When does self-care becomes a bad thing? Yes, while it's great that you take care of yourself, it's possible to do TOO MUCH of it! If you watched or read last week's blog, you know what I mean. I kind of went to the other extreme, and then I found myself needing to figure things out. It's not always healthy to be in the moment and completely ignore that the world continues to go on while you self-care. Keep reading or watch the following video for more...
As you are doing your self-care, you are not working, you're not doing what you should be doing, and that triggers your amygdala. This is a very powerful part of your brain. It's right behind your ear, and its function is to pay attention and make sure that there are no threats. Not only physical threats, but also emotional threats. Being overloaded and having tasks to do is perceived as an emotional threat, so your amygdala gets hijacked, and that's a lot more powerful than the benefits that self-care may have. You get polluted with all kinds of feel-bad chemicals when you're behind schedule, leading you to go into panic mode. We need to find a way to keep those benefits! Let's see how we can do so...
Step 1: Breathe
Picture this: You've took self-care a little too far. You're back from a holiday, you're feeling completely refreshed, but now, you're behind and you feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do. The very, very first step is to breathe. Stop, take deep breaths and calm down.
Step 2: Make a List
Then, you're going to make a list of all the things that you have to do. Make sure you include self-care on that list. When I'm on my business trips, I make lists. I need some time to review my presentation, I need some time to focus on my client, and I also need some time to have a good night's sleep. I need to set up what time I'm going to go to bed, plus I need to set up time to catch up on emails and prepare for some future projects, because next week's presentation needs to be done as well. Make lists!
Step 3: Choose
Focus on one thing. Say: "Okay, now that I've made the list of all the things that I have to do, are there any that are not urgent? Are there any that can wait? Are there any that don't need to get done at all?" That's possible too! Sometimes we have things on our list that should not be. This blog is not about me teaching you how to make priorities, you more likely already know how to differentiate from something urgent, vs important, etc. My point here is to open you to the idea that when you are calm and you control your overwhelm, you are more resourceful to make enlightened choices.
Select the big blocks first, like your working hours, your meetings, appointments, kids sport games, etc. All the things that must be done absolutely. Then make sure you find room for the following: Choose to add to each day at least 3 blocks of 10 to 15 minutes of self-care. Choose to have at least 1 block dedicated to physiological (exercise, eat healthy food, go for a walk, move), 1 block dedicated to psychological (mental break, positive reading, watching a funny video) and 1 block dedicated to social (text a friend, a family member, plan a lunch or coffee, plan a trip). Of course, it can be longer than 15 minutes, especially for physiological, which can be a 7-hour night sleep.
Also, dedicate at least half a day (approx. a 3-hour chunk) for something you enjoy doing, that may not be “productive” at all. Every quarter, schedule a few days off to recharge and restore, and of course, once a year: have a full week or two completely off.
Step 4: Plan It
Once you've made your selection and you chose what you will be focusing on, then you can plan it in your calendar. Make sure that you schedule time for work as well as time for self-care. Even though you have some work to catch up on, planning some time to dance with your daughter in the middle of the kitchen is important! It will also make it much easier, because you will have planned it. You will know that you have some time that's solely dedicated to spending time with your family. Of course, if you have a conventional workweek, a lot of your self-care chunks may be in the evenings, while you will be working during the day. That is possible. I don’t mean that your schedule needs to be so rigid that you need to know at which exact time you will laugh. You want to have flexibility, knowing that if an opportunity presents itself, you can reorganize your time so that you can take the time to be at your son’s basketball game that was not originally planned and you can move things around to allow for spontaneity.
I am happy to offer you a Black Friday Sale until November 30th, 2023. Yes, even my coaching services are discounted... it is time to top up your bank of sessions... Just my way of saying THANK YOU for your continued support.
Check out some of my previous blog posts...
4 Signs to Know If You're Confident
How to Deal With a Coworker That Drives You Nuts
5 Strategies to Get Along