“Self-care—the art of attuning and responding to your needs and desires, moment to moment—is not about adding something to your to-do list, it’s about cultivating a new way of being with yourself.” – Renee Trudeau
Recently I was talking to a couple who are both working from home full-time, juggling child care and really struggling. The dad shared, “I know self-care is important, but I have no idea what I need and I’m not even sure where to start! Any advice?”
I loved this question and I offered my friend the following three “baby steps” to help him cultivate the ability to check-in on what he needs in the moment:
- Morning body scan. When you first wake up in the morning, pause before you jump out of bed. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths and slowly scan your body from the crown of your head down to your shoulders, your torso, your hips, knees, feet and reflect on What do I most need today? It could be in the physical, emotional or spiritual realm. Sometimes my body says, “Kale!” and often it’s, “You need to bump that meeting to next week, you’re seriously over-scheduled.”
- Tune-in. Research in the area of self-compassion tells us that nurturing self-touch has a significant impact on our ability to feel kinder towards ourselves. Throughout your day, pause, put a hand on the center of your chest and ask, “What do I need?” The more you do this, the more natural it starts to feel. You can even do this in the middle of a work meeting or in the thick of a family gathering; no one will even know that you’re practicing self-nurturing.
- “Quickie” journaling. My favorite “quickie” journaling exercise to do whenever I feel out of alignment, overwhelmed or sad is simply pausing to check-in on these three questions (I keep a little journal and pen in my car and in my purse at all times): How do I feel? What do I need? What do I want? Women around the world who participate in our monthly Personal Renewal Groups have been asking these three simple questions for 18 years – it’s amazing how effective they are for helping you quickly reconnect to your needs and desires.
If you’re just starting a self-care practice and this is new to you, remember: baby steps, be curious and invite in self-compassion. Believing you are worthy of self-care and that it’s your birthright is a radical stance and takes courage. Ask for help and consciously seek-out people who are also interested in making their self-care a priority. This makes all the difference in how you experience the journey (read more about the value of support)!
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR TEAM? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES::
- Consider hiring me to create a workshop to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, energized and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s a workshop, keynote or mini-retreat via Zoom, I’d love to discuss how I can support your organization. Learn more here.
- Seeking resources for inspiration or to support your personal retreat? Check out our award-winning life balance books and audio courses; perfect to enjoy from the comfort of your own home, car or bathtub! Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by balanced living author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art and science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.