Written January 6, 2021
I know a lot of you out there are feeling stressed. Especially after what happened yesterday. So, let this be a time for you to practice self-care. In fact, let this be your resolution for 2021, to take better care of yourself. Ironically, stress fools us into thinking we don’t have time for stress management and self-care. And when that happens you may find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle, resorting to counterproductive coping methods to manage your stress, such as over-eating, smoking, drinking or recreational drug use to help calm you down.
Practicing self-care starts with kindness. Kindness to others and more importantly kindness to yourself. You won’t get to a place where you can put your own needs first, by beating yourself up. You have to allow plenty of space to forget, to fail, to miss a day or to slip up. Maybe you’ve heard of abstinence violation effect: It often starts with a resolution to quit (smoking or drinking or overeating or even that third cup of coffee) and you successfully manage to refrain from whatever it is you want to quit for a day or a week or a month, and then comes the day where you slip up. You feel so bad about this one tiny slip-up, you fall right back into your old habits.
Think about starting a virtuous cycle instead of a vicious cycle. The only way you can keep a virtuous cycle going is to literally build in room for slip-ups. Beating yourself up always backfires. It doesn’t motivate you or build willpower. Doing anything that requires willpower is what builds willpower. So when you slip-up be nice to yourself. And focus on doing the thing that requires willpower, just one more time. That may give you the willpower to get back on the horse and continue riding.
In January, as a way to help you practice self-care and get through what many people consider to be the most stressful time of year, we will be offering free access to various resources from our stress management web-platform, MY STRESS TOOLS. First up is this 6-minute Relaxation Video from our resource THE RELAXATION DESTINATION which consists of over 50 beautiful places (like National Parks) where you can go to get away for just a short (much-needed) break, and chill out. Check it out: