5 Steps to Self-care

It’s important to show compassion and kindness for others, but how often do we treat ourselves with that same level of compassion or kindness? That inner voice will probably be the most important voice you will ever hear and it needs to be nice!

For some people, adding self-care into a daily regimen can seem inconvenient, or time consuming. You may say “I don’t have time for that,” or “I have too many other things to do.” But repeatedly putting the needs of others before our own can lead to a lack of “me time,” which can, in turn, create stress and resentment and prevent us from being our best selves.

Research has shown that adding self-care into one’s daily routine reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical ailment, increases productivity, and inspires feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of compassion and kindness, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a clear, happy mind, thus allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.

But how do you do that when it feels alien to do so? Where do you start?

Here are a few steps to help you on your way, and remember, like any new skill it takes regular practice to create a new habit.

Step 1: Understand what self-care is. 
If you don’t understand what self-care is, then there’s no way for you to develop a new habit. Self-care is any activity that is done with the sole intention to take care of our own mental, emotional and physical health. Self-care is a way of giving back to ourselves in the form of doing activities that fuel us and that are just for us and not for anybody else.

Step 2: Assess what your self-care already is. 
Now it’s time to evaluate your self-care at the current moment, you can use my Coaching Wheel to assist you attached below. Create a self-care assessment to highlight the positive things that you are already doing for yourself, along with any areas where you may be lacking. Start by choosing two of the eight dimensions of wellbeing then as you become more competent you can look further into these: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

Step 3: Find where you could do better and create a self-care plan.
After evaluating your current self-care, did you notice any aspects where you could do better? Maybe you are doing great when it comes to your occupational wellbeing — your career is great, and maybe your financial e.g. paying your bills on time, etc. — but you seem to be forgoing your physical wellbeing.

Create your self-care plan by setting goals to improve in these areas.

“Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely that we can accomplish.

Step 4: Hold yourself accountable to these goals. 
Once you’ve set your plan in motion, the next step is to hold yourself accountable by measuring your success. For example: You can buy a physical calendar and give yourself a gold star every night you manage to sleep seven hours or set yourself a goal to meditate/exercise for a set duration per day/week.

Then, pick a date in the future and say, “I’m going to sleep seven hours a day until X date.” Try it out for 7 days, 30 days, 60 days, or whatever you think is achievable for yourself.

Step 5: Decide a follow up date at a future point and stick to it.
When that date arrives, it’s time to revisit your goal. This is the most important step in your self-care plan because this is where you can see whether you have achieved what you set out to do, or if you need to make some adjustments. It’s a time for reflection.

 

 

Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” If your goal of sleeping seven hours each night has become a habit, you can set a new plan in place to reach a different goal.

Maybe you saw a need for improvement in your social wellbeing dimension when you took your self-care assessment, and you want to now focus on setting up a coffee date with a friend every week.

“The idea is that your self-care plan is always evolving, it’s ever changing, and sometimes we try a self-care plan and it doesn’t work for us — and that’s OK — but we find something else that does. If your plan hasn’t gone accordingly then ask what has got in the way and make the necessary adjustments. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Click here for the Coaching Wheel

 

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Sticking to Those New Goals and 5 Questions to Ask For Success

This time of year, many people make New Year's resolutions or goals for the coming year. You may have decided on Veganuary, Dry January, RED (run every day) or a whole host of others. So why, come the 1st or 2nd week of your resolution, does it all fall by the wayside? Research shows that many get caught up with expectations, especially at the beginning of the New Year, others fall into the media trap – if you listen carefully adverts start persuading us that this is what we should be doing. If yours have fallen apart already then here are 5 reasons why:

You never actually wanted to do it in the first place.

And that’s ok – recognise that it was never your goal, it doesn’t matter if a friend or partner coerced you and you felt you should or ought to – those 2 words should and ought; are a sign that you don’t actually want to – those words lend themselves to a sense of obligation rather than a personal desire.

Re-evaluate the goal or resolution and decide if you actually do want to do it, if not replace it with something you do, that spark interest or excitement – or bin it!

