A self-care tool that will fix your life.
Your life doesn’t need fixing. I just know that you think it does. And that’s a tagline that someone with a un-managed mind (ie most of us) will gravitate toward.
What you need is a tool you can use to continue to tweak it and care for it. The thing is, living a life is a lot like owning a really special, very lived-in home.
The one you see on your drive to work our out to the country. You know the one. It’s big and beautiful and has all these details, and probably a gorgeous porch and a yard– all things that make your heart leap.
But the thing is– that house WILL need that type of maintenance all the time. If you choose to actually live in it. And that’s a lot like what it’s like to live in your head and in your body and in your life.
Your life is that beautiful home. You will have at any given time a good deal of work building up if you’re not doing tiny things every day and more major things every year (or every few months).
Our lives are just the extensions of our minds. And in particular, our thoughts.
Your ‘house’ (ie your life) needs you to love it. It needs you to not see daily maintenance as work you don’t want to do. It needs you to consider planning as loving. It needs you to see crumbling siding and not think about how disappointed you are in it.
Your house requires love– through daily work, through the managing of your own mind so that if you mess up and don’t get all the work done that doesn’t end up equalling your disgust for it.
The thing we all do is find things we want to bring us love– a new career, a new car, a new partner, a new set of friends, a puppy or a baby. And then we despair when they take energy and work. And trust me, I understand the emotions you’ll face when doing the work that is required.
And THAT is why we need a tool.
Just like we need hammers and drills and floor sanders and paintbrushes, we need tools that help us care for our lives when they need them.
The first tool I created for myself is the ‘Pause + Look Up’ Tool. I needed this because:
running a startup is hard AF
being a bold woman business owner is hard AF
I began buffering to deal with all my emotions instead of feeling them
I want to love what I do but sometimes I legit hate it
sometimes I feel like it’s me against my team
many times my plans will go to shit because of a human concern that I want to be able to attend to yet not also feel total despair
I want to love my life and business again
I would get really mad at myself for not ‘doing things right’
I took on too many people’s negative criticisms of me as though they were truth
I had a perpetual feeling of failure
So, how does this tool help my life? It allows me to grieve. To love myself. To see the messy house and not look at it with anything other than neutrality.
How do I do it?
When I notice I’m feeling any of the above, I stop.
I excuse myself if I’m with others.
I take 5 minutes to feel my goddamn feelings. Alone.
I ask myself how I’m feeling and let my heart just rant.
Other ways this works for me? Going to spin class at Harness Cycle. Taking a walk. Working on a creative project. Writing.
SO, what I’ve also realized is that if I do these things every day, I can usually avoid the emotional build up that requires me to leave a room and have a cry on my own. However, it’s still there and available if I need it.
How to use the ‘Pause + Look Up’ Tool:
Figure out what provides you emotional relief that ALSO gives you a net positive (that means that it doesn’t cause another problem for you. So, for instance, drinking a bottle of wine MIGHT seem like a self-care technique but your brain isn’t supposed to be on that much of an altered state to function properly).
Schedule that daily, weekly, monthly.
Stick to your damn schedule. Period. It’s really easy to skip. That’s kind of the point. The easy stuff to skip is the stuff you need to work to stay committed to.
When you pause and look up, what are you grateful for? How can you love your life / business / self / body RIGHT NOW? Remember this. You can even create a mantra around this and make sure you repeat it when needed.
If you’re using the ‘Pause & Look Up’ tool during an emergency rather than employing it with a daily plan, allow yourself to feel all your feelings. Check in with yourself. Be upset or angry or sad or whatever. Let the emotions pass through you rather than pretend they’re not there and instead grab another donut at the office coffee station.
If you’re using the ‘Pause & Look Up’ tool a lot for emergencies, realize you are not planning your schedule and building in self-care daily. Correct that. Now. No excuses.
Taking care of a beautifully-unique and very lived-in home will require you have a plan for daily maintenance.
Get over it.
Remember you chose that home for a reason. Don’t give up on it just because you’re not managing your own mind.