Love it or hate it, February is deeply linked with Saint Valentine’s Day. Whether you view the day as a celebration of romantic love with a partner or love for family, friends (Galentine’s Day anyone?) planet or self – it’s a day of positivity. Here at florandorder, we personally like that there’s a day dedicated to love as the world could always use more.
February is the month to discuss how important self-care is. It gives us space to sustain the energy we need to keep those fresh New Year vibes coursing through. Whether you’re a small business owner, professional, just someone getting through the day, parent, carer, young adult, student – it doesn’t matter what you are and what you’re trying to achieve, self-care should be your priority.
Where does self-care rate on your awareness scale? High, or not at all?
If you’re not sure, another telling way is to ask yourself: what have you got planned this week that’s just for you?
The reason I ask is because your productivity levels and ability to achieve what you set out to do are directly linked to your personal energy.
Caring for yourself – mind, body and spirit – is all part and parcel of topping up that energy. But it doesn’t just happen by accident and it’s a very different story for each individual. Chinese Medicine Doctor, Dr Bruce Stafford, says that we’re all dealt different cards when discussing people’s ability to be productive. He talks about how an individual’s amount of sleep and how much energy is available to that person, impacts how we achieve our goals.
Self-care has long been a passion of mine. When I see clients letting it fall by the wayside, I see it as my mission to bring it back into their lives. With some effort and willingness towards shifting their mind-shift, self-care becomes a priority. It becomes something that warrants being scheduled in like any other important commitment.
Think about the last time you found it challenging to stay focused and on task. What factors were at play? A bad night’s sleep? Too much on your plate? Delving into the factors that have tripped you up in the past will help you in the future and help build your self-care checklist.
Ideally, with self-care prioritised scheduled into your life, you’ll very rarely feel depleted (but hey, life happens!).
Becoming aware of when you are in need of refueling is critical to avoiding depletion. So when it all seems too hard and you want to throw in the towel, move to Tasmania immediately and live off the grid… well those urges become fewer and fewer.
Take the time to reflect on what stress feels like to you. What does feeling run down feel like? How do you know when you’re getting sick? When was the last time you pushed on and shouldn’t have? All this information is gold.
Now turn your attention towards more happier things: what renews you, restores you, refreshes you? Here’s a list I’ve come up with just from my own experience:
Make a list of your own and what you have is your own ideas suited to you, to scheduling time to yourself. It’s easier to create this list when you’re not having your worst day ever, trust me! This way, when the worst day of your life is happening, you have something to turn to rather than having to exert energy thinking about it. One less decision to make when you’re not up for it.
The next step is to schedule one or more of what you identified above into your current habits and routines. Consider what you need to be able to regularly meet this goal. When does it best fit into your week or day?
Scheduling is an incredible asset when it comes to self-care.
I realised that on days I go to the gym, I feel more awake and productive. That I need to start every day with movement. If I don’t go to the gym in the morning, I get out and walk or run. To make this happen, what I’ve done is schedule it into my calendar. I’ve even enlisted the help of my housemate who will walk with me, making sure that I get out of bed. There’s always a way to make it happen.
As we’ve explored, self-care can be any number of things, but ‘nothing’ is often what I hear from clients who need downtime.
Over the Holiday Season, I asked myself, “What do you really want to do?”
“Nothing.” Was the confident inner reply.
Diving a bit deeper I found that maybe it’s not about organising, and maybe it’s not about productivity. It’s about paring things back to as simple as possible so that there’s more time to do ‘nothing’. More time to be still, sit, explore, think, not worry, to not be caught up in the rat race.
This discussion with myself led me to think about how I can offer the best possible coaching to others. How can I help others pare back? Pare back so that their goals and wants have centre stage. To help others make the most of their time; maximise their efforts and link up tasks so they don’t have to exert themselves too much.
When I used to work in an office I always found the Monday ritual of swapping weekend stories interesting. Particularly that people’s version of ‘not a lot’ and ‘nothing’ greatly varied. Moving into a share house in Melbourne further showed this to me. There’s a joke in the house that my version of ‘nothing’ is actually my housemate’s version of productive. I can’t help it that even on the occasion when we’ve both been hungover that I manage to get a load of laundry done while we’re watching a TV show, prepare my meals for the week ahead, and I’ll manage to repair a shirt or two. I look busy but really I’m quite content.
People relax in different ways. An ideal day in for me is one where I potter and get a whole lot of things around the house, ticking off my mental or physical to-do list. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t say that relaxing is nothing, it still has a purpose. We’re rarely doing nothing, even napping has a purpose, and hanging out with a friend even in silence, is still socialising. So I’m interested, what’s nothing to you? What did you actually do while this ‘nothing’ occurred?
Diving into what ‘nothing’ means for you is useful when exploring your time beliefs and interactions. Time beliefs largely influence our views on how we can spend our time and whether we deserve to put time aside for self-care.
Are you in the camp that believes they don’t have enough time to do everything? Or are you comfortable and realistic about the amount of time available?
If you believe you are always lacking in time, this will be your experience until you shift your perspective. No organising tool or system will help be a quick fix. It’s about building that refreshed relationship.
I’d highly recommend reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. A huge takeaway from his work is the way he enables the reader to build a positive relationship with time. He also helps with the understanding that you are where time comes from. It’s worth repeating, YOU are time. He has exercises to ease yourself into this perspective which can really make life so much easier.
Another useful dynamic to understand about how you and time get along is to distinguish if you are a ‘through time’ or an ‘in time’ person? A ‘through time’ person is always conscious of what time it is and what’s next on for the day. If you know that you’ve got an appointment at 5pm and it takes thirty minutes to get there so at 4:15pm you start putting away your task, you’re an ‘through time’ person.
An ‘in time’ person is someone who lives moment to moment and they don’t have a strong internal clock ticking away. An ‘in time’ person can be completely absorbed in what they’re doing and then realise that they should have left ten minutes ago to get to their next appointment on time.
Armed with this information, your relationship with time will make more sense and enable you to set up systems that fit as well as keep you on track throughout the year.
I hope you have a loving February and take time for yourself.
If you’d like to discuss this article a bit more, explore how time impacts your success, or need assistance in sustaining your New Years energy, please contact me.