When Self-Care Isn't Enough
For many of us, self care is something that we engage in often. There's been a lot of talk about the importance of self care over the last few years. This has created less social taboo around taking breaks, seeking pleasure, and resting. While we still have a long way to go in rest and pleasure being a consistently embraced part of our realities, we have made progress in many ways.
In some ways, however, self care has become a trend. With that, the message has become convoluted and lost its true meaning. Trends leave little room for personalization and evolution. The nuances surrounding self care get lost and the messages become polarizing and can become internalized. In fact, sometimes the message may feel like if you're engaging in self care, it should be the cure-all for everything.
Raise your hand if you've felt that if you're taking time for self care, then you won't feel sad...or angry...or resentful...or overwhelmed. That you'll always feel balanced and emotionally stable. And if you don't, something is wrong with you because your self care isn't working.
This is not true.
If you're engaging in self care and having a difficult time dealing with life's challenges, it's okay and perfectly normal.
Self care isn't a magic wand - so it shouldn't be the only tool on your tool-belt.
If you're feeling like you're needing more than your normal self care practices, consider these tools:
Our breath is powerful and is often overlooked and taken for granted. However, by tuning in to your breath, even for mere seconds, you are engaging in mindfulness and connecting with your body. Breathwork doesn't have to be complicated. Just breathe.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you couldn't help but release a scream? I bet you felt better. Emotions that have been stored in our body can be released through vocalization. Find a place to be alone, where others can't hear you, and let go. Scream, yell, yelp, speak in gibberish, or don't speak at all...do whatever it is that comes up in the moment.
There are days when tears come easily and others when they don't. Intentional crying provides space for you to release all that you're carrying. When we give emotions a safe container, we release the pressure. We often hold emotions in because our society and lifestyles don't provide appropriate times to process them.
What works for me? I've created a playlist on Spotify that brings up deep emotion for me. I give myself an hour and listen to that playlist loudly. Typically, tears come quickly. I always leave this time feelings lighter (as awkward as it might be to start). Again, do what works for you.
Shake it out
Don't have a lot of time? Shake it out. Literally wiggling and bouncing your body can do wonders. Start small if that helps, or go full-on.
To help myself through this, I often imagine being a little kid. I think about and feel my body as I move it. I let it be a form of play.
Another option is to start with your fingertips or toes and slowly wiggle the rest of your body in a slow progression.
Dance it out
Dancing serves us in the same way that shaking it out can. Turn on whatever music is calling to you (or no music at all) and groove. Don't worry about how you look - let your body guide you.
These tools are in no way an exhaustive list. There are a plethora of tools that you can utilize when self care isn't enough.
Just like a tool in your toolbox, these are most effectively used when we've had experience with them. When crisis hits and you're in desperate need of something more, you can easily grab the tool that you've practiced. So, if you're feeling curious, try on one or two of these tools when all is well.
You don't need fixing. These practices are ways to show care for yourself. Think of it as routine maintenance - tools that will help you run optimally.
Take care of yourself.
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