’re still overwhelmed, you’re still stressed. This is because you didn’t address what was creating the overwhelm and stress in the first place.
Remember, your THOUGHTS – what you’re thinking and believing is what is creating your FEELINGS. You think it’s because you have SO MUCH going on that you’re stressed but it’s not. You’re overwhelmed and stressed because you’re thinking that you have SO MUCH going on and you shouldn’t or that it’s hard or it’s just too much.
Your thoughts create stress
The things you have in your life are just things. It’s all circumstances. But the way you label it, talk about it, think about it creates how you feel. Are you choosing to think about it in a way that creates overwhelm? What about this, are you choosing to think about it in a way that creates stress? Are you thinking about it in a way where you feel the need to run away and escape?
So we think these thoughts and we feel these feelings and then we want to stop feeling them so we think the answer is in going and doing things. If I just take a minute and get a pedicure then I’ll feel better. But thinking this is operating from a mixed-up model.
You’re believing that your actions can create a feeling for you but that’s not how it works. Feelings don’t come from actions. They come from what you’re thinking. Which is why you still feel all the feels even after you’ve tried doing all those actions. It just doesn’t work.
Why I Banned the word, A LOT
I recently banned the word A LOT from my vocabulary in certain contexts. It was such a sneaky thought that I didn’t catch it for a while. Then I noticed I was telling myself and others, “oh, there’s just a lot going on right now”. “I have a lot to do”. “There’s still a lot happening”. “There’s a lot left that I need to get to.”
Each time I’d think that I immediately felt a wave of overwhelm which is not a good feeling to motivate you to go and do. Overwhelm is an indulgent feeling, one where when you feel it, you want to stop what you’re doing. You want to grab your phone and scroll through social media. You want to find and devour the nearest sugar you can. These actions don’t fix the problem they only add to the problem because now you still. Haven’t move forward but you’ve added extra calories to the mix and more thoughts that accompany that!
So I decided to ban that word a lot and instead just tell myself I have things. Instead of I have a lot to do. It turned to, “I have things to do”. Telling myself that was way different that I have a lot – it was just like, “yeah, and?” Almost like, “so what?” And when I told myself I have things to do, my brain was like, “alright, let’s do this, what’s next?” then I got way more done this way than I ever did telling myself a lot.
Self-Care is really MIND care
Self-care is managing your mind so you don’t create a life that you need to escape from, that you need to take breaks from. You can still take breaks and do all the things listed. I have no issues with any of those things but you want to do those things because you WANT to not because you think you NEED to or that it’ll MAKE you feel differently.
I love taking walks, playing games, listening to music, especially reading books but I don’t do it to escape any feelings. Like I mentioned last week, you can process negative feelings and still move forward. They’re not stop signs, they’re more like yield signs. Slow down, process them, and move forward.
Self-care is also listening to yourself and getting really clear about what you’re wanting to do and commit to and why. It’s checking your motives and making sure you like why you’re choosing to do certain things and it’s learning to say yes to some things and it’s also learning that it’s more than okay to say no to some things. Just make sure you like your reasons for both.
Check your motives
If I say yes because I’m afraid I’ll hurt the other person’s feelings, then my motives aren’t from love, they’re from fear. And when I’m not operating from love I pay the price for that. I create resentment, frustration, overwhelm because I’m contending with myself inside. There’s this inner battle happening and I need to make sure I can say yes and like my reasons for it and then I can go forward even with things that maybe aren’t as fun. But because I managed my mind around it I’m not adding in extra feelings that create overwhelm or a need to escape.
Same with saying no or making commitments. Self-care is checking in with yourself and getting really clear on what you want and why you want it.
A lot of the time we use the term self-care to give ourselves permission to do things that give us quick or temporary relief. Getting a manicure isn’t going to generate relief from all the stress and overwhelm you’ve created but in that moment of sitting still and having something pretty we get a quick burst of dopamine and it feels good. So then our brain craves theses little dopamine hits and associates this feeling with that activity and so you find yourself wanting more of it. But we fail to realize that we’re the ones creating the negative emotions that we’re trying to run from in the first place.
For me when things got a little crazy at home with my kiddos I’d feel the desire to escape. I wanted to be away from cranky kids, the messy house, the tattling or whatever it was at that moment and I’d give myself an out. I’d feel the urge to leave this current state where it was loud, or frustrating and my brain would say, “hey, you should just run to Target, I’m pretty sure you need shampoo at Target” – and I’d agree and thought it sounded like a wonderful idea because after all, self-care, right? I thought I was taking care of myself for leaving the situation and giving myself some quiet time. Plus Target is pretty and has fun things to look at. Then I’d end up buying more things than just shampoo and I’d come home feeling so much better than I did when I left because those things I bought presented an opportunity to think new thoughts like, “This will so pretty in my house. It’s been a crazy day. I deserve this.” And I get that dopamine that my brain thought it needed.
This was also a major problems with this because I was spending more than I wanted to spend. I only loved the pretty things for a short while then it was just more clutter. I wasn’t allowing the negative emotions but running away from them entirely and most of all, what I was masking as self-care wasn’t caring. It wasn’t tackling the real problem which is always our thoughts. Shopping wasn’t fixing the thoughts that created the feeling that I was trying to run away from.
