...when your self-care becomes another way to put yourself down, isn't not working. Here's why.
We often think of "progress" as taking action and getting a result. But one oft forgotten layer of moving forward begins with the planting of a seed. Most of the time, we don't think much about the power of a seed. But given time, tending + nourishment, seeds become the "progress" / change / beauty that unfolds in our lives.
A lot of work with my clients is seeding. The seemingly minuscule process of planting an idea, concept or remembrance with the knowing that all seeds bloom on their own timeline. Some seeds are fast-growing and take root right away. Others take months, even years to fully blossom or bear fruit.
This is one way that my work is different than almost all other methodologies that address your health. It's process-oriented versus goal-oriented. It's the feminine embodiment of understanding it's not about "getting there", but about each moment along your journey that brings you closer to your desires, dharma and a life that's on fire.
I was reminded of the power of seeding this week when I met with an old client (she completed our work in 2018) and she was reflecting back to me where our learnings had taken her since then.
One seed I'd planted was the idea that your chosen form of exercise should always match the season of life you're in. If you're in a season of high stress and hormone dysfunction, as she was, skimping on sleep to get up and workout or doing high-intensity exercise perpetuates + exacerbates the high-stress cycle. I encouraged her stop the shame cycle of setting her alarm to get up to workout, pressing snooze, then feeling like a failure + beating herself up all day because of it. Instead, I suggested sleeping in and beginning her day with a few minutes of stretching + breath work instead.
In truth, this seed didn't take root right away. It was hard for her - as it is for all of us, to lean into a completely new way of being and ditch the pervasive idea that exercise is an effective weight loss tool (spoiler: it's not and using it as punishment for what you've eaten will make the cycle worse) and that the only type of movement "worth doing" is one that kills you and/or can be classified as an actual "workout".
When the idea finally bloomed, it became the launching point for shifting her entire way of being. She told me that she's a completely different person now - and you can see it. She radiated confidence + presence and her power was palpable. Besides witnessing her amazing journey, my favorite part about her story was the profound + simple way she summed up this "seed":
When your self-care becomes another way to put yourself down, it's not working.
If your chosen methods of self-care isn't working for you - in other words, if it's not nourishing your mind, body, spirit or heart - then it's not working. And it's time to reimagine what caring for yourself looks like, on all levels. Including, what would be most beneficial to you right now, in this current moment, not the “in-an-ideal-world” scenario we tend to get caught up on.
Such a simple concept, but so important to understand. Because the last thing we women need is another avenue to begin the "what's wrong with me" chatter.
It’s a common belief that self-care is always a positive thing.
And while caring for yourself is deeply important, *how* you do it should match the season of life you’re in.
If your self-care becomes another way for you to self-deprecate, it’s time to say goodbye to that particular method / goal / routine.
Self-care isn’t meant to be rigid. If it is, it won’t work for you, because you, my love are constantly changing. So too, should the way you care for yourself.
Example: if you’re like my client and so exhausted that you can’t get up for that early morning workout and it becomes a source of beating yourself up (“What’s wrong with me? / I’m so lazy. / I’m such a failure.”), switch gears.
Get curious and notice that perhaps what you actually need is just what your (wise + amazing) body is asking for - more sleep, more ease, more flow and tools to calm the nervous system versus ramp her up further.
I’m talking swapping high-intensity exercise (which will activate your stress response higher) for yin yoga, yoga nidra or some mobility. It means integrating meditation, shaking, Somatic Movement, more sleep, diaphragmatic breathing, hot temperature + cold water therapy or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, also known as tapping), acupuncture, chiropractic or myofascial release work instead / also.
That workout you get up early for on 5 hours of sleep is going to drive your depletion, increase exhaustion, put your adrenals on overdrive and create hormone dysfunction.
And if your lifestyle + work life mirrors this same pattern of constant pushing, eventually it’ll put you flat on your back. 😭🙈
Let this be your permission slip (even though you never needed one) to care for your body in a way that feels good - not just in the moment, but whose long-lasting impact reverberates throughout the day + week.
Just pushing through, doing what you “should”, valuing what you do over who you are and ignoring your physiology + your deepest needs / desires is sooo 17th century. 💁🏻♀️
Do you have any current self-care practices that aren’t working for you? Give me a 👋🏻 below if you’re ready to swap them out or share what you're going to shift below!