What are you doing to help yourself during challenging times? Is your response, “What can I do?”, or “Doing the best I can”? Are you doing the best you can? Sometimes I believe we are and sometimes this is a habitual response which prevents us from recognizing it’s an excuse. An excuse because it can be our way of letting ourselves off the hook and avoid taking full responsibility for our lives and our outcomes.
A number of my presentations recently have requested to include ways people can decrease their stress and improve the quality of their life. The primary way to accomplish this is to take greater responsibility for ourselves; basically improve our self-care.
The challenge with self-care is twofold. First, it has gotten a bad rap from those who have abused it as a guise to their selfishness. Keep in mind anything beneficial to the opposite extreme taints the value. Second, it has been deemed as “fluff” by hard core people who overlook tending to the intangible (inner work) as the means to obtaining the tangible (outer results).
Excellent self-care in my view encompasses a greater good concept. It is always implemented with gentleness and has a certain ease in the unfolding. That isn’t to say it is necessarily received in that manner. For example when you set a boundary or walk away from an abusive relationship (professionally or personally) the recipient of your boundary may be reactionary. However, that is ultimate self-care and in the greater good for all involved.
There are four main areas for consideration when focusing on self-care:
- Reclaim control of your life
- Allow other people the dignity of their life
- Recharge when life throws a curve ball
- Persist through adversity
Though each of these could be a topic all their own let’s look briefly at the areas for things you can do to help yourself. In addition there will be a key question to ask yourself to monitor how well you are doing in each area.
Things you can do to reclaim control of your life:
- Practice centered breathing technique
- Work with affirmations
Key question to monitor how well you are doing, “Does that thought, word or action serve me well?” If so, great, keep thinking, saying, or doing it. If not, change it!
Things you can do to allow other people the dignity of their life:
- Apply the concept live and let live. Lip service won’t work. You probably agree with me lip service isn’t enough without the application yet what do you do? How do you live? Are you living you’re life to your full potential? Or are you so consumed with what other people do and how they live?
- Let live says we allow people the dignity of their life. Dignity means we let others be who they are without judgment. This of course is easier said than done. When you’re busy monitoring other people’s lives, who’s living your life? In fact what’s really happening when we judge others is an attempt to degrade or prove them wrong to make ourselves feel better or prove ourselves right. This is like taking a drug with serious side effects – it temporarily alleviates one issue and causes harm in other aspects!!
Key question to monitor how well you are doing, “How do I feel when someone is treating me in a manner different than how I prefer to be treated?” Strong word of caution here to be ware of justifications such as, “Well, I’m not the one who . . .” or “They deserve . . .”
Things you can do to recharge when life throws a curve ball:
- Remember it’s not WHAT happens, it’s HOW you respond to what happens
- Heighten your awareness by a commitment to daily self-development – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually
Key question to monitor how well you are doing, “What can I think, say, or do that will help me at this moment?” Simply asking this question will shift the energy to a more beneficial and positive perspective.
Things you can do to persist through adversity:
- Recognize where you put your focus. What you focus on grows!
- Be of service – lend a helping hand – utilize your gifts (we all have them!) – practice spiritual principles
- Consider, “What if everything is Perfect?” (I’ve received a number of great stories to include in the book, remember to submit yours, click here)
Key question to monitor how well you’re doing, “What if my next miracle/success/relief is an inch away?”
How well are you handling the challenges in your life? It isn’t a question if challenges will show up rather when, how many and how will you respond. Your response is determined by your ability to practice excellent self-care. Start making improvements in your self-care and watch yourself improve how you move through challenges. Effective self-care won’t eliminate challenges, however it will prevent additional and unnecessary hardship from ineffectively managing the challenges you do face. What one small action could you take today to enhance your self-care?