The note arrived on a Friday.
My close friend — let’s call her Beth — had been doing 12-hour shifts as a hospital inspector in early COVID-19.
With a stressful and exhausting job, an energetic 2-year-old, tensions at home, and the intense emotional upheaval of a global pandemic, Beth was completely exhausted.
His schedule was full of minutes. The days were fed by coffee, the nights by wine. “Sleeping” meant throwing and spinning with anxiety. Physical exercise was impossible.
Formerly a runner and climber, Beth hardly recognized herself. He had the feeling that he had aged a decade in just a few months.
So this particular Friday, after a particularly grueling change, Beth came home, turned off the car, and sighed.
As he tried to summon energy to get out of the car, he picked up the phone and, with autopilot, checked his email.
And here it was: a well-intentioned note from his employer offering self-care strategies to his stressed staff. He concluded:
“Use your time at home to RELAX and RECHARGE.”
Beth tossed the phone. His head fell behind the wheel and tears burned his eyes.
“Relax and recharge?” he teased me when he told me about it later.
“My free time is taking care of my son, cooking, cleaning, taking the cat to the vet and a million things pending. I’m lucky if I get a few hours of sleep. The home is not a place to recharge. It’s work number 2 “.
If self-care tips make you want to break the phone, with anger, sadness, or embarrassment, we’re with you.
Now more than ever, people have more responsibilities and obligations than they can possibly handle.
Tips like “lifting your feet with a good book” or “scheduling a massage” sound trivial or even absurd when trying to answer emails, empty the dishwasher, and prevent a daring child from jumping off the shelves.
People still do they want to prioritize their health and well-being, which creates a frustrating paradox in which self-care feels more necessary and more impossible than ever.
“For people who do find a way to spend time, the difference is noticeable,” he says Pam Ruhland, precision nutrition trainer.
What we’ve seen training over 100,000 clients is that even people with bigger barriers and tougher schedules can end up thriving: move better, feel better, look better, and generally function more like the person they want to be.
If you’re having a hard time taking care of yourself or if you’re training someone who is, here are three strategies we’ve seen work: in real life.
Challenges with self-care are not just personal. They are systemic.
Self-care is more difficult for some than for others.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strong differences in job security, workload and flexibility of people, which affect the time, energy, care and other resources available for self-care.
And we know that women carry the weight of domestic, parental, and emotional work; they are paid less on average; and often work longer hours to generate professional credibility and seniority.
COVID has made this situation worse: the data suggest1 2 that, regardless of their work situation, women spend more time doing household chores and caring for children than before the pandemic.
In addition, people from marginalized groups, including racialized peoples, people with disabilities and mental health problems, and people on lower incomes and less financial security, have additional barriers to taking care of themselves and their health. .
While we would love to address all of these issues with this article, we will focus on what we do best: helping coaches and people improve their health.
We can’t solve systemic problems all at once, but we can recognize them while providing solutions that you and your customers can use. today.
3 strategies to prioritize self-care even when it is really difficult
Strategy no. 1: Start with only 5-10 minutes a day.
I recently chatted with another friend of mine, whom I will call Laura. She is currently enrolled in multiple certifications, runs her own counseling business, works part-time in a shelter and has two children and four pets. (Oh, and he’s juggling all this during a pandemic, of course).
Laura lamented that she usually wakes up, picks up the phone, and dives into her business’s Instagram channel before she even gets out of bed.
I asked him if he would consider taking some time in the morning to say, read a book.
“Sure,” he said. “I would love to wake up every day and read, meditate, do yoga and have a leisurely breakfast with my kids … but it just doesn’t happen.”
Laura’s reaction may seem almost comical; as it became taking a few minutes to read that? —But so many of us can get caught up in an all-or-nothing mentality.
“I try to encourage customers to focus on activities that are truly it’s doable for them, ”Ruhland advises.
“This can be anything that moves you forward: a five-minute meditation; that older children help in the kitchen so you can read an article; add an extra serving of vegetables to a meal; or doing 10 minutes of yoga online. Anything that gives them a taste, “this is for me.”
Five minutes a day may not seem like enough time, but it can help you start showing up on your own (it also helps family and friends get used to it).
And if you’re not used to doing nothing, just doing something it can feel surprisingly good.
How to try it:
- Make a list of small 5-minute activities this would help you tick the “self-care” box. Choose ONE to try every day for a couple of weeks.
- After that, consider adding more minutes, or another brief self-care activity, in your routine.
- Remember: Self-care is not just about nutrition and exercise. It’s also about your emotional and mental health, the people around you, your environment, and your outlook on life. (We call this “deep health”). Learn more about it here.)
Strategy no. 2: embrace the three D: suppress, delegate, do less.
It’s 6 in the morning and the alarm sounds.
Suddenly it’s 6pm, the kids need dinner, the dog needs to be walked, their boss is waiting for these TPS reports …
Where the hell did the day go?
If it’s you PN coach, Dominic Matteo recommends grabbing your schedule and a Sharpie … and getting it ruthless.
(Friendly push: It may involve re-evaluating boundaries with loved ones and / or asking them for help.)
How to try it:
- Clarify it exactly how do you spend your time. Clue! Use PN time planning and use worksheet (or keep a daily diary for a day) to get granules. Now you are ready to examine it.
- Delete one or more activities. Are there obligations that are not really necessary? Habits (TV, TikTok) that really no longer serve you? What would happen if a certain task was not performed? What could be the worst outcome?
- Delegate everything you can. Think about each task and ask yourself, “Who else can do it?” Could your partner make the lunches? Could a neighborhood boy cut the grass? Can your children fold (ahem, “fold”) their own clothes? What’s the worst that can happen?
- Do less. Put yourself to the test: what is “good enough” for this thing? If you are used to shooting for A +, what would an “A-” or a “B +” look like?
Strategy no. 3: Separate your “duties” from your “powers”.
Curiosity: Sometimes we are so used to thinking about what to do, we forget what we really want or need to do.
But unnecessary “necessities” end up stealing our time, wasting our energy and preventing us from feeling healthy and satisfied.
If we take a closer look at our “obligations”, we may find that they are not so necessary:
“I should let my kids help prepare breakfast, even though it takes longer.”
“I should put on makeup before I go to the post office.”
“I should listen to the board meeting.”
“I should fix this leaky pipe myself.”
Sure, us I could do these things. But it should We? Are They Really The Most Valuable Use Of A Precious Time?
Similarly, there may be some “shouldn’t” mistakes, such as, “I shouldn’t let my child watch TV” or “I shouldn’t pay more for pre-cut vegetables” or “I shouldn’t go “at home if my co-workers are still at their desks.”
How to try it:
- Notice and name. The next time you hear this little voice in your head it says, “you it should do this … ”: pause. Notice it. Give it a name – this is your voice that it should be. Decide if you want to keep this “should” or drop it.
- Make it out. Really, you will always have more valuable activities to choose from than the time of day. Do you want help? Try this spreadsheet, Priorities Tournament, which guides you through assessments of what is most important to you at a given time.
Remember: you are responsible for the priorities and what compensations you are willing to make. Ultimately, you have to decide what is most important to you.
It’s time to get back on the list.
If you are a coach or want to be …
Learning to train clients, patients, friends or family through healthy eating and lifestyle changes, in a way that is personalized to their body, preferences and circumstances, is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both, consider this Precision nutrition level 1 certification. The next group starts soon.