The Story of Jennifer and Claire…
Let’s take a peek at the lives of two women. At first glance they look much the same, both are single Moms with two children, IT professionals, talented and hard working.
Looking further, that is where the similarities end.
One woman, we’ll call her Claire, finds herself feeling like she is perpetually behind, never able to catch up or stop and take a breath. Her life is best defined as a juggling act; forget the notion of balanced life. She finds herself pulled down by low energy, minor health complaints, and difficult relationships. Though she is dedicated and works hard at her job, she finds herself stuck rather than moving ahead, as she would wish. More and more she sees the problems around her rather than the possibilities.
In contrast, the other woman, who we’ll call Jennifer, seems to effortlessly be a step ahead in all areas of her life. She balances her professional and personal life in symphony with her health, spiritual and financial well-being. She has an abundance of energy and is surrounded by people with whom she has rich rewarding relationships. As you can imagine, she calls her job a career and is both satisfied with the current picture and moving rapidly forward into bigger and better professional horizons. At all times she sees the possibilities that are ushered in with problems or difficulty.
Again – both are talented, hard working women with similar responsibilities on their plates.
What sets Jennifer apart? How does she manage so much? How does she balance it all? Here is the key, the one thing that Jennifer knows that Claire does not: by taking exceptional care of herself she creates an exceptional life and has exceptional things to offer. Now, the idea of exceptional self care sounds great but let’s be even more specific.
The number one thing on Jennifer’s Priority List is Self-Care. Radical idea? Yes, and with radical results.
• At home, she is present and fully engaged with her children and in her relationships. She takes time to do things she loves and takes time to unplug. She is also a master at saying No and of practicing delegation.
• At work she is a can-do person that others seek out, she is resourceful, resilient and flexible – all qualities that contribute to stellar performance, innovation, and making a difference.
Now, I invite you to look at your own life? Are you more like Claire or like Jennifer? Perhaps you are a bit of both. What would it take to actually place you at the top of your priority list? What would it take to become a women who embodies the words I am worth it! by actually practicing exceptional self care?
Like all things, it begins a step at a time and it can begin today.
Five Starter Steps to a Self-Care (or more to the point, Five Steps to a Happier, Healthier, More Prosperous You) To embrace this shift remember to get out of your head, into your heart, and into motion!
1) Do a Self-Care Assessment: Take some quiet time (just even finding quiet time is part of the process) and write down both the ways you are currently taking really good care of yourself and the things that you wish you were doing. Please note: just notice what you write down and don’t beat yourself up. Awareness is the first step towards empowered change.
2) Choose one small thing (starting with baby steps is a great idea) on your wish list to pull off that dusty shelf and to begin today.
• Here are a few self care ideas to prime your pump: get a massage, take a long hot bubble bath, buy yourself beautiful flowers, step up your exercise in a fun new way, call up an old friend, invite your creativity out to play – draw, paint, dance, sing, write, weave, stitch, or whittle!
You may need to rally support from friends and family, think outside-the-box, or say no to something to make this happen. Be creative, have fun, and get into motion.
3) Take 15 minutes each day to do absolutely nothing. That’s right – hide the “to do” list, put down the book, unplug your phone, turn off that TV, and unplug yourself. Let those around you know that you are “checking out” for 15 minutes. Sit on your favorite park bench, relax in a comfy chair, lie in the grass and gaze up at the clouds. This quiet and stillness will dramatically affect your level of clarity about your life.
4) Upgrade your business and home environment to support great self care. A few examples are:
get rid of the clutter, organize your desk and office space so that is inspires you, add a pitcher of water to keep close by to remind you to drink lots of H2O, fix what needs to be fixed, design every corner that catches your eye in a way that provides an element of inspiration and beauty.
5) For some fun and to nurture that warm fuzzy place inside you, make a list of 50 things that make you smile, and keep it close at hand to revisit often.
At any given time you are just a choice away from better self care and a more joyful life. Bottom line: you can get by with a self care cup that is cracked and mostly empty or you can shine with a self care cup that is overflowing. When you embody great self care you will feel more joy and happiness, experience greater success personally and professionally, and find yourself waking up jazzed about and inspired by each new day.
Corrie Woods, is the author of the award-winning book, The Woman’s Field Guide to Exceptional Living and a women’s self-care coach. Learn more at www.womansfieldguide.com