My self-care package to help with juggling to many balls in the air
Connecting with ideas of self-care to curb perfectionist spiraling out of control
23 tips for your self-care package
Do you have moments when you have too many balls in the air….?
When I do this. I become super clumsy. I break a glass everywhere I go (I knock them off the bench or I miss the table I am able to place it on and I evidently chip them when I am carefully washing them!). I drop things. I walk into walls, I fall upstairs, I forget my words, and I feel anxious about things that would normally not affect me. My self-talk becomes over active and I can become critical towards myself. All bodily senses go as I’m stuck in my mind. And I’m creating stories that cause anxiety for me, and those around me. I also begin to stop doing things that support me to enact self-care.
Over the years I have been able to identify these patterns and I can mindfully redirect myself back with acknowledgement and appreciation.
What do you do when you are operating from a space of self-care and calm that you can remind yourself of when you are spiraling out of control?
I ask this, as if we have a self-care package already set up, as we learn to curb the perfectionism spiral and what comes with this, we can turn to this package to bring our awareness back to the present. It becomes a support basis for ourselves when we need a little extra help. From this perspective we can utilise our past self to help the present self.
So, what do I do?
I have a mantra of three words that help keep support me to refocus and realign.
2. Perspective, and
I also make sure I do the following actions…
1. I show myself some compassion. I’m learning. We are all learning. Cut yourself some slack as a perfectionist as you learn to manage your triggers, behaviours, and sometime spirals of being out of control. I remind myself to be gentle and patient with myself as I observe my actions and where I need to grow with them.
2. Connect with activities that help me clear the mind and be in the present rather than the past or future. I know what these are so they are an automatic go to self-care action. I love crime shows, I like to read autobiographies that I can dip in and out of, I enjoy reading magazines with gorgeous photos and helpful tips, I like visiting a gallery, I like mindful walks at a slow pace, I like to mountain bike ride, I love to photograph life, I love cuddles with friends children, and I especially like connecting with the senses through breathing fresh air in the mountains or crocheting with wool that has a gorgeous texture as you work with it on the hook.
3. I take purposeful pauses. I reconnect and centre my thoughts and actions to make sure I am not on autopilot by taking pauses in my day to help with the flow and being able to accept different perspectives and ideas. So, I might write using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes write, 5 minutes break). Between meetings I schedule 30 minutes so I can go for a walk, leave the office, or connect with a smiling face. I don’t eat at my desk or in the office.
4. I set mindful intentions.
1. I love green tea. So, I make sure I have fresh tea leaves on hand at home and in my office. I have my favourite tea pots…and if I am out and about I know which cafes serve green tea how I like it. Green tea time for me is a part of my self-care regime and my contemplative time. I journal, blah write, sketch or just watch people. But I do it by myself and allow myself to be with my thoughts and be present.
2. Carry a water bottle with me everywhere (I recently purchased this amazing 500ml stainless steel slimline bottle and I am loving it. It fits in my handbag or I can carry it in my hand easily). I forget to hydrate when I’m spiralling so if I have a bottle with me this helps me connect with this aspect of feeding my body and brain.
3. I take little rests and naps to refresh the body and mind.
1. I connect with podcasts that help me reconnect, slow down, connect with ideas that are important to me, and that calm me. I also honour just using my ears rather than being at the screen. I try to listen without completing other activities, so sometimes I am just sitting outside in the fresh air or I might be lying down on the couch. At other times I listen while I am on the train.
2. I’ve created a playlist of “spa music” on all my devices. No vocals, just background music that is soothing. And I’ve invested in a Bluetooth speaker (well my partner has) and I reconnect with listening to music rather than other sources of background noise.
3. I need time to reenergise away from people (I get too excited with ideas and possibilities, and I love the social connection but I also know I can’t do it all the time). I know this. I make time for this. And if I don’t have room in the diary for it I make it a priority to make this time.
4. I meditate and connect back to the breath as much as possible. Deep breathes, slow and steady help me refocus and slow down.
1. I pre-book a facial, haircut, nutritionist, coach, yoga class and chiro visit - so I can look forward to them but also know when I am going to see my support team.
2. I block out time in my calendar for me. In the morning I go for a walk, just before the sun rises so I can enjoy the fresh air and everything that comes with that - sounds, smells, feeling on the skin. Once I come home from work I avoid digital devices (I see things and I get inspired which I know leads to me dreaming about them. I know right, crazy, but I have figured out how my brain works…I like ideas…and they like to appear when I am sleeping, I prefer them to evolve when I am awake, so I avoid things at the end of the day that can inspire, generate ideas, or have be redesigning a concept). The bookending of my day this way helps me in my self-care practices and establishes a routine.
3. I journal. I get my ideas down on paper. I write down hat I am grateful for, for the day. And I get it out of my head.
1. I know my triggers and things that can frustrate me if I am especially tired. I avoid situations where these can come into play to allow myself to recompose.
2. I seek social support with trusted friends.
3. I tell my partner what is happening so that he doesn’t think he has done something wrong or become worried about me. This also helps him help me.
1. I stop multitasking and I realign myself if this behaviour has slipped back into my day.
2. I make time to create. I love to use my hands and I have a project on the go all the time that I can dip in and out of. It might be a knitting or crotchet project such as a #mindfulnessblankie or a beanie or I might be outside gardening, painting or restoring some furniture with tools (sometimes you just want to really make some noise and get dirty).
3. I set boundaries and guard my time as a matter of high priority especially when I need to complete tasks that others are relying on. I delegate where I can, being mindful of deadlines and workloads, but to people who have better skills than me. They will complete it, most likely at a faster speed and with more flare, but I will also learn so much from them in the process.
It has taken time for me to develop this self-care tool box. It has come from self-awareness and an ability to develop a repertoire of productive coping skills to curb the perfectionist spiraling out of control.
As I have thought about this I have also developed a set of reflective questions that you may also find rewarding to consider and apply to your experiences:
How do you energise?
What activities can you connect with that help you clear the mind and be in the present rather than the past or future?
What are your triggers?
Are you a morning or evening person for idea generation? Work this out and plan your day around this acknowledging that some tilting towards balance is required.
How do you refresh your mind and body?
What can you do that allows you to be a little creative?
How can others support you?
What barriers exist that you need to work around or shift?
What can you stop doing to help you realign when you are spiralling?
Let me know how you go.
I’d love to hear about your self-care strategies as well.
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