Self-Care Saboteurs: 4 Ways Self-Care Gets Waylaid

4 Costly Self-Care Detours

Do you work too hard? Push yourself beyond your energy level most of the time? Inject caffeine and sugar to circumvent natural rest periods in the day? Then crash hard, or sleep poorly? Phew, I feel this pain too. Luckily, it’s #JulySelfCare month, and it’s time to walk the talk and strengthen new approaches. Approaches that don’t insist on the moldy and punishing Puritan ethic. And pacing that doesn’t leave you burnt out and joyless, never mind dry of inspiration and creativity.

In thinking about why such a crucial thing like self-care gets left behind, and why the US has such a deformed work ethic, there is relevant history. That Puritan ethic, aka Calvinism is part of the picture. This conditioning that compels you to ignore signs to stop and rest. Related to this is a warped moral sense that it is indulgent and a sign of misguided character and conceit, to stop and high five yourself regularly. Even the common sense idea that productivity benefits from regular recovery time – well it’s often hidden or obscured.

Myths to debunk to revive your self-care

Let’s debunk this poor programming. Here are 5 inaccurate reasons self-care gets sabotaged.

1) Those misguided, cultural and moral myths that say hard punishing work is the only way to succeed. Too much rest and joy, and it’s thought you’ll lose your advantage, your “edge”.

2) Fears and limiting beliefs (LB**), often unconscious. Even when you’ve done a lot of inner work, these old fears and limiting beliefs reinvent themselves constantly.

3) Time management fumbles. Sure, you studied this and made lists endlessly, but never quite mastered productive momentum. In the end, you’re too often over-committed and overwhelmed.4) Independence at all costs, and aversion to ease/help. (“I can rest/have fun/collaborate when X is done”). Again, even when you know better (heard of KISS?) the Puritan ethic also conditions you to make things harder than they need to be. You must do everything, even those mundane, non-genius-work tasks, all by yourself. C’mon superhero, you can do it all! Have it all! by yourself!

4) Perfectionism. That sense that things are never good enough will make projects take longer and often, defy completion. That undermines productivity and confidence. Perfectionism creates another one of those feedback loops that keep you stuck, and unable to complete the projects that matter.

One example of hidden limiting beliefs

An LB** saboteur, wreaking havoc from the sidelines: Just yesterday a client was noting her tendency to work too hard, even though she’s aware of its pitfalls. In the Soulsavvy inquiry work, she found the old landscape that yelled in its fight or flight/anxious message: “Keep moving! Run! Survive or die!” Yes, a bit extreme and certainly mostly unconscious. The hard work made sense with this LB sitting there alongside her usual sane awareness.

Once held in the light/of day, the ridiculousness of this LB was obvious. Unchallenged and unchecked, it was producing a punishing pace. Thankfully, a new guiding symbol could be born; one which made room for more sustainable work patterns and ease. She went from an inner picture of a death-defying scramble, to a wicker hammock idea of ease… This will take some inner reprogramming work/meditation, but already it was bringing huge breaths of relief.

The next articles in this series explain these self-care saboteurs in more detail, and share some game changing antidotes.

#1: The Puritan Work Ethic
#2: False or Limiting Beliefs
#3 and #4: Time Management Fumbles, Perfectionism

Four Ways Self-Care Gets Waylaid

And can you comment below – which of these 5 saboteurs are interfering the most in your own self-care efforts?

About Denise Barnes

Licensed Therapist, Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor, Denise has an office in Boulder CO and is a certified Telehealth provider.
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