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.
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