The Self-Care Absence Trap

Do you wonder why with all good intentions you set out to make shifts in your life around self-care and seem to bump up against all kinds of things that seem like “must do’s” - and the delayed shifts turn into frustration, resentment, fatigue, poor self-esteem, sometimes snowballing into depression and/or anxiety? It’s most people’s story and yes, it is a trap!

The Self Care Absence Trap

Great news!!! You can start to feel better right now because you are reading this… and hopefully it will help you to understand your pattern that seems to land you in the same process. When you become aware of what your pattern is you’ll be able to take action and shift your choices. With all the responsibilities we have today… care-taking kids and parents, adult children with mental health and/or addition issues, working hard to say afloat financially, students with jobs or any other story we find our life in, overwhelm can often be a culprit of hijacking us into the minutia of daily life’s many details.

I too have experienced this dysfunctional existence. It has taken me years of work to ‘be on to myself’ when I am slipping into a patterned behavior and how I get in my own way of accomplishing the very things that put me into my “A” version of life. The “A” version is when I am doing what I want to be doing… and when I no longer feel that I am in the self-care absence trap. Not only do I lose ‘bad and frustrated’, I gain self-love. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!

Our resistance to making important shifts are the very trap that land us in pattern after pattern. The patterns come in disguise, often making it tricky for us to recognize but our process is the same. So, for instance, I have found myself with all good intentions planning to meditate, practice yoga, walk my dog twice daily, run my business, network and maintain my social life. My to do list used to seem never ending - and as a result - my self-care took a back seat. Once I came from a place of acceptance that my life had me wearing many hats and knowing the things I could not control that had me weighed down (people, places and things), I could use this awareness and acceptance to refocus on the shifts I needed to make, to put myself first.  Yes, this may feel selfish for some, but I promise you, it is a good selfish and great modeling for our loved ones. It can even take us out of enabling roles we don’t even know we are in. (more on this in my next post)

Using a paper calendar has enhanced my productivity and self-care level because in the face of the digital world, there is something remarkable when we put pen to paper and write down our self-care, as if we are attending the most pressing meeting! I would encourage you to begin by simply making a plan and tracking your feelings around getting things done - and - not getting things done. No expectations to start. After a week you can look at how you’ve done and you’ll have an awareness of your triggers that hijack you from being your best self. Jumping into action to avoid the pitfalls of staying on track will be your best friend. Small steps lead to big shifts. Start simply and be gentle.