We've all heard the talk about self care by taking a bath or getting your hair or nails done. This is all fine and good to do, but it's not what I'll be focusing on in this divorce self care episode. When we go through divorce, we need a different type of self care. Listen in as I talk about self care in terms of external and internal needs, why it's important for us to learn what these types of self care are and how we can show up for ourselves meeting all of those needs. In this episode you'll learn:
What self care really means.
The two types of self care and why they're both important to our mental and emotional health.
How to show up for yourself filling your external needs.
How to show up for yourself filling your internal needs.
What will change for you and your life once you learn to provide these kinds of self care.
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You've lived most of your marriage putting everyone else first, at the detriment of your confidence, your self esteem and feeling fulfilled and taken care of. You don't know where to even start when it comes to self care and taking care of your own needs. That's where I come in. I can teach you how to show up for yourself in the ways you need most, without the guilt or overwhelm. Your first step is scheduling a time to talk to me and we'll come up with your individual plan. Click here to schedule your free discovery session with me.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hi! Welcome back to the podcast my friends. How are you all doing? Today I have to say is just a little bit bittersweet for me. Today is the first day of school in our area and so it’s the first day back for my son who is a senior in high school this year. His first day of his last year of traditional school. It’s a little sad, I gotta say. It’s amazing, right? It’s amazing, but also sad. And today is also the first day back for my daughter who is in her third year at university (yes she made it back from Germany. She has had, she had an amazing summer there) and I’m so glad that she is back and also wow, can I just say how time really does fly. Oh, it’s so amazing and wonderful and beautiful and I love that my kids are growing up. And it’s so fun to have them at the ages that they are, but wow. Time really does fly. So what is going on in your life? Did your kids go back to school? Are they done with school? Have they moved out? I know this podcast has a wide range of listeners so there’s probably the whole spectrum of kids and ages and new beginnings this time of year going on. Tell me what is happening with you. Come to Instagram @karinnelsoncoaching and DM me and let me know. I would love to hear.
Well today’s topic is one that I think you’re really going to like – not because I’m going to tell you to take more bubble baths or plan a girls night out or go get your hair and nails done (although I wouldn’t say no to more of any of those things, okay). But I think you’re going to like it because I’m going to be talking about self care in a way that maybe you’ve never thought about before. And I love opening your mind to new ideas and new thinking that maybe you haven’t thought about. Maybe you have and totally great if you have and maybe you haven’t so I hope this opens you up to new ways of thinking which is always fun I think.
Alright so when I think about the idea of ‘caring’ for someone what usually pops into my head is a mom with a baby or a child. Right? So of course there’s going to be thousands of ways to think of caring but this is what initially shows up in my head. Because when we have a baby that baby has needs. It needs to be fed, and it needs to helped to fall asleep sometimes, right? And we need to carry it around from place to place, and we need to clothe it and bathe it and love it and snuggle it. We need to help soothe it sometimes and we need to pay attention to it and we need to stimulate it and protect it and we need to provide this care for this baby because of this point in his life that cannot do those things for itself. It does not know how. Right?
So I use this example because I think it’s a really good illustration of what care can mean. Because what caring or care really means is meeting our needs or the needs of someone else. Because as human beings we have needs. Some of those needs are external and some of those needs are internal. And I believe that when it comes to divorce self care that our number one job as women is to get really good at meeting our own needs, both external and internal. Our job is to show up for ourselves providing exquisite self care. And that is what I am going to be talking about today.
So let’s talk about what that means in terms of external and internal self care. External self care or fulfilling your external needs are what most people think of when we talk about self care. Things like taking that time out for a bath one evening or scheduling a haircut or getting a pedicure. Maybe reading a book, or going for a walk. Meditating, having a night away from the kids doing something that you enjoy like going to a concert, or having a girls night or getting dinner and drinks. Those are external things that help to meet needs of ours in certain ways. These things usually feel really good and are relaxing or fun. They can help us recharge our batteries as women and mothers.
This kind of external self care is really important, don’t get me wrong. Especially after divorce because for many of us we put any kind of self care on the backburner. When I was going through my divorce I realized that I hadn’t bought myself new clothes in a really long time. And not even new clothes but I hadn’t bought myself a new pair of jeans in years. Yes years, pleural with an ‘s’ years. I had pants that I had had for so long that my thighs had rubbed holes from wearing them and instead of spending money on myself to buy a new pair of jeans, I bought iron on patches that I used to mend the holes because I told myself that the money that I would spend on a new pair of jeans needed to go to the kids or to like food or something for the family instead. That is how unworthy I thought of myself and my needs. And it was how unwilling I was to allow myself to take care of me and my needs while I was married. So if you are neglecting your external needs and if you have been neglecting them for a long time like I did, right now is your opportunity to provide yourself with some of this external self care. Pick one thing that you need or that you desire or that you want and make it happen for yourself. Because you are worthy to show up for yourself in that way. No one else is going to. You need to take the first step and do it for yourself.
