Updated: Jan 3
Are you pushing yourself and your needs out of your own life?
In this article, Stuart Rose, Clinical Hypnotherapist at Positive Change Hypnotherapy in Bolton, discusses a common observation he feels significantly impacts on our ability to maintain balance and perspective in our lives and control mood and anxiety.
PUSHING YOURSELF AND YOUR NEEDS
OUT OF YOUR OWN LIFE
We have many competing spheres within our lives. The time and energy we give to our intimate relationships, family, friends, occupations, finances, home and domestic management and so on.
We also live in a time where we are ever more interconnected and exposed to the views, opinions, support as well as needs of others. It can seem like this offers a great opportunity for this interconnectedness to manifest as a well of compassion, understanding, care and sense of togetherness, All too often, we feel isolated and alone within this sea, lacking these very things.
When is the time to care for ourselves?
I believe that increasingly, as we live our full lives and try to manage many different, and at times competing aspects, that we all too often leave very little to no time to nurture ourselves. We try to meet the needs of various others in our lives, and in doing our best to manage this and to cope, we push ourselves out of our own lives.
We do not build in time to nurture ourselves. We may see this as an extravagance we cannot afford. We keep focused on trying to hold the mesh of our lives together whilst letting the thread that is ourselves in this become ever more frayed and loose.
This has been an observation over a number of years, both in my professional life as a clinical hypnotherapist dealing with many individuals experiencing various forms of anxiety, low mood and depression, as well as in everyday life.
It can happen gradually, over time, or in the case of a sudden change of life circumstances.
The effect is the same.
We care for others and we do not care for ourselves.
There are always exceptions of course. Perhaps we know people who seem all too focused on meeting their own needs, even whilst neglecting others. I find though that many of us are, at a basic level, compassionate, engaged human beings striving to do our best in the interconnected weave of our world.
What I am advocating is not to withdraw from our attention to, care for, and support of our fellow humans. I do firmly believe however, that alongside this we need to make a space to nurture ourselves.
BRINGING YOURSELF BACK INTO YOUR OWN LIFE
There are some simple practical ways to do this which are as individual as you and limited only by your own creativity.
The basic proposal is that we take time each day to nurture ourselves.
Take perhaps thirty minutes each day to do something that you enjoy and find fulfilling engaging and relaxing. It is ‘time-out’ front the rest of our lives where we do something just for us.
It does not have to be something we do alone though. It may be an activity or hobby we choose to do with others. The important thing is that it is enriching and relaxing for us.
It should be something we actively look forward to and enjoy doing. It should also be something that, whilst we are doing it, helps us to disengage from those other things in our lives, just for this time, to unwind, gain some balance, perspective and calm.
Calm is obviously a relative term but I use it here to mean providing some internal calm within the hurly burly of our lives. This does not mean that the only way to achieve it is some quiet still activity. You may find it calming to go for a run, whatever the weather, to play bridge, to play or listen to music etc.
This self-nurture activity, however, should not be something we do because someone else likes it or wants to do it, for example, watching Eastenders with our partner because they love it, but really we do not. This does not mean don’t watch Eastenders together if that is part of how you spend your evening with your partner. It does mean that your self-nurture activity for that day is not watching Eastenders though, and you do something at some other time which is nurturing for yourself.
THE BENEFITS OF NURTURING YOURSELF
I believe that making a short amount of time each day for self-nurture activity can help us to re-balance, to unwind, to let things go, to regain perspective, to re-charge, to re-connect with ourselves, to gain some mental head space. It can be important to maintaining balance in our lives as well as self-esteem, anxiety and stress management. I also believe it means we can be there for others, that we can continue to foster our relationships and care for others.
What use are we if we a re frazzled, low, burnt out etc to those we love and care for? Increasingly less effective I suspect.
This also means then that nurturing ourselves is an important aspect of nurturing and caring for those around us.
It means brining ourselves back into our lives. Others are important. We are important too. Let us care for ourselves with the same compassion as we care for others.
Half an hour each day.
What do you like to do to unwind, relax, let go of all that other stuff?
A relaxing bath, reading a book, going for a walk, chatting with friends, knitting or crocheting, meditating, playing loud music, an adult colouring book, gardening … even, ahem, DIY.
We all have something we really like to do to relax and unwind. Make it an important part of your day. You are important.
Love and care for yourself. We can also then love and care for others, manage the stresses and strains on our loves, maintain balance and perspective and be fully present in the rich tapestry of life.