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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

When a bath doesn't cut it: a deeper dive into self-care

Self-care is not just about recovery, it is about building our strengths, bolstering ourselves up. Not that I’m anti-bath taking or getting a massage, I love those things (if the tub is already clean). But while recovery is a crucial part of self-care and trauma processing, it is not the only part.


Building your strengths may seem idealistic when you are feeling overwhelmed or even numb from your day-to-day experience. It may seem like one more thing to add to the to-do list.

Keep in mind, not every strategy needs to be used every day. It’s much like exercise. If you lift weights one day and run the next, you need to build in a recovery day. It is part of the process.


So, what does this look like in practicality?


As always, the first step is assessment. Take a minute to check in with where you are now. How are you feeling physically? How are you feeling mentally and emotionally?


What ARE your strengths?

What do you think would make you feel better if you did more of it?


I realized recently that if I try and create content for my business on Monday evenings after a long day at work, that my fatigue overwhelms me, and I literally fall asleep at the computer (and this is when I am working on something that I WANT to do- it’s not like I am working on bills).


I could be very put off by this state of affairs, especially as I am trying to create content about feeling good in your life WITH your current work situation. Truth be told, initially I was mildly disgruntled. I started a tragic story in my head of how I couldn’t possibly achieve my goals with my current situation.


The irony is not lost on me.


But as is often the case, after multiple Mondays of falling asleep at the computer and trudging up to bed incredibly early (and being disappointed in myself the next day), I decided to take my own advice, look at the whole picture and do an assessment of goals vs strengths vs. weaknesses obstacles.


Here are the facts.

  • I have business goals that include creating content each week. Strength: I enjoy it and find it meaningful. Obstacle: If I do it Monday night after work I fall asleep.


  • I have exercise goals that I haven’t been as consistent with as I would like to be. Strength: I have enough time and some equipment at home. I know it makes me feel better. Obstacle: It is so hot and humid right now that exercising outside is difficult. AND I have some mild physical limitations to work around.


  • I have enough time to do what I need/want to do if I plan it right and manage my energy (my children are grown- plenty of time was not always a thing). Obstacle: Sometimes having plenty of time makes it easy to put it off until “later”.


  • If I sit down at a computer, or to read, right after dinner on Monday night, I will fall asleep. Strength: I can plan my time. I don’t have to do it on Monday night. Maybe this is just a case of mixed-up expectations. Strength: I don’t ever fall asleep folding laundry or cleaning off my desk AND these things don’t actually take that long. If I did something like this for an hour on Monday, I would have more time on the weekend when I can work on the computer without falling asleep. Obstacle: If I don’t decide ahead of time to do one of these other things, it is super easy to not choose to be productive when the time comes. As a side note, if I don’t schedule time to rest, it is also super easy not do that when the opportunity arises.


  • Energy is a finite resource. While I have enough time, my energy is not endless. Strength: I know what things help my energy and I can try and at least achieve 2 or 3 of them every day. These include getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, getting enough protein, limiting sugar, doing something creative, increasing my movement, journaling, getting outside at lunchtime, meaningful time with my family, guided meditation, gratitude, breathwork, being organized.


  • Every situation has pros and cons, strengths and obstacles. It doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. When something comes easily and without any mental drama, it is a gift, not the norm. So let’s just expect to figure it out (we are nurses, we can figure anything out).


Yes, we need rest. Apparently, I really need it on Monday night. Who knows why that is? After doing this exercise and trying things out, I realized that doing a mundane task that requires standing and moving (like doing laundry) can actually help give me a little energy on Mondays. If I do this after dinner, I have some energy to spend some time relaxing with my family instead of watching the clock for bedtime. Both the productivity and the connection restore me and I can go to bed tired but not overwhelmingly fatigued. On Tuesdays I can come home and exercise for a bit- this then gives me enough energy to write the content (while staying awake at the computer).


Sometimes I even manage to attend an online ASPMN committee meeting after that.


You may have special circumstances that affect your time and energy. Having small children or a dependent parent may add another obstacle to some of this but the principles are the same. Assess where you are at now, don’t assume your energy is the same every day, look at what you know to be true for each “fact” that is tripping you up. From there, make a plan and try it, identifying your own strengths along the way. Make a list of things that support your energy and try to hit at least 2-3 items every day.


Breathe.


Self-care is rest.

Self-care is also getting done what you want to get done (maybe just not on a Monday).

Self-care is dedicating some time and energy to the things that will give you more of both.

Self-care is checking in with yourself and doing things that build you up, even if some energy is expended doing them.


You don’t have to clean the tub, maybe try connecting with a friend or going for a walk instead.


 

If you don’t even know where to start, reach out. That is exactly what I can help you with. This is one of the benefits of a coaching consult call. Together we figure out where the right starting point is for you and the direct approach that can finally get you unstuck.. Even if we aren’t a good match to work together, that hour call is not wasted. You will come away with a new clarity, the first step to actually feeling better. Click here to schedule a time today.

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