You step out for a walk, lay down for a quick nap, load up your favorite show to watch, set up a soothing bath for a relaxing time to start your self-care.
What is that voice though in the background? It is getting louder and drowning out the the feelings of relaxation with the “Should”.
You should be folding the laundry, tidying the house, paying the bills, calling the plumber, following up on that work assignment and the list goes on endlessly with all the things you should or could be doing.
For me this voice has been an unwanted friend for many years and it surely steals away the peace and calm I strive for in the moments I need it most. I hope that there are those of you out there who can relate to this and if you can’t then we should probably hang out.
How do we quiet this voice that is so loud and freakishly convincing? There is no magic button to shut it off but you can cultivate an atmosphere around yourself where you reconfigure how you think about taking care of yourself. It is not a chore, or a number on a to-do list. It is essential to your ability to function and be a part of sustainable relationships; especially the one we overlook with ourselves.
I have no secrets to share but these 2 ideas can help:
Address the source of your guilt
Why do you feel guilty in the first place? How has your family structure influenced how you think of productivity? Do you associate only productivity with being good, worthy and enough? How do you feel about yourself when you are not being “productive”
After allowing yourself to explore these questions; address your guilt directly. You can do this in a number of ways depending on your comfort level and coping mechanisms:
Debunk the myths and take the power away from the voice that steals your peace. Self-care is good care.
Start by creating mini self-care routines
The more you do something is the more likely it will turn into a habit. Routines usually get a bad reputation but the great thing is you do not need to think about them all the time. It is most times the over-thinking that keeps you in your box anyways which turns to feelings of guilt. It does not have to be anything that takes a lot of time or effort.
For example, every morning, you might set a timer for 5 minutes to journal or do a face mask that soothes and refreshes your skin. It can be something as simple as keeping a book you like beside your nightstand and you read it in bed as soon as you wake up. This cuts out the time you would take to think about getting it ready but instead it is something you act on that makes you joyful. It is a good start and you can add to it as you discover things that give you peace, joy and brings out the best you.
We might not be able to eliminate our feelings of guilt quickly or all at once but we can work around it, work through it and treat yourself with the compassion you extend to others. It makes a world of difference and can actually help you be able to tackle all those projects with increased energy and passion when you face them!