A commitment to radical self care during stress got me through the first six months of 2019. As easy as it is to skimp or skip altogether those habits during times of stress or “extra” things (to do or on your mind) they are most critical then.
Before I tell you a little about how I handled my super-stress, I’ll share a secret.
The private clients I’ve worked with for over 20 years have left me clues. Students in group programs have too. The ones who want to cancel or postpone because they’re busy are the ones who struggle most.
When You Most Need It
Listen. No one needs a coach when they’re on the path going in an accelerated way to where they want to be! You most need it (and I most need it: yes, I work with a coach for many reasons business or new sport goal and I will until I die because I hope that’s the only time I won’t want to do something better faster than I could on my own).
I remember, about 15 years ago, I competed in a small local triathlon over the 4thof July weekend while I was back home. A triathlon starts early, athletes are there earlier, and it’s a very early wake up call for any spectators. So my son and mom stayed in bed. I had a “podium” finish and placed in my age group (did I mention s-m-a-l-l?). When I let them know on the way home how I’d done my mother’s reaction was this:
“If I’d have known you were going to win I’d have come!”
Smooth Sailing is Easy Solo
I just smiled. The words I was thinking, and may or may not have said, are that, I would have needed you more if I was last! I can celebrate easily, but the need to keep going, to think about the right things happens when it’s not going well!
Even my son, then about 12 understood that. Sure it’s great to have people watching when you make those three-pointers or you chip it in, but you want to ride home with your family when it all goes sideways.
So it’s key for you and I to dig into commitment when it’s hardest to do so. Its not really commitment if you don’t, right? It’s relying on willpower and motivation. I’ve spoken and written many times about the difference. You don’t willpower your way through anything for long. You’re committed to anything you truly want to be successful.
It’s Not Hard, It’s Just Easy to Keep Going
It’s hard, until it’s not. Someone spoke those words to me recently. I’ve made major changes because of it. The “hard” part is the resistance. You and I resist change. We see ourselves a certain way and we get really comfortable seeing that image, even if we see ourselves in a struggle.
You may accept your role as one who will always struggle. If you’ve accepted that you’ll always struggle with your weight or that you have bad genes or whatever story you’re telling yourself, until you change that thought pattern, you will certainly struggle.
You may have believed something for so long that it’s hard to change that core belief. We like to be right. So if you’ve gone down a wrong path for a long time you’re possibly committed to that and continue to make more wrong choices for yourself.
Rerouting Your GPS
Is it time to do a u-turn?
As women, we struggle with radical self care at any time, let alone radical self care during stress times. In fact, if you know a woman who does it, you may secretly (if you admit it) think she’s selfish. We confuse those words self care and selfish.
It makes sense. Most of us didn’t see our mothers or grandmothers (depending on your birth order) observe a strong commitment to self care or hear them encourage it. In fact, I’ve learned much from watching my niece and younger generations.
Teaching Radical Self Care During Stress
But if we’re to support future generations, it’s our role to have the “stress talk” with them. Share with them that self care is like a vitamin, or insurance. You wouldn’t think of cancelling your insurance in your 50s would you? (You might think about it, but you wouldn’t do it). Neither should you skip self care (or a vitamin – you can’t “eat healthy” enough to overcome micronutrient gaps that kill your metabolism, hormones, and energy).
You may need to realize that the level of self care you observe now and what you believe to be self care will change. Like a “hard” workout at first some day will become your warm up, you’ll level up. What you think of as radical self care may be your daily habits later.
My Radical Self Care During Stress
There were certain things I actually needed to do the last 6 months that were necessary. I had to take glutathione and a binder to support mold detox in my body. That was non-negotiable.
But other things I had to commit to as I worked on decreasing mold exposure and the detox from my body were more pleasant.
A Healing Touch
I had a weekly massage for the last two months. That may have been more or less, as I opted for 90 minute massage one week and 60 two weeks and skipped the 4thsometimes, but the idea is the same. I dedicated time to reducing tension before the tension became another source of stress.
I committed to a workout schedule that kept me on track around a positive goal. While it’s easy to say, I don’t have time to train for that now, the training kept me focused on a positive goal. That suggested to me, that this stress will end, and then on the other side I’ll be where I want to be. There were days I decreased, swapped a long run for a hike, or made other adjustments. But I created the plan and worked the plan first. Random acts of anything get random results at best.
I used my sauna daily when I wasn’t traveling and until I’d packed it for the move. While it’s amazing for metabolism and recovery from exercise (not immediately after!) it is also supporting natural detox. I needed all the boost there I could from mold exposure. Even without mold we are all exposed so much to environmental toxins that an infrared sauna is an excellent practice.
I hiked. As the weather finally made it more conducive to get on paths I said my goodbyes to several familiar trails and a few new ones.
I remained committed to high quality food that I need. Right until the end and in the cooler I packed for the car on the way to a new location. At gas stations, I grabbed water, sunflower seeds, and veggies and tossed the ranch dressing. The grocery store was a first stop. I “camped” the last night in my house in Boulder because I was packed and loaded. I “camped” the first two nights in my Scottsdale house. You can really get by on so very little. It’s refreshing in fact to do it.
From Discipline to Daily Habits
It takes some discipline to do anything at first that is out of your normal routine. That is the definition of radical self care during stress or anytime.
In the Café (Flipping 50’s members-only area) I’m asking members to choose what their self care would look like this month. The difference is deciding.You probably know what your radical self care is but you’re not doing it. It’s something you know you need and want to do, you want having done it to describe you, but you can’t seem to commit.
It could be…
- A trip to the store and buying the supplies to stick to a smoothie for breakfast and lunch for a month. (studies show two smoothies a day – made with high quality ingredients – favor weight loss, natural detox, and hormone balance when accompanied by a high quality dinner)
- A daily morning meditation or walking ritual
- A short evening yoga session
- Four weeks of massage
- Setting your sleep routine or taking it back
I encourage you to make a shift and commit.
- What would radical self care look like for you this next 30 days?
- What would you do daily?
- What would you do weekly?
- How would this help your end goal?
I’d love to hear what this is for you.
This has nothing to do with money, expense and investment. It happens in your brain. Your mindset shift to doing it and justifying it as important as anything else on your to-do list.
So while massage may feel like an expense you can’t invest time or money in. You could substitute stretching, or yoga at home using videos or a self-practice.
Share your comments. You’ll inspire someone else. I know it. Someone else needs to hear how you’re going to take radical self care during stress or any time. When you’ve got lots of speed bumps it may look different than when things go well. Remember radical self care during stress is more, not less important.
You need more resilience, and more support, and you get to be in charge of deciding what that is. (Psst, it’s not really another glass of wine.)