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Self-Care: It’s More than just a Wanky, New-Age Thing on Instagram

I’ve been talking a lot about the topic of self-care on the blog lately.  For one, Finding Your Best You is a blog about self-care for women, supporting positive mental health and encouraging women to be the best that they can be and secondly, self-care is one of those things that is often overlooked and not considered as important as what I think it should be.  In this blog post, I explain what self-care is and why self-care is important.  You’re welcome to read more articles about self-care here.

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Self-Care:  It’s more than just a wanky, new-age thing

I think self-care has been getting a bit of a bad rap lately, especially with the evolution of the health and wellness era with diets filled with super foods and organic materials and social media influences flaunting their extravagant self-care rituals on Instagram.  I can understand how self-care can be off putting and make you sound extremely self-indulgent and full of yourself.

The theory behind the practice of self-care is more than just a fluffy, wanky, new-age thing, full of rituals involving face masks, massages and expensive holidays that people post on Instagram.  The theory of self-care is about nourishing our mental, emotional and physical health so that we can recharge, refuel and regenerate.  Consider the practice of self-care to be as basic of a necessity as showering regularly and brushing your teeth and is full of psychological and physiological benefits.

If you want to see what real women are doing for their self-care, join the Finding Your Best You Facebook group, and share your self-care selfies every Sunday!

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So, what is self-care anyway?

As I mentioned previously, self-care is an act that you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional and physical health.  It means different things for different people, but at the bottom line, it shouldn’t be something that isn’t done by force or takes anything away from you.  It should be something that you enjoy, that makes you feel good and that nourishes your mind and your body.

What self-care is not

Not everything that we enjoy and makes us feel good is self-care though.  Sometimes the things that we enjoy and makes us feel good can be destructive to our bodies and our minds.  I’m talking about those unhealthy coping strategies that people do when they’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, worried or anxious.  The coping strategies such as using alcohol, drug, over-eating, eating non-nutritious foods like take away or chocolate and taking unhealthy risks.  These things are not self-care.  These things are destructive towards our bodies and can change the chemical balances in our brains that make us more unhealthy and unwell.

What are the benefits of self-care?

There are so many benefits to self-care if it’s done correctly (don’t worry, I can help you learn how to take care of yourself correctly).  You’re more motivated and productive. You’re resistance to illness and disease is improved and you’re not getting sick all of the time.  You feel good about yourself, you have enhanced self-esteem and you know that you’re a worthwhile person who is valuable, competent and deserving.  You become more aware of yourself, what your needs are and how to meet those needs in a positive way.  You also have more empathy and compassion towards other people.

What are the risks if we’re not taking care of ourselves?

When we don’t take care of ourselves and practice regular self-care, we run the risk of feeling unhappy, having low self-esteem, feel resentment towards others, our mental health diminishes and we become anxious and experience depression and we can also experience burn out.  If we’re at that stage that we’re experiencing burn out and its hard to get out of bed, it can be more challenging to heal and come back feeling refreshed and physically and mentally well.

Why self-care gets neglected and is the first thing to go?

Sometimes when you’re a naturally caring person or are a parent, you spend more time caring and nurturing others than caring and nurturing ourselves.  Whether it be caring for your children, your partner, your friends, your parents, your work colleagues or if you’re in the helping industry like I am, you spent a lot of the time caring for clients and the people that you work with.  A lot of the time attending to our own needs gets overlooked and when things become busy, taking care of ourselves is often the first thing to go.  When we consider and attend to our own needs we can not only take better care of ourselves in the future, but we can take better care of those around us.

More often than not, people don’t practice self-care or it becomes neglected because they feel guilty, that they think its selfish, that their schedules are ‘too busy’ to include self-care activities, they think that self-care is another expense that they cannot afford or believe that self-care is a reward or a ‘treat’ that you do on a rare occasion.  If you’re feeling this way, you might like to work with me where we work together to discover what your needs are, how to look out for the signs that you’re not meeting your needs, challenging your beliefs about self-care and putting a self-care plan in place with strategies that work for you (program coming soon).

