I’ve had a few knock backs recently and am surprised how easy it is to slip down into self doubt. I was going along well, involved in some workshops for job clubs that I’m really excited about then BAM!
It can feel like it just came out of the blue. And then if I think a little and look back I can usually see a familiar pattern. Over committing, eating badly, not enough sleep and then something relatively minor can have a devastating effect.
Do you relate to this?
I’ve been working with a few clients recently on new rhythms of life. This is often a hint to me that I need to talk to myself about the same subject.
If you give to others, you need also to give to yourself. If you love others you need first to love yourself. You have probably heard these sayings before. One illustration I like is the airline procedure for oxygen masks. If you are sitting next to someone vulnerable who needs help with their oxygen mask, put your own mask on first before you help them with theirs. The reason in this case is obvious. If you are weakened by lack of oxygen then you won’t be much help to anyone.
So I invite you to experiment with this one. Move self care and nurture a lot higher up your priority list. Decide that your welfare will matter to you.
And I’m not talking about a super busy schedule and an occasional pamper session. I’m talking about new rhythms of life that enable you to be at your best. When you’re running on full, you will have energy to give to others, to give to your community, to give to the world.
Three healthy habits
There are so many things we could talk about here. I’m just going to focus on three here; eating healthily, enough sleep and thankfulness.
What does it mean to you to eat healthily?
I’m thinking of having breakfast, making sure that your system has some fuel to start the day. The Government pushes us eating five portions of fruit and vegetables. I’m not convinced lots of fruit is always good, as it is high in sugar, I guess the important thing is to be eating food rich in vitamins. Less refined sugar would be good for almost everyone. Apart from being empty calories, if our blood sugar spikes and falls it can have a big effect on our mood.
Another thing is stopping to eat. Not eating in front of the TV or smartphone in hand but taking time to notice the flavours and notice the texture of the food. Allowing meal times to be a break from technology and focusing on the simple things. For families to gather and spend time together.
How much sleep do we need?
Jim Horne from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre has a simple answer: “The amount of sleep we require is what we need not to be sleepy in the daytime.”And how much sleep do you usually get? Most people (me included) usually give themselves an hour less than they need? What is that about? I run a little routine of not enough sleep, not enough sleep, not enough sleep, long lie in, rinse and repeat.We need sleep not so much for the rest as for brain development. Sleep is essential to maintaining normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, innovative thinking and being able to make rational decisions. Worryingly, lack of sleep is said to have been be a contributory factor to a number of international disasters such as Exxon Valdez, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Challenger shuttle explosion. (BBC Science of Sleep)
One argument I often hear is that by the time I’ve cleared away dinner and washed up it is gone 9 o’clock and then I need to sit down and relax and watch TV for a couple of hours and then by the time I get to bed it’s late. Well, I’m betting that if you sat down with your schedule and a friend you would find ways of finishing chores earlier. Or postponing some until the next day. Or getting some outside help. Or skipping TV and curling up with a book for half an hour instead. In any event, do you really want to prioritise washing up or another episode of Breaking Bad over getting the rest your mind and body ache for?
I’ve written before about being thankful and thankfulness. When I notice that I am disappearing down the rabbit warren of self pity then thankfulness is a sure fire way of getting back up to solid ground.
I choose three things to be thankful for and then record photos and comments in my 1000 gifts app. Or you could use a notebook, something to look back at. 3 gifts a day makes 1000 gifts a year! If I’m stuck I use AnnVoskamp’s joydare inspiration – three things to look for every day of the year. Here’s a link to the whole year of the Joydare collection.
Why not try it?
There’s good science behind this too. Studies show increased determination, increased happiness and decreased depression.
I notice that I find myself looking out for things to be thankful for. Another healthy habit. I’m sure I am training my brain in new neural pathways.
If your lack of self care is impacting your job and your relationships, consider working with me to set up some new healthy habits. Sometimes we need accountability and help to discover why we keep the vicious cycles going. To talk about how I can help you click here
Over to you
What healthy habits do you struggle to put in place?
What helps you out of a self confidence slump?
Leave your comments below.