PART 2: How to Lower the Bar and Finally Succeed in Self-Care.

PART 2: How to Lower the Bar and Finally Succeed in Self-Care.

Emily Colwell Inner Dialogue, Anxiety, Authentic Self, Inner Judge Judy, Micro-Moment Reset, Self-Care Leave a Comment

But you know what changed my experience with this? When I lowered the bar. Yup. I changed my expectations. The ONLY thing I asked myself to do was to notice what it FELT like in my body when I made the choice to stay downstairs when I REALLY wanted to be climbing into bed. And I only asked myself to notice this for micro-moments. That’s it.

So let’s go back to my earlier story of yearning to get in bed early each evening to read, but having a REALLY hard time actually making it happen. For many years, I’d go through phases of trying to FORCE myself to do this act of self-care.  And as you know, this kind of change lasts for a short time, but then peters out. Why? Because it’s too big a jump from the one to the other AND it’s being driven by only your mind.

But you know what changed my experience with this? When I lowered the bar. Yup. I changed my expectations. The ONLY thing I asked myself to do was to notice what it FELT like in my body when I made the choice to stay downstairs when I REALLY wanted to be climbing into bed. And I only asked myself to notice this for micro-moments. That’s it.

Why is this powerful? Because it invites you home inside yourself. It drops your focus from up in the attic of your mind and down into your body. It is the opposite of disregarding yourself. It’s saying to your body, “I’m tuning into you. I can feel the resentment towards whoever or whatever is ‘keeping’ me from doing what I really want to be doing. My chest or shoulders feel heavy. I feel agitated, etc.”

Believe it or not, practicing this on a regular basis, when you remember to (because you NEVER have to do this perfectly for it to work! Phew, right?!), begins to change the WHY that’s driving your ability to make new choices. 

The more you notice how uncomfortable it feels inside when you’re getting sucked into another tv show or more social media, or eating bags of cookies on the couch, or working late into the night on your laptop, or running around like a chicken with your head cut off as you try to meet everyone’s expectations – well, this is you naturally creating presence within yourself in these micro-moments. And this presence increases your ability to not only recognize, but OWN that how you feel DOES matter. It counts. And you count.

A cool side effect of this? Your body will begin to show you an appreciation for these moments you take to tune into her.  Can you believe that? You don’t even have to make outward changes in your self-care behavior to begin to feel a difference in your body.

And you know what? Practicing these micro-moments of tuning in IS a form of self-care! And after a little bit of practice, even for seconds at a time, new neural pathways begin to form in your noggin, showing your mind there’s a different way to navigate those times when we feel burned out, untended to, or simply overcommitted. And it starts with coming HOME to ourselves in those moments when our minds want to take us OUTSIDE ourselves to search for the fastest way to fix how we’re feeling.

So does this mean that I now go to bed early every night? Ha! Nope! It means that I STILL get on rolls of moving too fast and doing too much so that I start to disregard myself. BUT! My tolerance for what that feels like inside me has changed. I notice those uncomfortable feelings more quickly. And those newer neural pathways remind my brain and me that it’s time to come back home and be present with my experience on the inside. Because this is ultimately what makes it more possible for me to change my behavior in a direction that serves me better and honors just how much my needs count in my world, too.

So what about you? What’s that thing in your life that you crave, yet the busyness of life or others’ needs repeatedly draws you farther from it? Are you ready to put down the relentless guilt about not practicing self-care well enough and try it a different way? I sure hope so because you’re in for a real treat!

The next time you find yourself doing that thing when you REALLY wish you were doing that other thing that truly feeds your soul, PAUSE in that micro-moment. Invite your focus inside and drop it down from the attic of your mind and into your body

Notice what it feels like inside you when you are doing something that takes you away from what you are really needing. There’s no need to try to fix it. Simply notice. And then go on with things. When you think of it again, drop inside and notice again. Each second or so that you do this, you are building that new neural pathway that makes outer changes in your self-care behavior more possible and with so much more ease over time. And suddenly your days of feeling like a relentless self-improvement project are no longer needed in the way they once were. ❤️

P.S. Know a loved one or friend who is looking for relief in THIS moment? Share my free MICRO-MOMENT RESET with them so they can move into relief, feel more ease, and find more clarity without having to work so hard to make it all happen.

P.S.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, follow me on Facebook (Emily Colwell), Instagram (dr.emily_colwell), and Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1EqJz3wcFJfICkN60krnQ) . I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!

Warmly,

Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND

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