self care

No Time for Self Care?

Try this simple strategy for 30 days and enjoy the benefits of a calmer, more efficient and more enjoyable life. There are so many apparent reasons we might feel exhausted in our current society, right? We are over-stimulated with information and over-saturated with tasks. We have little if any, quiet time, privacy in our work spaces, or opportunity for self care. There always seems to be a sense of urgency and a shortage of time. It would be easy to blame our circumstances and to point to work, money, or time as a cause for our exhaustion, overwhelm and frustration.

What if the underlying cause of our exhaustion isn’t related to time, money or work?

There is no question. It is our thoughts and reactions to external stimulus in our lives that cause us to feel depleted or overwhelmed, not the circumstances themselves. When the copier breaks just prior to a deadline we have a choice. We can run to Kinko’s or embarrass ourselves kicking the copier. It is how we choose to deal with the circumstances in our lives that determine our level of inner peace. It’s how we feel and what we tell ourselves that cause our hormonal upheaval, and stress responses. I’d like to offer you a simple template for reclaiming some of your vital energy, and sanity. The acronym for this simple technique is easy to remember! It is a word you’ve used to answer the following question many times: “How are you?” “I’m Fine.”

F.I.N.E. stands for Food, Intermission, Needs and Energy.

The idea is simple, teach yourself to check in every couple of hours throughout your day and evening. Five minutes is all it takes to reestablish a positive connecting to your body and your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Noticing is the first step in making a radical shift in your self care regime.

Set an alarm on your phone for 2-hour intervals. Choose a place that you can go for your self care check-in ahead of time. Sit and quiet your mind by breathing into your abdomen, relax the physical tension and then begin to ask the questions above. You may wish to write your answers in the template provided below at first and see how things change over a couple of weeks. You are developing a positive habit, give yourself ample time for the changes to take root.

      • FOOD – Ask yourself, “When did I last eat?” “Do I need some food now?” Later, experiment with different types of foods, healthy snacks, timing, etc.
      • INTERMISSION – Find a quiet, private space, even a bathroom stall will do, and check-in. “How do I feel physically, emotionally, and mentally?” Really look beneath the surface, be honest with yourself about how you actually feel. Once you can begin to perceive and acknowledge feelings there are many techniques to help you deal with them in the moment in ways that will not up-end your day.
      • NEEDS – Based on how you feel, ask, “What do I need?” What could help you improve your wellbeing in this moment? This could be a small shift of attention, intention or perspective. It could be communicating with a colleague or family member. There are many options that will help you communicate your needs more clearly such as phrasing, tone, and intent. 
      • ENERGY – Have you had enough sleep? Do you need a 10-minute rest or even a nap? Maybe a quick walk outside in the fresh air or to sit on a bench in a quiet, sunny spot.

This strategy is completely scalable, once you have created an effective habit of checking-in you can add healthier components, more mindfulness and build on the peace of mind you are creating. Keep it simple to start, even just checking in will make a big difference. 

Once you begin to check in regularly and consistently you will notice an increase in clarity and a decrease in exhaustion. Self care becomes automatic.

Your life will begin to look a bit brighter and all because you are shifting your priorities toward your own needs. I cannot emphasize enough that starting wherever you are and keeping it simple will help you create a positive habit that will pay big rewards. Make a commitment now! Choose to begin supporting yourself today. Determine your steps and consider your schedule. Choose a day to begin and set your alarm. Click HERE to receive a  F.I.N.E. Template to get started.