People have all kinds of self-care goals. Some want to lower stress and anxiety, some want to be able to have monthly massages, and others want to be able to take months at a time off of work.
Whatever your goals, I want to help you take personal responsibility for your self-care so you can improve your mental health
Before I go any further, if you’re experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, please contact NAMI immediately.
We, as humans, have many amazing superpowers. One of my clear favorites is our ability to create the future we desire. It’s truly amazing if you think about it. When you take the time to reflect on what you want your future to look like, when you create a plan of action, and then execute that plan, most any reality can be yours. And that’s what I want to help you do. To clarify and crystallize what you want your future to look like.
I like having a framework for doing things. A formula or recipe for success. I want to know that if I follow certain steps, I’ll get this result.
That’s what I’ve created for you to help you get where you want to go with your self-care.
You and I have enough time to do everything we want, but not enough time to waste. So let’s get started.
Overview of what we’ll cover:
- Examine your existing beliefs and emotions around self-care and mental health
- Decide how you’d like to feel and think about mental health
- Clarifying your self-care goals and optimal quality of mental health
- Decide on your course of action and create your plan
- Making it real and sustainable in your life
- Removing blocks/impediments
- A learning framework for making it happen
- Have the will to do it or put the mechanism in place to ensure it’s completion
Examine your existing beliefs and emotions around self-care and mental health
What’s really holding you back from the self-care routines you want and the highest quality of mental health?
We all have core beliefs, whether we’re aware of them or not. Much like your phone has an operating system that’s always running in the background, our core beliefs are always guiding our decision making.
Some of them were given to us at birth, many were installed when we were very little, and some have been downloaded along the way.
When you start thinking about yours, you’ll begin to recognize what your current version is. If you’re happy with them, excellent. If you’re not, I’ve got good news- you can change them. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.
Beliefs about self-care and mental health
Here is a list of prompts about self-care and mental health. As you read through them, write down the first thing that comes to mind; don’t overthink it.
- People who practice self-care are
- People focused on their mental health are
- My mental health is
- Mental health in my family was
- My parents thought self-care was
- Self-care equals
- I think investing in self-care is
- In order to be mentally healthy, I’d need
- Practicing self-care is
- I think self-care is
- People think self-care
- People think mental health
Now that you’ve written your initial thoughts on each of these, go back through and think more deeply about the ones that we’re the most triggering.
For example, if you wrote “People who practice self-care are indulgent,” spend time thinking about why you think that way. Do you view self-care as a luxury? Did your parents talk about it dismissively?
Growing up, self-care was never talked about and I don’t recall ever seeing either of my parents do anything that resembled it. I’ve also always been a grin and bear it kind of a person, so the idea of self-care is a new concept (as it is for many of us).
Combine that with feelings of unworthiness and feeling like I’m not special, resulting in not taking very good care of myself.
It wasn’t until I recognized my negative and limiting beliefs around self-care that I’ve been able to change my perspective and start implementing positive habits and practices.
The more you can dig into your past and examine it, the better the chances of changing your beliefs from negative to positive.
To help you in this process, you can access our Values Course at no-cost.
Decide how you’d like to feel and think about your mental health
Once I get that new job, then I’ll be happy. Once I get that car, then I’ll be happy. Once I
I’m married and have a family, then I’ll be happy. Does any of that sound familiar?
We have an odd relationship with goals and happiness, and too often, we think about them
the wrong way. So, instead of thinking “once I get more money, then I’ll be happy,” decide how you want to feel, then think deeply about why you want what you want.
Once you’ve done that, then you’ll set your goals.
I’ve found word association helps me to get clear on how I truly want to feel.
For example, when I hear Good Parent, I feel present, I feel fully engaged, I feel locked-in and focused, I feel satisfaction. I have really good and strong feelings around being a good parent. This is a clear priority for me.
Let’s go through some mental health and self-care word association. For each, write down your initial feelings.
- Mental health
- Emotionally stable
- Even keel
- Emotionally intelligent
The idea is to figure out how you want to feel. Once you’ve gone through each one, go back through them again and dig deeper. You can certainly add more as well.
To help you in this process, you can access our Goals Course at no-cost, where you’ll go deeper into this process.
Clarifying your self-care goals and optimal quality of mental health
I talked about how our ability to create the future we desire is a superpower.
When you take the time to reflect on what you want your future to look like, when you create a plan of action, and then execute that plan, most any reality can be yours.
It’s time to create the future you desire.
For each prompt, write down what you want (Feel free to add/subtract/substitute anything you’d like).
- How is your mental health?
- How do you practice self-care?
- How do people perceive your mental health?
- How do people perceive your emotional stability?
- How do people perceive your cognitive ability?
- What does your self-care routine consist of?
- How do you care for your mental health?
Be honest with yourself. Don’t judge yourself. What you want is what you want, and it’s great (whatever it is). These are your goals, this is your life, and you’ve got one shot at it. Plan for the life you want to live.
Again, you can access our Goals Course at no-cost, where you’ll go deeper into this process.
Decide on your course of action and create your plan
You’ve examined your existing beliefs. You’ve decided how you want to feel. You’ve clarified your goals. Now it’s time to chart your course of action and create your plan.
For each area, determine the desired result, cost and time horizon for making it happen. As you continue along, you’ll refine your plan and get more specific.
Example 1: My desired result is doing at least one self-care activity a week. I don’t have a budget for this, so they will need to be no-cost activities. I will start doing this immediately.
Example 2: My desired result is to become less anxious in social settings. I’m going to engage with a therapist. I will research any resources available through my employee benefits within the next 30 days.
Example 3: My desired result is developing a meditation practice. I’ll need to learn how to meditate and find time everyday to meditate. I will research courses and or coaches within the next 45 days. .