It’s not reasonable

What does this mean – well it simply means that it is not reasonable to achieve this goal. The goal may be too big and need breaking down into smaller steps. You’ve gone vegan but really you adore meat and cannot possibly live a life without. (if you’re saying the same thing about alcohol then that’s something completely different 😊). You’ve signed up to a weekly class that starts at 7pm but you don’t get home until 6.30, starving hungry and it just isn’t going to happen. Whatever the reason for it not being reasonable, it means that you are unlikely to stick to the tasks needed to achieve the goal, therefore, you’re going to fail.

It’s not ecological

Simplistically this refers to it fitting in with your current lifestyle. It means that you have not considered its impact on those around you, your friends, family, work. It’s no good saying you’re going to run a marathon in 3 months’ time but you are already committed to other projects which result in there not being enough time to train or by training, you spend no time with your family and they are left resentful.

It’s not achievable

Is the goal you have decided on costly and you can’t afford it? Is it time-consuming and you don’t reasonably have the time? Is it not realistically achievable in the first place? Does it rely on others?

There are many goals that people set that are simply not achievable – most commonly around weight loss, muscle gain, fitness levels and not to be forgotten – those goals that are reliant on other people’s input – you are accountable for your own actions but cannot guarantee those of others.

You’ve set yourself up to fail

Have you set the bar too high? Are you a perfectionist striving for what, to others, is unrealistic?

Over time these kinds of goals will eat away at your self-esteem, lending you to beginning to believe that you are no good, that you fail. An unhealthy and problematic way of setting yourself goals. If this is you then ask yourself, would (then pick a person you respect or hold in esteem) set themselves this goal and consider themselves able to achieve it?

 

Before you set the next goal use this framework to give you the best chance of success

What do I really want to achieve?

To be answered with positives and be specific.

When do I want to achieve it by?

Setting timescales gives you focus, omitting this allows goals to be ‘when I get around to it’.

What’s the first step?

Breaking down goals into steps makes them even more achievable, congratulate yourself on achieving those steps.

Is it reasonable?

Skydiving with osteoporosis may not be a reasonable goal. Learning to fly a plane is costly, initially and to continue, can you afford it?

Is it ecological?

Will I end up divorced, unemployed or void of friendships if I do this? Does it fit your life well enough, with acceptable adjustments?

How To Be Your Own Best Coach

Our lives are made up of us telling ourselves stories, it’s not a sign of madness just what we all do all the time. We have thoughts about what may happen in the future, what has already happened and how you would like things to go. What we like, what we don’t – we judge ourselves and others.

If you said to your friends what you say to yourself – would you have any? Harsh but often true.

What makes you your own best coach is the quality of those conversations you have with yourself. Now just take a moment and ask yourself – those stories, thoughts, and conversations you have with yourself. Are they good quality, are they useful, are they taking you to the place you want to be.

If the answer is no to any of the above then you need to have a conversation with yourself about what needs to change.

Exercise. Grab a piece of paper and a pen

Question 1

What qualities make a great coach, think of someone you hold in esteem for their abilities to encourage and empower others.

Question 2

What would you like to hear right now from the most fabulous coach that ever existed? Think about those things that you really need to here right now.

Questions 3

What do you need to hear from your future wiser, self - right now? If you could transport yourself 5 years into the future what words of wisdom would your future wiser say to yourself right here and now?

The answers should be something that you would find yourself saying to your best friend, not necessarily fluffy, some of the words below may be a little alien to some of us, they are the words a coach would use so adopting them becomes self-empowering:

Compassionate

Encouraging

Honest

Trusting

Congruent

Kind

Genuine

Empowering

Using these questions result in some very honest feedback, you know yourself better than anybody else – your strengths and weaknesses and how you can sabotage your own success. It is often said that we are our own worst enemy but the good news is that you have more influence over yourself, your thoughts and your conversations than anybody else does and it is absolutely your choice to make a difference to your own outcomes.