True self care

true self careBuzzword alert – today we’re going to talk about self care.

This idea is everywhere in the spiritual growth sphere right now. EVERYWHERE.

And the advice largely consists of take a bubble bath/get your nails done/hang out with the girlfriends…

All well and good. I love a pedicure as much as the next girl. But advice like this really just skims the surface of what it truly means to indulge in some radical self care.

So what is self care?

Cushions.

Self care is about creating cushions in your life.

A financial cushion should you lose your job, your home or have to get out of a relationship real quick.

An emotional cushion for when friendships falter, relationships end or loved ones let you down.

A cushion of time and space to absorb the inevitable time sucks we come across in every day life.

Self care is about creating the conditions in your life that allow you to be resilient to the ups and downs of living.

How do you practice this kind of self care?

This kind of self care – actively encouraging resilience – is work for the long term. It means saving money, clearing debt, fostering strong friendships, making sustainable health and fitness choices and cutting unnecessary crap from your life.

By all means have a bubble bath and paint your nails. But don’t mistake those indulgences for true self care.

Unsubscribe 

Unsubscribe

In the last few days I’ve gone on an unsubscribe flurry.

Some newsletters I no longer needed (like how to make your baby sleep (hint: they don’t)), some just didn’t resonate with me anymore.

One in particular caught my eye – a coach I subscribed to when working through the Beautiful You Coaching course. I had a few unread emails from her – this either means I love them and want to read them in peace, or I’m getting tired of them.

Sadly, this newsletter fell into the latter category.

I was ready to hit unsubscribe when I saw the subject line of her last email. A guide for multipassionate introverts.

Me.

Of course I opened it. I had to – curiosity got the better of me.

All the right words were there. She knew what I needed. If I wanted to stay sane as a multipassionate introvert, all I needed to do was follow her simple three step process:

1. Start with why (oh please no…)
2. Work out what’s most important to you (really?)
3. Stop thinking & take action (just like that…)

Groundbreaking stuff, no?

No.

That email was not enough to save her – in fact it sealed her fate and she got ditched. Why?

Because she was trading on buzzwords without knowing her audience, and the insincerity of it was almost painful.

I don’t have room in my inbox or my life for people who pretend to understand me but who are really just jumping on the latest social media/blogging buzzword because they think they can niche it easily.

I’m over the fluff. Personal-development-lite is everywhere in the blogosphere, but most of the content out there is the same-old-same-old, sometimes with a new spin but mostly just regurgitated with a big smile and some buzzwords bolted on (bonus points for flower crowns).

Real growth, real change, takes work. It takes spending time in the darkest parts of your soul and examining what you find there. It takes experimentation. It takes patience. It takes commitment.

It’s way more than a three step process.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then I invite you to hang around. I won’t always get it right, but I do promise to stick to my own three step process:

1. Keep trying
2. Not wear flower crowns, floaty dresses or look blissed-serious on a beach
3. Listen

What you’ll find here is a mishmash of what I’m into with the practical ways I’m trying to make it work in my life.

I hope it works for your life too xx

Beginnings

Beginnings are easy; maintenance is hard

Beginnings are easy.

The excitement of the blank page (digital or analogue), the thrill of a new exercise or eating choice, the joy of seeing an empty inbox.

Yes, starting is easy.

Maintenance? That’s the hard bit. Keeping going with the new idea or routine. You might get…

…bored, frustrated, distracted, disillusioned, scared, angry, overwhelmed…

…and you stop.

I know I do. Even when it’s something I love doing. Especially so, in fact. Exercise, daily tarot draws and writing help keep my heart light, my mind bright and my soul strong. But, in an extraordinary example of constant self-sabotage, these are the things that get dropped more often than not.

Why? Because beginning implies that we will continue (forever and ever and ever and ever…and I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment).

Clearing my inbox down to zero today implies I’ll keep it clear today and the next day and the next day.

Implicit within the act of drawing a card and journalling about it is the understanding I’ll do the same thing tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

Beginnings are light and exciting. Maintenance is heavy and hard work.

And so I lurch from one extreme to another. Inbox zero to 300 unread emails. Training for a marathon to little more than 10,000 steps a day. Complex daily spreads to ignoring my cards for months on end.

Deep within the heart of this lies guilt. Guilt that we make a commitment (to others, to ourselves) and we’re not able to keep it. Guilt that we’re taking time for ourselves. Guilt that we’re not doing it better/faster/stronger/righter.

How can we get around this? How can we change the constant lurching from one extreme to another, and live more on an even keel?

I don’t have a foolproof answer, but what’s working for me right now is to take each day as a new beginning. To ask myself if today I want to begin inbox zero. Or writing two pages. Or drawing a card for the day.

And tomorrow? I check in with whether I want to begin again.

Some days I don’t – and that’s fine. Because I can always begin again tomorrow.

And so life becomes a series of beginnings, and I focus less on the energy required to maintain those beginnings.

How long will this hack last and be effective? Who know. But for me, right here right now, it’s working.

And you? What are your tricks for maintenance mode?