Complete this structure for each of your goals.
Making it real and sustainable in your life
It’s not enough to know. It’s not enough to know how. You also have to make change real and sustainable.
You need to recognize this is a lot. There are many forms of self-care, and improving your mental health can take many different forms, each with different requirements.
Then there’s recognizing any emotional connections that exist. And then it’s integrating it all together.
You need to figure out how to maximize your resources of time, attention and money. And, you’ll need to take into consideration your desire and interest; do you want to spend time on this?
There has to be someone whose job it is to bring all of this together.
The good news is, support is available at every level. There are wonderful therapists, coaches and practitioners. There are courses, online programs and many free resources in every area.
But it comes down to choice. Will you choose to dedicate the resources to doing this? Will you accept the personal responsibility?
And that’s the most fundamental truth of all. The ultimate responsibility for your success is YOURS.
Whenever we’re trying to make real and lasting change, we’re going to run into blocks and impediments. These blocks can be both internal and external, so it’s important to be aware of them.
Fundamental blocks keeping us from the mental health we desire:
- Lack of understanding of how to care for your mental health
- Feelings of unworthiness
- Lack of knowledge around self-care
- Lack of clarity on goals
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Negative or toxic relationships
- Poor work-life balance
- Acting emotionally versus logically
- Failure to schedule self-care activities
- Poor planning
- Poor or underdeveloped habits
When we become aware of them, we need to take proper action to overcome them.
For example, if you don’t know how to practice self-care, you could read blog posts and listen to podcasts, read a book or take a course, or work with a coach.
For example, if you have toxic relationships in your life, you’ll need to figure out how to fix the problems, or move on from that person.
For example, if you are struggling with mental health, you can connect with a therapist or find support groups.
To overcome what’s holding you back may require resources.
Where can you get the new knowledge you need? Knowing where you can go for information and knowledge is extremely important.
Do you want to spend time on this? Some people really enjoy personal finance and investing, while others would prefer to not spend much time on it. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Again, it’s important to be honest with yourself.
Will you spearhead this effort, or will you find partners?
A Learning Framework for Making it Happen
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Whatever you’re trying to get better at, if it’s self-care practices, relationships or your leadership skills, there are three models for doing it.
- DIY Model. Information and raw data is everywhere. I’ve certainly combed through it all to learn new skills. You can listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and read blogs on literally every topic and self-care is no different.
- Invest Model. Tapping into the knowledge and teachings of others can greatly enhance the learning process. I’ve paid for and benefitted from many courses from college to online learning. There are a lot of courses for improving your self-care.
- Partner Model. Wisdom is more valuable today than ever. Getting the support and expertise in the form of coaching or a mastermind can get you where you want to go a lot faster.
Obviously, the more you can interact with an expert, the better. But if you have the time and attention, you can most certainly piece everything together on your own.
Have the will to do it or put the mechanism in place to ensure it’s completion
I think self-discipline is an incredible thing and I greatly value mine. It helps me to do things even when I don’t feel like doing them. Like getting out of bed in the morning to exercise, and managing our household budget.
I also don’t think it’s a genetic thing; I think you can cultivate and strengthen self-discipline.
Do you know who David Goggins is? He’s possibly the most self-disciplined and intense human on the planet. He transformed himself from unhealthy and out-of-shape to a world-class athlete and he inspires millions of people.
I bring him up because it took David Goggins a while to get where he is today, and it may take you a while to get where you want to go with money. You can’t get out of debt in a week any more than you can lose 100 pounds in a month.
Structure first. Then self-discipline.
As you work up to your Goggin’s level of self-discipline, putting structure in place will help you get everything that needs to get done. That’s where your SOP comes in.
Your SOP (Standard operating procedure)
A standard operating procedure is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help their people get what needs to get done, completed.
If it’s for an organization, why would an individual have one?
If you have a simple, straightforward and uncomplicated life, you probably don’t need one. Odds are, you have a complex life with a lot of moving parts. The more you can systematize and put structure around the things that need to get done, the better.
When it comes to self-care, I’ve already talked about how complicated it can be. Keeping on top of everything that needs to happen on a monthly basis is important.
- Checklists. One day, perhaps many of the things you need to be successful will be second nature. Until that day, make a checklist for everything that needs doing. For example, developing a step-by-step morning routine can help ensure you get everything done that you want.
- Calendar. What gets scheduled, gets done. If you don’t put all of your important activities into your calendar, they’ll get bumped by some other “emergency.” For example, scheduling your daily or weekly self-care activities like walks outside or your meditations greatly improves your chances of doing them. .
- Automate. The more we can take our hands off the wheel, the better. For example, scheduling monthly massages in advance with reminders can hold you accountable to not skipping them.
- Delegate. Get a coach, or join a mastermind. If there’s an area you lack in, find someone or something that can support you in your change.
I don’t want this to seem as though I’m doing a commercial for outsourcing, I’m not. You’re perfectly capable of doing this yourself. Again, be honest with yourself about whether or not you want to spend the time and attention it will take to get where you want to go.
If you find you need additional help, then look at outsourcing.
You have choice.
You can choose to get the resources you need to break through. To tap into your superpower and to create the future you desire.
Will you accept personal responsibility?
What’s your first step?
We’re here to help. Check out the LifeBlood podcast wherever you listen to podcasts; we’ve spent a lot of time talking about self-care.
Great mental health is available to you, get started!
You can access our Goals Course at no-cost.
You can access our Values Course at no-cost.
Connect with one our Certified Coaches.
Invest in one of our Courses.
Here are some applicable episodes of the LifeBlood podcast that talk about making change. We also have a lot of content around personal finance as well.
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