Dependent on dopamine
So this became a cycle. Each time I’d feel overwhelmed I’d have the urge to go shopping and I’d give in because I wanted to feel better but nothing was being solved. It was just perpetuating this cycle with net negative results. I became psychologically dependent on it and I thought I needed that action to feel better. I didn’t know that I was just creating a cycle of perpetuating the negativity and turmoil.
This is why self-care is really in the mind. Learning to manage your mind is critical because your thoughts create your entire experience. How you think about your circumstances literally creates a chain reaction that creates your experience. It creates how you feel, how you show up and behave, what you create and ultimately what results you get.
Don’t buy into it
My kids are still loud sometimes, they still argue, they still tattle. There are still times that I feel the urge to run to Target. But I don’t buy into it. I don’t need the quick, fleeting, temporary dopamine hit, it’s fluff. It looks appealing but in the end, it’s empty.
I know that I can create lasting joy and that I can create the kind of experience I really want, a fulfilling experience, a long term happiness. Also, I know that what I’m feeling is because of a sentence in my mind and I know how to process that feeling. You need to go back and catch episode 26 on allowing negative emotions to help you learn how to process these emotions and move forward without relying on imitation pleasures and false claims of relief.
Bubbles baths aren’t self-care?
Because let’s be real, bubble baths are great but they won’t fix what’s creating the overwhelm. It’s temporary, fleeting, and fake. Learn to manage your mind so you don’t need to escape. Manage your mind and because you feel happy, joyful, full you still go and get a pedicure, it’s not because you NEED it to feel better, it’s because you already feel amazing that you want to go do something more.
Learning how to manage your mind is the only thing that will stop the negative feelings in the first place. Managing your mind eliminates the overwhelm, the frustration, the stress, the worry, and the anxiety and think about it – it’s these culprits that make you want to reach out and find self-care.
What do you really want?
When it was loud, or chaotic in my house I thought I wanted quiet. I thought I needed to escape but what I really wanted was the feeling that I’d get when it was quiet – the feeling I’d create when it was quiet. When I hopped in the car by myself, away from the kid madness and wandered around Target I felt calm. That’s what I wanted and so I was resistant to feel frustration or allow the negative feelings that I was creating, that I didn’t know I was creating. So now, self-care looks like asking these two questions:
1.) What do I want right now? What do I think I need right now?
For a lot of us that’s usually an action or changing the circumstance. It’d look something like, “I need them to stop what they’re doing and be quiet”. And that’s usually where most of us stop. The problem here is we’re arguing with what is. We’re trying to change reality instead of accepting it and moving forward. So question two then:
2.) If I got what I wanted, if everything happened the way I think I want it to, how would I feel?
What we really want isn’t ever a thing or a different circumstance. What we really want is the feeling. For me, when it was quiet I felt calm. I wanted calm and I didn’t think I could have calm with madness at home. So I wanted to escape. But now that I know how to give myself true self-care I process the emotions and I ask myself these two questions. I pinpoint what I really, really want and then I got to work figuring out how to create that for myself.
How can I feel what I want to feel right now?
I ask myself questions like, “What would calm think right now? What would calm do and look like in this situation?” And then I move forward. This, doing this, learning how to manage your mind, realizing that you are the one that’s creating the need and urge to escape in the first place and then realizing that you also have the power to fix everything is an amazing space.
True self-care is learning how to manage your mind so that you can truly enjoy life’s experiences – all of them – the madness, the crazy days, all the things due or happening or going on and not feeling like you need to run, escape, or avoid anything. This is lasting. This is real and it is powerful.
When people talk to me about my schedule I know they don’t understand. They say things like, “Oh I couldn’t do that! That’s just too much. I don’t know how you do it” and to them with the way they’re thinking about it, it’s true. They might not be able to handle it yet. But when you learn how to manage your mind you have the power to take control over your life. You have the power to enjoy rich, meaningful moments mixed with both the amazing and the not so amazing.
It’s all within you
It feels incredible to not have to rely or feel like I need something outside of me to feel better, to find relief. It’s incredible to create a life you never need relief from.
This is true self-care. When you manage your mind you can still do all those other things but you do them for the enjoyment of them instead of needing something from them. Think about how different that experience is. Going on a trip not because you feel like you need the time to rest and escape but going on that trip to savor each moment, to be present each moment because you already feel amazing. This changes everything.
Come join this incredible membership
This is also what we focus a lot on in the Catalyst membership. We talk a lot about learning to manage your mind, to process and allow negative emotions, to realize your power as both the problem and the solution. Think about how much your world would change if you could learn to manage your mind instead of needing to escape your life.
Game changer. Come join me over at members.thecatalystcoaching.com and learn how to do this yourself.
I’ve taken on way more than I ever thought I could and I’m not stressed, I’m not overwhelmed, I’m not losing tons of money at Target – some, but that’s by choice and not out of necessity. It’s all a matter of managing your mind. You don’t need anything external, you just need to learn how to cultivate and create an inner sanctuary.
You are the catalyst. It’s within you. I’d love to have you in the group. It’s amazing. Okay all, talk to you next week!