Being Versus Doing
If ever there was a season when we risk getting whipped into frenzy, it’s autumn. Now’s the time to practice balancing active achievement (doing) and introspection (being) – so you maintain ample reserves going into winter. These two “energies” in harmony keep you dynamic. Out of sync, you become stressed from too much on your plate.
Especially in North America, equilibrium is vital. Yes, the “hurry up sickness” that characterizes our daily professional and personal worlds has become common-place; it’s virtually unquestioned. Feeling stuck on a never-ending treadmill, many get trapped in constant doing. We forget we’re here to have a ‘human experience’ (not to mention humane). Not the other way around!
In coaching, we use the term extreme self-care to describe this critical need for regular renewal. I know, as soon as they hear it, many clients jump to the (false) conclusion the term means “selfish”. Not so! It simply refers to caring for yourself, if you’re to be of service to others. When you continuously put everyone first, isn’t this a surefire recipe for burnout?
Why do you think airlines encourage you to put on your own emergency oxygen mask before assisting a fellow passenger? Because if you don’t, you may die before rescuing the next person! By extension, making time for your nurturing – first and foremost – results in you being more present (i.e., available) to your loved ones, friends and colleagues. On the other hand, when you forever sacrifice your very-legitimate needs, they feel it through your bubbling resentment.
The Top Ten List
At this point, are you intrigued by the possibilities extreme self-care offers? I wish so! But I also understand if you’re wondering where and how to start.
The answer is both simple and complex. You decide to free your self. You create your own permission. Others won’t necessarily grant it. After all, if you’re not strong enough internally to dedicate some portion of your day to just you, how can you expect external leeway? If anything, others may try to blame you – because they feel too guilty to make time for themselves!
Here’s my Top Ten list for remembering my center – in the hopes it helps you generate yours:
- Take walks.
- Play with our cats J
- Listen to music.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Enjoy the corner of my office decorated with objects that calm mind and spirit.
- Engage in journaling and reflection – if even for 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day.
- Begin and end each day with an expression of gratitude.
- Make choices around what’s important using both my head and heart.
- Learn to say no to involvements that aren’t aligned with what I value.
In case you conclude I find it easy to dole out all this advice, think again. Like you, I struggle to stay connected to my interior. Like you, I need to consistently remember to set aside opportunities for activities that nourish me.
I’m now looking upon self-care as oxygen…a matter of survival. I now choose to fiercely tend my priorities (what Stephen Covey calls the “Big Rocks”). The pursuit of busyness no longer gets to override the people and commitments MOST important to me. They go in my calendar first!
How about you? On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how ready are you to place your self-care ahead of the countless demands that compete for your attention?
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans…The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now!” (Goethe)