I was transitioning from one yoga pose to the next, noticing the soreness and immobility that had grown from my own neglect.
I'm sorry, I whispered to my body. I'm sorry I got caught up in other things. Let's make this better...
I'd been so busy tending to my work, my loved ones, and my home, that I'd put my body last on the list of things to take care of. And though my body had been crying out for some TLC, I was quietly backing away, and ignoring it.
You know, until I couldn't any longer.
In today's blogcast we're going to learn how to deal with these moments in life when we don't seem to have any time for self care, and keep putting our own needs on the back burner.
Welcome to the blogcast, Unlocking Wellness! I'm Crystal McLain, Licensed Clinical Massage Therapist, Empowerment Coach, and Consciousness Apothecary and I'm exploring ways to unlock our wellness barriers so we can create Self Care Independence, because we find our freedom when we’re living well.
Hello my friend, I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re not then I hope you find this episode helpful. AND, if you’d like to read along while you listen, I offer that feature at my website: crystalmclaincreative.com. You can find a direct link to this episode in the show notes below. And, if you want to make sure you never miss an episode, you can either sign up for my newsletter, or subscribe to my podcast wherever you like to listen most.
Also, if you’d like to support my mission to provide creative self care resources that empower people for a lifetime, you can join The Dream Team over at Patreon and score some sweet perks to help you create Self Care Independence. Memberships start at just $5/month.
So, if you’re into it, I’ll leave links to all this stuff below in the show notes, or, you can just visit me at my website.
Alright, let's get to it.
So, let's take a minute to mention the elephant in the room before we begin.
You may have noticed that my introduction made solid claims to my own self care neglect due to being "too busy". Yet, oddly enough, I also deemed myself qualified to tell you what to do when you find yourself in such situations.
Let me tell you, I'm precisely the person to be delivering information on this topic, and that will become more apparent as we dive deeper into today's post, so, stick with me...
It's taken me a long time to learn the language of my body, and find the time and tools to practice effective, efficient self care. My hope for you here today is that you'll gain some helpful tools to do the same.
Alright, let's suppose, you're all mired up by life's demands without a lick of time to tend to your own needs.
Let me first tell you, I see you, I hear you, and I sympathize with you...creating balance can be a bitch sometimes.
So, let's learn a few things that just might help you during these times.
For starters, let's talk about the illusion of balance.
There's this popular idea that you can do it all. That, my friend, is bullshit.
You are but a mere mortal, my weary Earth dweller, and you must accept your limitations.
But for real. You're only human, and human organisms can only do so much. So don't take your limitations personally. No one can do it all. And if someone is telling you that they can, they are either insanely privileged which means they, themself aren't actually doing it all either, but rather, hiring other people to do some of the shit for them like watch their kids and clean their house. And there's nothing wrong with having that kind of privilege, but you need to understand that we're not all playing on the same field.
Okay, so, they're either privileged or they're full of lies. Or, maybe, they're actually a super hero. I don't know...
What I do know is every single human that I've ever had the chance to discuss such matters with, would confess that they cannot do everything.
There is no "balance" in the sense of equal weights and measures when it comes to life. The balance you're actually trying to achieve in life is something called homeostasis, which is the relative stability within the body. When you're in homeostasis, that means your body and your brain are operating at the optimal levels that they're designed for.
*NOTE: Not all bodies and brains are designed the same. So what I need to achieve homeostasis may not be what you need. And my optimal level may not be as dazzling as yours. It all goes back to privilege. Some people are born with biological advantages. Some have situational advantages. And it's all OKAY. THAT'S LIFE!
But your optimal WELLNESS is always the desired outcome, And your life is an equation where the variables are always changing and shifting. And because the variables are always changing, that means you have to be flexible, and creative when it comes to your self care.
This is what Self Care Independence is all about. It's about figuring out your equation for wellness so you feel empowered taking care of your ass.
So let's redefine what balance means. Let's stop beating ourselves up for not being able to do it all. Let's stop judging ourselves by the stacks of laundry and dirty dishes, and recognize that you are doing as much as you can.
So, the next thing you need to do is challenge the concept that you ARE doing as much as you can.
This isn't gas-lighting. This isn't manipulation. This is unearthing the truth.
I want nothing more for you than for you to show up with an open and compassionate heart towards yourself. I want you to be kind and gentle with yourself. I want you to be loving and nurturing and accepting of all of your gifts, your shortcomings, and your shadows.
But I also want you to be a total badass who calls yourself out on your own bullshit.
Far too many of us have been programmed to accept complete and utter nonsense about ourselves and what we're actually capable of.
Self doubt, lack of confidence, and the ability to seek out roadblocks and excuses like a pro, more often than not are just your scared little brain's way of keeping you safe.
You might have some legit limitations. You may have some real disadvantages. If you do, then you do. But, how many of your perceived deficits are actually nothing more than challenges that make you feel uncomfortable?
Wanna know the best way to deal with discomfort? ...you sit with it. You challenge it.
