Is your self-care superficial?
True replenishment comes from the inside-out.
The following is an edited excerpt from my good friend Lisa Grace Byrne’s new book, Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life. After Lisa was inspired by my first book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal, she reached out to me several years ago. I found her beautiful, heartfelt message buried in my spam folder–months later–while I was cleaning out my inbox sitting in a hospital waiting room preparing to greet my sister’s first child. The setting and timing couldn’t have been more perfect; Lisa, a passionate advocate for mothers’ well-being, has become a dear friend and a fellow evangelist for the life-changing practice of self-care. I’m so excited to introduce you to her new book!
Have you ever felt like your attempts at self care weren’t making much of a difference in how replenished you actually felt on a daily basis? I call this superficial self care … when we take the little time we have for ourselves and spend it in ways that land us back in our everyday lives just as stressed as ever.
This hit home for me when I had a stretch of off the charts bad days with the kids. I told my husband I needed a break. I busted out a gift certificate I was holding onto for a massage, we coordinated schedules, and I booked the first one available. I remember the moment when I bolted through the door to my car on the way to the massage. The kids were in massive meltdown. Two were in tears arguing and our littlest had just pulled down the maple syrup and poured it all over himself (and the kitchen floor). I kissed Mike goodbye and split. The massage itself was glorious––all zen-like with soft music, warm sheets, and essential oils. I lingered with my lemon water afterward soaking up the calm and peacefulness.
On the way home I felt sure I had effectively replenished the stores. I was serene and relaxed. My muscles felt open and limber. My forehead was smooth and my jaw was gently closed. I was in good shape.
I came in the door ready to relieve my partner, who’d been faring in the ring for the past hour and a half, but no sooner did I re-enter, I felt like ice-cold water was thrown on me. The kids screaming, the dog tracking mud all over the floor, the baby crying. Immediately I was in absolute inner code-red, clenching my jaw, rubbing my forehead, and wanting to cry myself. It felt like the massage was a colossal waste of time. I spent the next couple hours battling monkey-brain mental chatter that spun around how insane life felt and how hopeless it was to think I could ever feel calm and grounded again.
Later that evening when I was processing the day, it occurred to me that all I ever did was hit the pause button from time to time with a massage or a mani-pedi. It’d been a long time since I felt truly reset, when I felt a deeper capacity to handle the stresses of life as a result of the care I gave myself. I thought hard about the pattern of self-care I’d been putting into place. It seemed so many of my attempts at taking care of myself would only go so far, they only made short term differences in how I was actually coping day to day—precisely because I wasn’t dealing with the root issues at hand.
Chronic stress was diminishing my ability to recover and replenish throughout the day. If there’s one practice that has radically changed every single area of my life, it’s the practice of calm—and in particular the practice of having a calm mind.
Turning on the calm is the most effective way of turning off the stress. When I tried to tackle stress head on, it always won. When I began to learn ways to dismantle its stronghold from the back door approach and click on the calm switch from within, everything transformed. Once this became my first responder of self-care practices, it impacted every other part of my well being, from how I felt emotionally, to how I maintained my ideal weight, to the intimacy in my marriage.
The magic of turning on the calm is we can practice it in the everyday hecticness of life. We can do these practices when we are in car lines, changing diapers, rushing to catch trains, meeting deadlines, on the phone, kissing boo-boos, and passing out on the couch.
Most of us feel like we’re built to be stressed out, because it’s what we’ve known most of our lives. From the moment we wake, our minds begin to race and feel anxious. We feel everything about life is stressful and it’s hard to imagine going through a typical day from a grounded place of vibrant calm. But calm is actually what you were designed to experience. You were designed to radiate calm from within, and impact those around you … most especially your children, by first setting the tone of the environment from your own inner thermostat.
Lisa Grace Byrne is a mother to three and founder of www.WellGroundedLife.com, an online community where she equips busy moms to live vibrant lives. A speaker/coach with a degree from Cal Poly State University in Biochemistry with an emphasis in Nutrition and Metabolism, she holds a Masters in Public Health from Boston University and is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University. Check out her site for new online classes and to order her new book. It’s my joy to introduce you to this amazing woman.
INVITE: Seeking daily support, inspiration and resources for making self-care part of your everyday life and feeling more calm from the inside-out? Today is the last day to sign up for The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal Online Experience —learn more. The class doors close at midnight on Sept. 30th-it’s not too late to join us! P.S. Use this $50 off code and enjoy special savings: 34F98.
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