Last night, I participated as a speaker in a powerful panel workshop in Connecticut on Creative Strategies for Your Job Search and Career Transition, a “Rewrite Your Tomorrow” event sponsored by Jaffe Life Design (www.jaffelifedesign.com). It was a very moving experience, an empathic and genuine sharing of men and women in all phases of career change – some laid off, some wanting to reinvent, some starting their own businesses – and all were in deep transition.
To me, the most compelling theme that emerged was around the idea of self-care, and how challenging it is today to do what’s healthy, positive, and enlivening for ourselves. We all know cognitively what we need to do to take care of our bodies, minds, and souls, but precious few of us really do it each day, especially now, in times of chaos.
Why is that? Why do we resist doing the very things that always make us feel better, more energized, hopeful, and powerful?
There are several reasons why we don’t do what makes us feel good:
1) We feel guilty about giving to ourselves, especially when we’re in fear, or when we believe we should be doing even more work to help ourselves (like sending out another 10 resumes to find a job)
2) We buckle under the pressure of others (spouses, friends, colleagues) who judge and criticize us if we take time out to care for ourselves
3) Deep down, we don’t believe that we deserve to be well-treated or cared for, even by ourselves
4) And finally, when we’re locked into fear and scarcity mode, it takes a good deal of energy and commitment to disengage from that familiar anxiety and malaise that we’ve been perpetuating
So what is self-care anyway and how can you do it?
To me, self-care means attending to your body, spirit, and emotions. It’s giving back to yourself each day — fueling, restoring and replenishing yourself, after having given so much away each day. How should you do it? There are millions of ways – from taking a walk or taking a bath, turning off your computer when you’re exhausted, having fun or having sex, or seeing a movie that makes you laugh or cry. It’s eating delicious, fresh food, drinking lots of cool water, and exercising in enjoyable ways too.
Most importantly, it’s not work – it’s whatever you find exciting, fun and restorative – it’s what brings balance, peace and joy to your life and body.
As a career transition coach, I’d like to offer this official proclamation now – stop looking for a job, and starting living again. Find the fun, be like a child again – laugh, dance, sing, make a painting, start over, see it anew.
Our world has been “reset.” Now’s the time to do the same – “reset” your life to nurturing, forgiving and loving yourself each day.
(I’m going for a walk now!)