A new approach to self-care

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Let’s begin with where we are.

It all begins in our heads, most often, while we’re still at work. “I’ll just write one more email, then I’ll go home.” It’s 8:50pm. “If only we had the budget to hire 2 more people, then this program would help more people, but where do we get the money?” (Insert your conversation here)

I get it. When we signed up for the roles we did, it was because something really mattered to us. There’s so much happening in the world today that needs people to speak up, be a fierce advocate for those who don’t have voices, to stand out in the sea of social media to be heard, raise awareness and help be part of the solution.

I spent a number of years working in the not-for-profit sector. I experienced first-hand the lack of funds to operate, let alone assist those who were in need. I’ve listened to countless conversations trying to come up with new ideas for raising awareness, sharing a more compelling campaign so people will open their wallets. Long nights trying to make $1,000 pay for services valued at $10,000.

So, what do we do?

What we’re doing isn’t working. Burnout, stress, depression and so many talented people are leaving the not-for-profit world for conventional jobs. They’ve lost their passion.

The answer isn’t to work harder or longer or continuing to do the work of 3 people.

The answer is to begin taking better care of ourselves.

Let’s go back to our heads with a new view.

The first thing Flight attendants tell you to do if the oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartment is to put your mask on first.

Take a moment to picture yourself sitting on an airplane. You're listening to the flight attendant and you close your eyes. When was the last time you took a whole weekend off & didn’t check your work email? Do you remember waking up in the morning & not having work be the first thing that pops into your head?

Take a sec and put that oxygen mask on. Take a deep breath in & slowly let it out. I highly recommend doing it a few times.

We’re going to take a different approach to where we are.

I invite you to get honest with yourself. There’s no one else here but you. This isn’t about solving anything right now, it’s about listening.

What are you longing for right now? Maybe it’s more sleep, time to yourself, hope, more energy, less worry. Take a moment to listen, your body’s so wise. It knows.

What’s the first thing that came up for you? Don’t think about it too long, your ‘to-do’ list will creep in & take over.

The key to making a change is to first recognize what’s here. Not to deny that you’re exhausted & possibly disheartened, just accept it. Working longer and harder isn’t going to solve your exhaustion.

The 1st step to your new approach to self-care is to recognize where you are. You are not your job. You are the one that’s been working for so long at your job.

I spent my career thinking I was my job. I was respected, successful and I worked all the time. I had no social life. I had my work. I was passionate about what I did, too. Then I didn’t have my job. I lost everything, my identity and my career. I fell into a depression and had to find a new purpose for living. Asking for help and learning I wasn’t my job were the two greatest things I did for myself that began my journey to learning about self care for me.

Self-care is so much more than pedicures and bubble baths. It’s learning to say no to that committee that can’t survive without you. It’s learning to take time during your day to turn off your devices, even for 10 minutes, and day dream or go for a walk around the block. It’s about listening to your body and not your thoughts.

I’m really looking forward to leading the webinar on July 25th, A New Approach to Self-Care. I hope you’ll join us. I’ll be sharing tips on learning to manage your thoughts and so much more.

I’d like to leave you with a short passage from the book, Self Compassion, by Kristen Neff. “From the Buddhist point of view, you have to care about yourself before you can really care about other people. If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that can only lead to feelings of separation and isolation.” (Page 7)

Beth McKay is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Facilitator, Motivational speaker and a Wonder Woman. Her innate ability to make things happen and ‘get it done’ led her to founding The Bodacious Way. Beth coaches women stuck in the never-ending story of over-working, over-doing, over-achieving, over everything. Contact her today at beth@bethmckay.com.

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