Self-care, healthy coping, and loving yourself, can all be interchangeable. Which verbiage appeals to you most? In this blog, we will look at the art of caring for oneself through a couple of different lenses. What works for one person will not necessarily work for everyone. Yet, what is true for all, is rarely anything transformed in a positive way from hate and neglect. This includes YOU!
The main obstacles to self-care:
- “I don’t have enough time.”
- Find the wasted time that does nothing to help you feel better.
- Example: social media. I can usually help my clients find at least 30-60 minutes per day (most of the time way more) by eliminating or cutting back on their social screen time. Most people report that scrolling has become habitual and even addictive; moreover, making them feel worse, not better.
- “I don’t have enough energy.”
- Find your energy leak.
- Example: toxic relationships. If someone in your life is constantly a downer or demands too much of you, either can be a significant energy leak. Advocating for yourself, creating boundaries, and teaching others how to treat you, is essential, no matter the relationship.
- “I don’t know what to do.”
- Well…it is PERSONAL! So, let’s dive into finding what may work best for YOU!
One of my mentors, Dr. Dorie McCubbrey, has a systematic way of looking at healthy coping skills that I have adopted as a coach and often use. The idea, as I explain it, is that you have FIVE BUCKETS. You want to try to name as many things as possible you like for each. The buckets that are the fullest are YOUR go-to healthy coping skills. Here are the five buckets and some examples of what may go in each.
- Bucket #1 – Recreation (uplifting, fun activities) – Hiking or Tennis
- Bucket #2 – Relaxation (stress relief strategies) – Massage or Watching a sunrise/sunset
- Bucket #3 – Reward (special treats) – Buying tickets to a fun event or a new pair of shoes
- Bucket #4 – Responsibility (distract with these tasks) – Cleaning or Creating a Savings Plan
- Bucket #5 – Recovery (review, reflect, resolve) – Journaling & Prayer
Personally, I can fill buckets 2 and 4 very quickly, followed by 5, so those are my main go-to’s! When life seems a bit overwhelming, these are the buckets from which I pull; yes, massages and cleaning do wonders for me. Ha! Prayer is always powerful too. I also help my clients find their buckets, a very effective effort once the skills are top of mind.
Another way to take care of oneself and surf the waters of life is through our FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES. If you have never read Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages,” I encourage you to buy a copy immediately. Now, the book and quiz are created to help intimate partners love each other in the way they each feel the most loved. However, I think this easily translates to how we love ourselves as well. Here are the five love languages and an example of how they can apply.
- Language #1 – Words of Affirmation – Talk nicely to yourself and challenge the inner critic.
- Language #2 – Quality Time – Make time to be alone and do something like read a book.
- Language #3 – Receiving Gifts – Buy fresh flowers for yourself each week.
- Language #4 – Acts of Service – Find a new recipe and make a something yummy for yourself.
- Language #5 – Physical Touch – Honor sensory pleasures by wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket or cuddling a furbaby.
My primary love languages are 1 and 5. How I speak to myself is important, and prioritizing physical comfort makes me feel good. I have had many ah-ha moments with clients as they look at their love languages, not just for their relationships, but for themselves.
Whatever your goals are, please keep in mind that with love and care as your foundation, you can overcome the challenges of life; little and big. Now…go find your buckets and love languages.
This blog is dedicated to my Daddy who passed away too soon, and I have now missed him for 25 years! He would have been 74 years old today. He is the first human I loved and who taught me how to feel love. His creative and playful soul forever resides in the memories of my heart.
With love and light – Sarah Lee