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Self-care on a macro level

Self-care on a macro level

No self-care regime can save you from an unsustainable life-situation.

Prioritize making the big important decisions consciously and boldly. Calibrate your values to help guide the decisions you must make that lay somewhere in the middle ground. And learn how to not sweat over the small stuff. Do that, and I’m sure you’ll find yourself with more time, energy and money for the things on your self-care “to do” list.  

Starting at the other end, trying to add yoga, exercise, meditation, self-massage or half-days at the spa to a lifestyle that isn’t working is probably going to make you feel even less adequate and more drained than you already do. You already know this, deep inside. It’s just that the alternative, starting with the big stuff, is so daunting. Especially if you suspect things on the “big” list include something like, ending a relationship, quitting a job, asking mom to butt out where she’s not welcome, moving or getting my children (or spouse) to help with the housework.  

Yes, the idea of the big stuff is daunting. But that doesn’t mean the road to resolving these challenges has to be. It’s like, if we give ourselves space to think about the big, scary stuff, then we’ll have to pull the emergency brake and end life as we know it. But that’s not really the case, because we are designed to harbor conflicting feelings. But we seldom practice doing it and we don’t trust in our capacity to feel really bad about something and also take small, composed baby steps towards resolving the issue.  

I have an example which has touched my own life, as it has the lives of many international couples. The story goes like this: Two people from two different countries meet and fall in love. One of them (or both) uproot and settle somewhere they never would have otherwise. Time goes by and both individuals turn a blind eye to the bits of the relationship that aren’t working because the mere acknowledgment of the relationship’s imperfection would make the couple have to consider the alternatives. What if we broke up? What would that mean for me? Would I have to leave? Would I have to uproot myself again? I don’t think I could handle that and a breakup. So, they continue to ignore and the relationship rots from the inside due to lack of maintenance.  

Don’t rot from the inside due to lack of maintenance. Learn how to take baby steps towards tackling the big stuff. Let’s do an experiment. Just make a list of the things you suspect are on your “I don’t want to look at that” list. It’s just hypothetical, you can pretend it’s someone else’s list. Just write them down and see what happens. You might find out that your life-as-you-know-it didn’t explode, it may kick up feelings of anxiety, but that didn’t kill you either. Practice holding space for the unresolved biggies in your life. It may not be comfortable, but you can do it.  

The next step would be to ask yourself, “What is the smallest step I could take right now to bring me closer to a place that feels better than where I am today?” Then take a deep breath, take the step and see what happens then. If your hair didn’t burst into flames or your pets die of sudden heart attacks, then ask yourself what is the next step? And just keep going, one step at a time. Don’t forget to document and reflect on your journey with a journal of some kind. Good luck!  

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