Self-Care — A Gentle Approach
By Ric Chamberlin, LMT

Most of us already know many ways to improve our wellness and sense of well-being. Exercise, diet
changes, drinking more water and less coffee, meditation and relaxation. The list can go on and on.
Often the difficulty is sticking with it. The problem often begins with the expectations we place on
ourselves for the results we want or how diligently we think we should stick with a routine. I’ve heard from
many people, and have experienced myself, starting some kind of wellness routine and feeling an
increase in my state of well-being only to have the new wear off and start letting things slide. This often
results in us placing more pressure on ourselves. We know a particular routine works because we’ve felt
the results, we tell ourselves. The problem is us. We are just too lazy or something similar. This is often
intensified by others. There seems to be no shortage of people that at least seem to  imply we are not
doing enough. Or more likely we absorb the advice of others and allow it to intensify our expectations of
ourselves.

A personal example that comes to mind is my own past attempts to lose weight. I started with healthy
dietary changes, cutting back on the amount of food I ate, and limiting obvious unhealthy foods. A really
good start. After a few weeks of getting comfortable with the benefits of these changes I would start
telling myself something like “You’re not eating enough green vegetables. Broccoli is supposed to be
good for you, you need to eat broccoli.”  I actually hated the taste of broccoli but I would make myself
eat it because I rationalized I’m “supposed” to. After awhile I would tell myself “If you’re really trying to be
healthy you should do more exercise.” So I would add walking. And so it would go with more and more
additions to my wellness routine. After awhile I would become sick of all the things I expected myself to
do. Finally I would allow myself the ultimate rationalization. “If you can’t stick with all these things you
know are healthy you might as well give up”. I’d drop everything including the original diet changes I was
comfortable with.

A gentler approach has yielded better results. Giving myself permission  to be where I am and to make
small changes without expectation and then build on that based not only on sound advice but also by
tuning into my body, asking it what it needs and what change it is ready for. Letting the innate wisdom of
the body be a guide.

Other things that help are:
  • Take a playful approach. Make it fun.  Improving your relationship with your inner child is helpful
    here.
  • Be flexible. There rarely is an absolute “must” in how something has to be done. Find a way to
    make it work for you. Use the knowledge of others as a foundation but build your own house.
  • Be gentle with yourself.

I’ve developed a simple philosophy of healing:
  • Healing involves change.
  • The key to change is awareness without judgment.

When I resist where I am I tend to stay stuck there.
When I embrace where I am and let go of judgment of myself and my situation I open the door for
change to happen.

By the way, today I eat broccoli. I started eating it when I was ready to. I still don’t like it. I allow myself not
to like it. The gift I receive today is that I no longer hate it.



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Ric Chamberlin
Registered Practitioner - Society of Ortho-Bionomy International ®
Licensed Massage Therapist - State of Nebraska
The Healing Connection
900 S 74th Plaza, Suite 116, Omaha, NE  68114
402 850 0752
Art by Jacqueline Bequette - ŠThe Healing Connection