View this post on Instagram
As women, we grew up reading articles about how to get a guy, how to reach our dreams.
But, in the midst of life, we lost ourselves.
This particularly happens to those of us with human-giver syndrome (reference: Burnout by the Nagoski sisters).
I’m currently in the process of “finding myself,” as they say, and, amongst the tears, sweat, and sleep, I’m finding it helpful to capture concrete ideas during this very nebulous, ambiguous journey.
Here’s what I’ve found to be helpful for those of us working toward transforming our life:
- Research your soul fillers.
For some of you, you already know the list is endless—running, cooking, being with friends, yoga, meditation—but the point is to take some time reflecting on when you feel the most joy, the most “filled,” and jot it down. This research can take some time, it can be fun, and it doesn’t have to be one and done.
- Make a wish list.
So, you poured through books, articles, or just self-reflection, now it’s time to write down the best of the best. Don’t constrain yourself with “oh, my schedule can’t do that” or “I don’t have the money for that”—this is a wish or dream list.
- Talk to family/spouse about the list and how they can help.
This can be tough for us “human givers.” Asking for help provokes shame and guilt. So, buckle up—this is a must. Look at your list together and start to have a conversation about what could really be doable.
- Declare your self-care rules.
For some of us, we run a household full of rules—clear your plate, make your bed, clean up your room, be kind to each other—but it’s less likely we have rules for ourselves. It might be that we harbor a belief system that seems to be our invisible rules we live by, but now, I want you to go concrete. I want you to pick three rules for self-care. Something like, “I will give myself time to meditate three times a week.” Start where it feels doable. I’ll leverage the ideas from the ladies of Burnout to say, make it SCPCSP (Soon, Certain, Positive, Concrete, Specific, Personal).
- Write your rules down and make them visible.
I know, simple, but don’t skip it. Make it an art project, have fun with it!
- Start talking about it with others.
This is your personal campaign trail; “I, Liz Kametz, believe in 60 minutes of exercise four times a week, three long baths, and one indulgent dessert a week.” The more you tell others what you are doing, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable.
- Enlist self-care advocates.
As much as we want to only rely on ourselves to be accountable, this sh*t is hard. These are your campaign junkies, the people you know will send you a quick note to check in—with no judgment, just complete support.
- Periodically (ideally daily), check in with yourself.
A simple hold your hand to your heart, close your eyes, take a deep breath, exhale, and say to yourself, “How are you doing?” This could even be one of your first self-care rules.
- Check in with your loved ones.
Yup, I’m giving in to the human giver a little with this one, but I do believe in some “customer” feedback in the spirit of continuous improvement. So, ask your spouse, friends, colleagues, “What have you observed with my new self-care rules?” Be ready for the answers not always being positive. Part of taking care of yourself might feel like less time taking care of others. But hang in there, you’ll find the time you are spending with the ones you love is filled with way more joy and way less negativity. Quality over quantity.
- Don’t beat yourself up with a blip.
Any “program” that’s a bit concrete can be tough to adhere to. This has some built-in safety nets with the campaign junkies and check-ins, but you’ll still slip. Try to look at it as a way to learn more about yourself, make tweaks to the plan as you need, breathe, and flow through.
Now, go get yourself back—joy and wholeness are waiting for you!