Learning how to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a mindful non judgemental way, may be the key to all the changes you wish to make.
How do you move from overwhelm to calm?
It can feel so daunting.
All the steps, the time and energy involved. It's all just too much.
Yes, there are many steps.
Yes, any change requires time and energy, discipline and commitment.
And yes, the thought of all these things is often enough to stop you from doing anything.
what if you were to focus on mastering just one skill?
Whether you want to reduce overwhelm, increase your health, increase calm, improve your confidence, deepen connections, or create more sustainable work habits, it all starts with this one thing.
The power of paying attention.
If paying attention is so powerful, why don't we do it?
If you're like me, (and everyone else!), you probably do things that take you away from paying attention.
Things like binge watching, gaming, reading, gambling, drinking, scrolling, eating.
You engage in avoidance behaviour because it's safe, it offers comfort, it's easy. Binge watching or playing Candy Crush feel great. That chocolate, mmmmm; the thrill of winning; the pleasure of escaping into fantasy.
These activities give you short hits of dopamine, they balance your central nervous system.
And this can be extremely useful. Especially in the short term.
Because life is stressful. Feelings are hard. People are tricky. Managing competing demands is demanding.
There's reasons why you are drawn to fun, simple, easy.
And any behaviour that takes you away from what you are feeling, thinking, experiencing can be helpful. After dipping into the soothing and relaxing you can return to the demanding feeling refreshed. Well that's the plan.
But what happens when you spend too much time in the safe bubble?
Self-care fatigue describes the exhaustion and guilt you feel when you can't fit self-care into your day or your budget.
Going out for lunch, getting your nails done or a massage, even going for a walk. When all you want to do at the end of the day is to put your feet up and watch TV
Sometimes it is all just so far out of reach.
And the pressure to do it is yet another burden adding to the daily overwhelm.
The good news is that self-care doesn't have to be something else you fit into your day.
Mindful, integrated self-care is available to everyone, because self-care is not just about what you do, but how you do it. It's not just about taking chunks out of your life, but making self-care integral to your life.
What is mindful integrated self-care?
Mindful, integrated self-care encompasses:
It's active and fierce, because to do it you need to:
It can be challenging. And while there are some things we know can improve our mental and physical health if we do them, it's never just about adding something to your to do list.
It's about doing what you can to prioritise your mental and physical health
Here's a practical example.
Let's take sleep.
I go through up and down waves with my sleep. I'll have days when I'm awake between 3.30-4am, then my sleep pattern will reset.
Sleep is super important for health and an integral part of self-care.
I have a choice in how I manage my erratic sleep patterns. I can stress over the fact that I am going through sleep deficit, knowing that that is 'not great self-care'.
Or I can accept that this is happening.
This process of acceptance, of self-compassion, of awareness of energy and capacity is all self-care.
What do you think? Do you experience self-care fatigue? Would you like more information on mindful integrated self-care?
Pop a comment in below or drop me an email.
For over 17 years, I have combined research and the experience of working with 1000s of children, adolescents and parents to help other women like you integrate mindfulness and prioritise self-care in their busy lives.
You are welcome to schedule a private session to stop stuffing self-care down the bottom of your to do list and switch to a more sustainable approach.
ps I do have resources you can access:
The Self-Care Hub which caters for mental health professionals and mums (or if you're like me, both).
And the Creating Connection: Move, Eat, Sleep, Connect Podcast (100 episodes).
A reminder this blog is for general information and advice only. It is not designed to replace therapy in any way. If you are experiencing any mental health concern please see your GP, or your mental health therapist, or see if you think I may be a good fit for you .
* These articles are provided by Kim Ross, Psychologist for general information and education . They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Ross is an Online Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds and Private Practice Sustainability.