To continue my quest for balance, self-care, and getting my needs met I developed a mantra: Slow. Gentle. Grounded. This post is a peek into my journey with self-care along with some ideas how to take care of yourself as well.
I was laying on my acupuncturist’s table feeling a lot like a pincushion when she asked me if I wanted a blanket to cover me. I instantly said no thanks, I said I was fine. When she walked away I realized that I had said no so quickly that I had not taken the time to consider what my needs actually are. I was feeling a little cold, I did want a blanket.
“No” is often my automatic response when others are offering me something. I don’t want to put people out or ask too much. This also means that I can have trouble taking my own needs seriously, I speed right past them. It was that instant, on the acupuncturist’s table, that I realized Slow needed to be the bedrock of my self-care mantra. If I don’t know what my needs are how am I supposed to care for them? How do you check in with your needs? If you are aware of what your needs are, do you meet them or ignore them?
I truly believe that all needs are healthy and important, it’s the ways in which we do or don’t meet our needs that can get us into trouble. Our needs are the north star, they guide us to attend to what is important to us. Slowing down and checking in is one of the best ways to become more familiar with your needs. Slowing down may look like taking a few deep breaths while still laying in bed in the morning and resisting the urge to look at social media. If you are a chronic no sayer, like I am, have the word no be a trigger for you to slow down and check in with yourself. I find myself saying maybe and let me think about it more often.
The perfectionist in me often does not like that I have needs. The perfectionist in me can be down right mean. She’s not so interested in what I need. She is more interested in how I look to others and if I am doing everything “right”. I quickly realized that if I am going to slow down and notice my needs I would also have to try to be gentle with myself for simply needing what I need.
Another word for this is self-compassion. I always remind my clients that self-compassion is a skill, and like all skills it needs to be practiced and we can get better at it over time. Self-compassion is the opposite of guilt, shame, and perfectionism. One way to find your self-compassionate voice is imagining that you are talking to someone you really love and care about. Someone who you feel you can afford grace and understanding. Now imagine that someone is you. It makes me so sad that for many of us self-compassion seems foreign. The more often you speak to yourself with kindness, grace, compassion and gentleness the better you will feel.
In many ways feeling grounded is an outcome of being slower and more gentle. If I am really taking the time to seriously consider and meet my needs with a gentle spirit, I feel more grounded. When I am more grounded I can respond to others more thoughtfully. I can draw strength from my groundedness which allows me to do more without depleting myself. I can respect my own boundaries and calmly assert my boundaries with others (take a look a Dr. Roberts’s last post about boundary setting).
I’ve made up sayings and mantras in the past and they’ve never really meant much. Now I think of my mantra all the time. I think it’s because my mantra is there to help me be more of who I am rather than who I think I ought to be. What’s your mantra or supportive phrase? What sorts of messages are you telling yourself about your wellness? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
If you are struggling with slowing down, being gentle and grounded we can help you find your path. Dr. Roberts and I are here to help you find your way to a life that is thriving.
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