Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been sharing with you some questions to check how well you are taking care of yourself.
In my work as a therapist I have noticed something that many of you will also be aware of. Most people are their own worst critics. Have you been criticising yourself for not being kind to yourself?
Take a moment to consider what this means. This is a paradox. You are criticising yourself and not taking care of yourself. Consider this too. Whose voice is that inner critic? Is it really your own?
Many people have internalised this inner critic and come to believe it is their own voice however the chances are this form of internal chatter really came originally from someone else. Usually this person was one of your primary care givers. In most cases this person genuinely was trying to help you and believed their comments to you were “for your own good”.
Today I invite you to make friends with your inner critic. (Please remember if you criticise your inner critic this is another way to be unkind to yourself).
Thank this internal part of yourself, recognise that this part of you was probably trying to protect you or help you do something or avoid something. It has good intentions.
Learn to notice when your inner critic is speaking to you. Acknowledge it and then ask a question.
“Is this criticism helping me right now, in the here and now”.
If it is, thank the critic and let it know you have taken note. Take the appropriate action gently and with self-compassion.
If the critic is out of date, thank the critic and let it know this advice can be archived.
Try out these steps over the next week or so and notice what happens. Next week I will share with you some ways to change how you hear your inner critic so that it no longer feels harsh.
This week I will offer one final audit for you to carry out, psychological self-care. So what do you mean when you say “psychological self-care”?
That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked. From my perspective this is about your internal representations and that means how you store information. This will be in the form of thoughts, images, sounds, sensations, emotions and even taste and smell. These in turn will create patterns of thought, responding and behaviour.
So here is this week’s audit.
How are you talking to yourself? Are you kind? Are you critical?
When you check your internal image of yourself, how do you see yourself?
How do you respond to compliments?
How do your respond to critical feedback?
What are you believing about yourself that is limiting you in some way? What are you believing about yourself that empowers you in some way?
What are you believing about others that creates challenges? What are you believing about others that creates connection?
What are your patterns in significant relationships?
What is your relationship to confidence?
What is your sense of self? Do you value yourself? Do recognise your worth?
Where in your life are you unfulfilled (if anywhere) and how are your thoughts connected to that?
As with the previous audits, consider what questions I’ve left out.
What else is important to you?
You might want to consider an audit for your self-care in regards to Spirituality, in relationships or behaviourally. I’ll leave you to reflect on those for yourself and next week we will begin exploring strategies for self-care.
Last week I invited you to take an audit of your how well you are applying self-care to yourself physically. I wonder how you got on and if you have already made some adjustments based on your own reflections.
Later in the series I will come back to each of the points we audited last time with some ideas on how to look after yourself even better on the physical level.
Before we do that let us continue with the audit, this time the focus is on Emotional Self-care. Here are the next set of questions:
Do you recognise your own emotions when you are experiencing them?
Do you know the difference between here and now emotions and historically conditioned emotions?
Are you associated or disassociated when you experience emotions?
Does it vary depending on which emotion it is?
Are there some emotions you believe are not okay?
Are you aware of specific triggers for specific emotional responses?
Do you ever feel out of control with your emotions?
Do you ever feel remote and disconnected from your emotions?
Are you aware of how personality difference might impact on emotions?
Do you have strategies for managing your own emotions?
What questions have I missed out? Let me know what else is important to you for emotional self-care.
Next week the audit will be for Psychological Self-care.
Last week I began my new series focusing on self-care with an overview and introduction. This week about self-assessment and I recommend you take a few minutes over the next few days to complete this short self-audit.
In order to get the most out of this series you might want to begin a self-care journal to record your answers, thoughts, feelings and actions.
Here are your questions on self-care questions for Physical self-care.
Do you in general terms take care of your body and health?
Do assess situations that might involve physical risk or do you rush in?
Do you get enough sleep? If not, is there a reason?
Do you eat healthily? Do you know what healthy eating is?
Are you over-weight, under-weight or within healthy guidelines for weight?
Do you take the recommended levels of exercise? Do you know what recommended levels are? Do you do too much, not enough or at a healthy balance for exercise?
Do you get regular health checks such as dentist, opticians etc? Do you get a regular general check up?
Do you pay attention to your body and listen to feedback from your body?
Do you take time to relax? For example do you meditate, use self-hypnosis, listen to music, walk in nature?
Do you dance? Do you play? Do you laugh?
What questions have I missed out? Let me know what else is important to you for physical self-care.
Next week the audit will be for Emotional Self-care.