And I don’t really want to spend too much time on the external self care because I know we’ve all heard enough about how to take care of yourself, how to show up and give yourself some self-care. And I promise you the majority of the articles or the podcast episodes or the YouTube videos that you will find out there will be coming from this space of external self-care and it’s important but I want to talk more today about caring for ourselves from that internal perspective. Because if you have neglected yourself from an external self-care perspective, I guarantee you have also neglected yourself from an internal self-care perspective. Okay.
So what does internal self care even look like? This is where you take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Right? This is where you learn to meet your own mental and emotional needs and this can show up in a lot of different ways. But I believe that the internal self care is the most important of external and internal when it comes to self-care, right, because sometimes other people can help meet our external self care needs. Maybe somebody will give us flowers or take us to dinner. Or we might teach a class and get lots of compliments. Or we can receive a present or have friends come out and go out with us and those kind of external needs can be met, however the internal self care can only be met by us. We are the only ones who will ever be able to fill these needs and if we don’t learn how then we will always have a void of emptiness inside that we are trying to fill up with external means, even though this internal self care is always an inside job. Always.
So what are the internal needs that we need to have met and how are we going to show for ourselves to fill those needs?
The first universal self care need that is internal is our need to feel worthy and lovable. One of the biggest struggles that my clients come to me with is this feeling of unworthiness. They often feel they aren’t worthy of being loved, that they aren’t worthy of a good life, they aren’t worthy of happiness. But what I teach my clients is that there’s this idea that our worth and our lovability and it is something that we’re born with. It is at full capacity, it’s at 100% the moment that you are born and it stays constant and it is never changing. It stays 100% forever. There is nothing that you can do to become more worthy or more lovable and there is nothing that you can do that will make you less worthy or less lovable. If someone were to come along and not love you or treat you in the way you should be treated, that is not because of you – that is because they weren’t capable of seeing your worth or they weren’t capable of loving you.
So when it comes to self care and worth and lovability we have to start recognizing our worth and that it is full and never changing. We have to begin to love ourselves fully. And if we are 100% worthy and 100% lovable then it would make sense that we be the one to honor our worth and show up in love for ourselves no matter what. Right?
I want you to take a look at yourself when you make a mistake or when you show up in a way where you aren’t really being the kind of person that you necessarily want to be. Right? We all do this. We’re not perfect by any means. So I want you to think about the last time this happened. How do you talk to yourself in these moments? What were you saying to yourself? And can you begin to fill that need of lovability by loving yourself and having compassion for yourself when you mess up? If you were to show compassion in those moments what would that look like? These are questions you can answer to figure out how you can offer yourself that care that you need when it comes to your worth and your lovability. When it comes to you not being perfect and making mistakes. How can you care for yourself in those moments when you need it most?
So for me, something that I’ve been doing lately that I’ve found works really well is when I’m having a down day or a day when I’m struggling with loving myself I will kind of find a quiet moment and I like to close my eyes. I picture myself sitting on my bed with another me right next to me, so there’s two of me, right. As I sit next to me I picture me putting my arm around the other me, like I would a child. And I tell myself things like I love you. I’m here for you. Guess, what, it’s okay and we’ve got this. And then I ask what can I do for you right now? What do you need? And usually the answer is just sit with me. Be present with me. And I’m talking about being present with myself. Just be with me. Don’t leave me. Don’t treat me bad. Be with me and love me even as we’re struggling. I do this visualization for maybe 2 minutes. And then I come out of it and I feel so much better. I feel so much more loved. I feel supported. I feel connected to myself. This is my own practice of self care that I’ve been using lately and it feels really good. So you can try this one on. What I’ve noticed when it comes to this worthiness and this lovability and really providing that for yourself, some things that might work for me might not work for you and that is totally okay. This is a process where you get to ask yourself what do I need in this moment and how can I provide that for me and then trial and error and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Figure out what feels good to you and provide that care in the way that you need.