Avoidance, in my experience, is nothing more than a nasty little thought pattern that's infected my belief-system. And as long as I keep letting the uncomfortable thoughts win, and keep dodging my self care practices, the more I'm going to believe that I'm incapable of following through.
You. Are. Capable. You just have to prove it to yourself.
Okay, Crystal. I'm totally capable of practicing self care, but that doesn't change the fact that I still don't have time.
Alright, that's fair.
Okay, so, you're busy. That's why you clicked on this blogcast in the first place.
So, something you can do when you're strapped for time is let go of the all-or-nothing concept.
I hear a lot of my massage clients say they don't have time to stretch.
I wish you could see my face right now...
We almost always have time to stretch. In fact, while I'm writing this, I'm banging out some stretches. Yeah, you bet your ass I am...
But yeah, we have lots of time to do lots of things. The problem is, we feel like we need to schedule big blocks of time to do them in. And, we feel the need to do them completely or perfectly. Like, if you don't have an hour to devote to your self care practices, then you write off doing anything at all. But the truth is that you don't need an hour. You don't even need a HALF an hour. Hell, you don't even need five minutes for a lot of these things.
I cannot tell you how much time I've spent in my life AVOIDING doing something, that, when it was said and done, actually only took five minutes or less.
Paying a bill, putting the recycling away, flossing, deep breathing, looking out a window, sending a text to say I love you. This shit takes very little time. But they have such a big impact on our overall wellness.
And if you've got something bigger you need to deal with, like starting an exercise routine or changing your bedtime rituals, you can be gradual about it. Devoting a little bit of time is better than devoting no time. Slowly creating new habits is better than not creating them at all.
And if you're looking at heavy hitters that take a bunch of time (and may be kinda scary) like scheduling medical appointments, all I can tell you is that your health and wellness is more important than anything else. If you do not have time, you must make time.
And speaking of time, let's figure out how busy you truly are. And more importantly, let's get REALLY clear about what your self care needs actually are.
When you're busy efficiency is a superpower. So, let's talk about how you're spending your time.
For starters, I'd like to say, I'm really glad you're here with this blogcast. Believe it or not, THIS is a form of self care. You, right here, right now, are working on your self-awareness. And AWARENESS is actually the second key to creating Self Care Independence. So, well done.
But what about the rest of your day? How are you spending it? Take a day or two to become SUPER aware of how you fill up your time. How much of it is spent worrying? How much of it is used on social media? How much time is spent in those weird in-between moments like going to the bathroom, sitting in traffic, or waiting in line?
These are all opportune times to practice a little self care.
So, when you think about self care, things like diet and exercise, bubble baths and a massage might come to mind. But self care is actually anything you can do to achieve that thing we were talking about earlier, homeostasis. And, newsflash, sometimes that has nothing to do with diet, exercise, or a day at the spa.
Sometimes self care isn't on trend. Sometimes it's boring, and very unsexy. Sometimes it's dealing with that slimy head of lettuce in the back of fridge and paying your bills. Sometimes it's confronting a friend about hard feelings. Sometimes it's scheduling a scary doctor's appointment.
All of these things can effect different parts of the self (by the way, I've categorized six different selves, being the physical, emotional, mental, practical, social and spiritual. And each one of these selves plays a part in whether you achieve homeostasis or not.
So, if you're truly busy and have minimal time to dedicate to your self care practices, it's a good idea to get REALLY clear about where you need some TLC. Understanding yourself as a whole organism, mind, body and mother-lovin' soul, is super helpful.
If you need a little help figuring out what your self care needs are, I have a digital guide called, Making Sense of Self Care. It will take you through the steps of authentically identifying each one of your selves. It provides you with more than 140 self care ideas, there's a chart so you can clearly determine your feelings, it's got ways to hack your hormones, there's a daily motivator and self care checklist, AND a few other things including six sneaky ways to incorporate self care into your busy day. And the best part? This guide is only $3.
Okay, enough of the sales pitch.
The reality is, you may not have the time (or the resources) to schedule a massage, or go to the gym, but I'm pretty sure there are OTHER self care techniques that will provide the same benefits. You just have to be willing to explore them and call on your creativity.
And, you've got to be honest about how you're spending your time, and what it is you really need versus what feels convenient and comfortable.
Alright, let's keep going...
Your body is your home, and it's the only place you get to live. And it's easier to live there when you appreciate it. Speaking from experience.
I used to hate just about everything about my body, and I wasn't too keen on who I was as a person either. But there came a time when I became EXHUASTED by my self loathing. I was dedicating so much energy to scrutinizing every inch of my being that it left very little juice for anything else.
It wasn't until I started practicing radical self love that I was able to let that shit go. When I started shifting my mindset about my body, my abilities and my worthiness, I noticed my energy started to increase. When I became grateful for all that I am, and started respecting myself, I was able to take back my power and take better care of myself.
And I'm telling you, if I can do it, so can you.
Remember, you're only human. You can only do what you can do. But you're also capable of doing more than you realize. Get clear about how you're spending your time, and what your needs really are, and start believing in yourself.
I believe in you.
I appreciate you.
I'll see you soon.