Last week I stumbled across a great Twitter thread by Dr. Nicole LePera (@Theholisticpsychttps) while I was pondering self-care, well-being and reflection… you know the usual stuff I ponder. She is a Psychologist, Author (How To Do The Work) and a podcast host. She listed 7 things that she felt were great small steps that could lead to big changes. And as you know, I am a fan of such things.
She started by suggesting ‘self-witnessing’. I love this phrase! She says it’s helpful to observe yourself without judgment but with curiosity. This is reflection pure and simple I’d suggest. What did I do? Why did I do it? And what can I learn from it? A much better approach than mulling something over, dwelling on it, and then just sitting with it. We must analyse and ponder and then make some change if change is required. We may also not need to change because we might find something is outside of our control anyway and we just have to accept it and move on.
Secondly, and this this another crucial step, have boundaries around your time. Absolutely! In her book ‘Time Management from the Inside Out’ Julie Morgenstern observes, “Good time management is not about buying a great calendar or planner. It is not about learning tricks to move faster, or about doing everything with mechanical efficiency. It’s about creating days that are meaningful and rewarding to you and feeling a sense of satisfaction in each and every one of your tasks.” You cannot manage time – you can only manage what you do with it – and one of the things you can do with time if you have no boundaries is waste it. The other option would be to set your intention to something that would be useful to you, set some time aside for it, and get to it. You also though do need time to do nothing, slump in the chair, or lie down and rest, but be cautious as this can become counterproductive if not done with intent and you find yourself drifting through a whole day doing this.
Then, be aware of the company you keep. You might have heard the phrase ‘energy vampires’? People who just sap the energy from you. You may have people in your life who encourage you to do things that don’t fit with your identity and your goals. You need people in your life who support where you’re heading. Some can drag you back. You may need to ease them out of your time and life. You may need to just remove them straight away.
LePera then goes on to say, ‘Move Your Body’! Sound Advice! Exercise is a gateway habit. People who exercise are more likely to do other positive ‘life’ things and make healthier choices. And it makes you feel great. It doesn’t matter what you do in your life taking regular exercise will enhance it. Even those involved in roles where they predominantly use their brains will find they can do that better through exercise. The organ in your body that uses the most energy is your brain – so there’s a physical preparedness required for mental work.
Next, surround yourself with the voices of helpful, supportive people. This might be people close to you or people who you can tune into through podcasts, YouTube, blogs and the like. This, in LePera’s words keeps ‘inspiration flowing in your ears’.
Her penultimate suggestion is to give back. There is oodles of evidence that if we feel like we are contributing, feel like we are giving back then we feel positive. Circulate that positive energy.
And finally, another phrase that she uses is, ‘become your own wise inner parent’. Self-talk is crucial to our well-being. But the right self-talk. You need to love yourself, hold yourself, tell yourself how great you are. Because you are. Yes we have to live and learn and acknowledge the things we need to work on. But, right here, right now, for this moment you are all you need to be. We’ll work on tomorrow, tomorrow. David Allen (my favourite writer on getting things done says we can do anything, but we can’t do everything. He is absolutely right. As human being we are amazing and capable of taking ourselves to all sorts of ‘places’. But we need to take small steps in order to not overwhelm ourselves. We can’t do everything, but we can do something and LePera’s ideas give us some great starting points!