Greetings from my office in sunny Saskatoon. The key word being, sunny. October was a month of grey around here. It seems the funk wasn’t unique to me or to Mother Nature and for that, I’m extending out a “hey, how is everyone doing?”
I’ve read a lot of posts lately on self-care. A lot. And I’m not sure if it’s the time of year or if everyone is just feeling “it”. “It” meaning dull, in a rut, sluggish, lethargic, bleh, etc. What I do know, is I’m tired of the sluggishness, the lack of motivation and the self-induced guilt trips. Hell, I’m just tired. I was inspired to write this by my home girl Annice Elaine Wellness. Her recent posts on self-care were as if she was inside of my head, reading my never ending chatter. I know you all know what I’m talking about. That voice that reminds me I didn’t go for my run, I’ve watched too much Netflix, I didn’t tackle my to do list and I sure as hell have not been holding up my end of self-care. She challenges each of us to come home to worship; November of self-care. So, challenge accepted.
I’m a therapist. I help people do this every day. I’m supposed to be good at this myself, right? Wrong. I go home and I’m completely drained. As in the thought of leaving the house is unimaginable. And so begins the barrage of shoulds.
“You should send those emails”
“You should write that blog post”
“You should really go to the gym”
“You should…You should… You SHOULD”
How about this, we NEED TO STOP SHOULDING ALL OVER OURSELVES. Yes, you. Me. All of us. Shoulds are exhausting, draining and quite frankly, provide zero motivation. Shoulds are not productive. They are time and energy suckers.
So I’m coming at you, with the sun in the sky and a little bit of momentum to demand you stop shoulding and start doing. Yes, doing. Do something. Doing nothing and saying you should do something is still doing something. That something is guilt’ing, draining and unhelpful. We need to bring a level of consciousness into what we decide to do. Don’t mindlessly scroll Facebook for 30 minutes. Don’t numb yourself episode after episode on Netflix. Choose to be present in whatever it is you decide to do. Facebook? Give yourself a time limit and creep away. Wanna Netflix? Okay. Sit down and WATCH the show. A little self-acknowledgement can go a long way. Need to go get groceries? Make your list. Want to go for a run? Put on your shoes. Commit to starting; to doing something. Starting is the objective, the overall task is the outcome. Momentum is everything. I know it is much easier to motivate myself for a walk around the block than a 5km run. But do you know what? Rarely do I go for the walk once I’m outside. Hell, I never do. I start running.
Since we are talking about funks I also need to recognize that I’m pretty shitty at keeping myself accountable. It’s why I don’t buy chips. Because if I do, I will literally eat ALL THE CHIPS. Even though I SHOULDNT. I know I should go to the gym and I know all of the reasons why. For starters, it’s good for me. I’m a better person. It feels good. It makes me happy. But, most nights, especially this past month, I’ve found myself in yet another Netflix binge. And by binge I mean watching to the point that Netflix even shames me “hey Lisa, are you still watching?” Why yes, Netflix, I am #passthechips.
So, accountability. I have committed to making myself accountable to my own self-care. How? I have started an accountability list. I’ve given myself permission to do whatever I want, but first I must answer these three questions:
1. Were you creative?
2. Did you exercise?
3. Did you get outside?
I keep this list in my notes, on my phone. Before I reach for the remote, I look at this list. Let me be clear, this list isn’t my guilt trip; it’s my own practice of mindfulness. I can simply answer no and move on. More often than not, I want to say yes and I want to do those three things that make me feel better. These questions bring me back into myself. This process gives me momentum.
I am going to challenge you do create your list of musts and I am going to ask that you also stop shoulding on yourself.
Hoping you all find your own piece of sunshine,