Another way to practice internal self care is to say no more often. We as women always feel the need to take care of everyone else and put their needs first often to the detriment of our own needs. So this act of self care shows up in both external and internal ways, right because externally you’re saying no to someone but it is coming from an internal need of protecting yourself from unnecessary overwhelm, and necessary stress or anxiety, or resentment that might come up if you said yes, right? Or the emotional chaos that when we say yes to too many things, things we don’t want to do. Things that we don’t have time for. Things that we aren’t interested in can bring on. You are in charge of how you spend your time. You are in charge of where your energy goes. Especially if you’re working full time, and you’re raising the kids alone, and you’re trying to keep your house in order, and running the kids to all of the after school activities, and volunteering for church, and doing all of these things and then someone asks you to do something or asks you to show up in a way that isn’t going to be caring for you, then it is your responsibility to say no. It is your responsibility to show up for you and care for yourself in the way that you need.
So I want to give you a couple of quick examples. Let’s say you’ve got all of those things that I just mentioned going on, right and then your child’s teacher at school says, “Hey we haven’t had anybody volunteer to be the class mom, can you be in charge of all of the school parties this year?” And you know deep down that if you say yes it will not be caring for you. Because it will bring stress and overwhelm and resentment to this teacher, resentment may be to your child or the other kids in the class. And is that the kind of person that you want to be? No. The answer is no.
Or let’s say your ex texts you and he’s like, “On my days starting from now on, you know Tuesday’s and Wednesdays’, I need you to come over and pick up the kids before school and take them to school because I can’t do it anymore,” for whatever reason. Again, you need to evaluate what is care for you. You may have heard this before but ‘no’ is a complete sentence. You do not have to explain your reasons unless you want to. You do not have to have someone agree that it’s okay for you to say no. All you have to do is show up in self care and know that saying no is going to benefit you. It is going to be taking care of you. And you’re the only one that needs to know the reason why.
I know this can be challenging because depending on the situation you may be inclined to feel guilty about saying no and giving yourself this care in this way. Especially when it comes to your kids, right? So let’s go back to that example of your ex texts you and he’s like I need you to pick up the kids on my days and take them to school because I can’t do it anymore. But let’s really break it down. How would saying yes be detrimental to you? So let’s say that this means now on those days you’re going to have to be late for work because you have to drive 25 minutes to his house to get them and usually you get there they’re not ready and so it’s another 20 minutes of trying to get them ready and then you get to drop them off and you have to drive to work which is 30 minutes away showing up late twice a week or more. How is that helping you? That is creating stress. That is creating overwhelm. That is creating a possible detriment to your livelihood and you being able to pay your bills. So the other option is that you are going to be the person who shows up for you and caring for you by saying no in situations like this. And how do you say it? However you want. No. This doesn’t work for me. These are your days to be responsible for our children. You can figure out another solution.
I want you to see that when you can break things down and look at them from a logical position it’s much easier to drop the guilt that might try and sneak in because you can remind yourself that you are taking care of you and your needs in the best way possible. If you don’t, no one else is going to and your needs will continue to go unmet and you’ve already probably been living so much of your life in that way that right now you need to show up for you in the best way possible. And often it means saying no. But again you get to decide what that looks like, what that means and why. And it only has to make sense to you.
And the last practice of internal self care that I want to talk about goes right along with these other two but it is an important one and that is learning the practice exquisite kindness to yourself. What does exquisite kindness mean? This means that you give yourself the most beautiful, delicate consideration as possible. We all know what it means to be kind to someone else. We’ve all done that, we’ve all seen that. We’ve even felt kindness from others at times. So I want you to take that kindness that you naturally know how to give others but I want you to turn it inward to yourself.
When things are hard in your life, I don’t want you to make it harder by beating yourself up or telling yourself that you shouldn’t be sad or crying or struggling. Show up with exquisite kindness and be soft with yourself in these moments. Tell yourself your feelings are valid and that it’s okay that you’re struggling. That it’s okay that you’re sad. Or when you look at pictures of yourself and your normal go-to response is, “Eh, gross. That’s terrible. Delete.” This is a chance for you to practice exquisite kindness and get better at accepting that picture as part of you. You can start thinking about it in so many different ways but pick the one where it is exquisitely kind to you. These are some of the ways that I teach my clients and that I use myself. Some ways that I can show up with exquisite kindness is I think sometimes I look a little weird, because sometimes humans look weird. Or it’s hard for pictures to capture the true sensibility of things including me.
But I promise you, if you look for moments where you can practice exquisite kindness toward yourself there is going to be hundreds of places where you can practice and get better at this and it will change how you feel about yourself. It will change how you show up in the world around you and around others and it is going to change how you treat yourself and how you treat others as well. Practice this exquisite kindness. I promise you it is the most amazing self care that you can give you and it will feel the best.
So I hope that I offered you some new ways of looking at self care and I hope that you’ll begin to implement some of these ideas into your own life for you, for your own sake. All right my friends. That is what I have for you today. I love you all. I will be back next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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