Who should be practicing self-care

Practicing self-care is something that everybody should be doing but especially if you’re experiencing grief, if you’re caring for others, if you live with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, if you’re a carer of a child with special needs, a foster carer or you’re a woman running her own business.  Whether we like it or not, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we’re not caring for those around us and we can become a burden.

In summary, self-care is a practice about treating yourself with respect, meeting your own needs in a way that is beneficial to your body and your mental health and is a big component to living a balanced lifestyle.  It requires having an awareness of what your own needs are and how to meet them.  It involves having the ability to step back and take the time to replenish what is missing rather than letting it diminish completely.

Here’s to finding your best you

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LETS WORK TOGETHER!

Are you ready to start working together?  That’s great! You can:

Facebook Group

Join me and other fabulous women like yourself in the ‘Finding Your Best You Posse’ Facebook Group.  It’s a safe space to connect with other women and celebrate your best you.  We have a theme for each day of the week.

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Let’s Touch Base 

Leave your email and I will share with you resources, tasks and prompts that will help you to explore what it is that makes you the person you are.  I’ll touch base with you every week with short exercises and tasks.  You can share these in the Facebook Group on #promptdaytuesday.

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Free Planning Workbook and Guide 

Grab your free copy of ‘Start Here’  a free workbook and guide, where I teach you how to create your plan, take back control and live the life you deserve.

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How My Personal Values Influence the Way I Work with Clients

I have been reading and learning a lot about personal values lately.  I have been learning about my own personal values as part of my own journey of self awareness and learning about what makes me the way that I am.  In this post I share with you a story that happened to me while I worked with children in foster care.  It encouraged me to explore my personal values and how these shape the way that I work with you.

NOTE:  This post mentions Child Protection Services and may contain triggering information.

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What are Personal Values

You can read the entire blog post I wrote about what personal values are here, but in short, personal values are the things that matter most to us and what make us unique and individual people.  They highlight what we stand for and what we are willing to fight for.  Our personal values guide us in how we react, respond and behave in situations.

My Discovery of What I Am Willing to Fight For

I would like to tell you a bit about the discovery of  some of my own personal values,  my discovery about what I am willing to fight for and how my personal values  influence the way that I work with you.  This story is from when I worked in Child Protection Services and I found myself challenging the system.

When I worked as a Child Safety officer, I had been working with a young girl, aged 11 years.  I’ll name her Sarah and keep this pretty general so I can maintain her confidentiality.  Sarah had a challenging beginning to her life.  She, along with her step brother and sister were removed from her step-father’s care and lived in foster care.  Her mother had been out of the picture for some time, in and out of prison and often failing to turn up to access visits with Sarah.

So far in Sarah’s life, she has had nine primary care givers.  You can’t even imagine how much damage this does to anybody, let alone this little girl.  Sarah had a pattern of behaviours.  When she started to become close to her care givers, she would do what she could to sabotage and destroy the relationship (‘getting in first’ as I would often try to explain it).  Her care givers did not have the skills to be able to work though this with her and often I would be left with finding another place for her to live.

Sarah’s step-dad worked hard and his biological children were eventually returned to his care.  Sarah didn’t (for what reason, I still have no idea) but I knew Sarah longed to be with her step-family, or at least have some form of contact with them.  I contacted her step-dad and he was angry.  I had never heard a person so angry in my entire life.  I couldn’t comprehend how he was feeling but I understood how it got that way.  The system had failed Sarah and her family and I was determined to do what I could so Sarah could be with her family.  This was Sarah’s last option with her family and ‘it had to work’.

The system wanted to return Sarah to her step-dad’s care immediately.  I’m not sure whether it was considered a ‘quick fix’ or what it was, but I knew that wouldn’t work.  Given Sarah’s trauma, her pattern for breaking down her foster care placements and her step-dad’s attitude regarding Sarah’s behaviour (‘It wont happen when she returns home’) I knew that this was not going to end well.  My management wouldn’t listen, so I knew I had to be planned and strategic with how I was going to go about this.  I was determined to not cause any further harm to Sarah.

I became mentally unwell working with this family and challenging a system that was against everything that I valued and believed in.  I have taken time out and I started doing things for me.  I am also used this as an opportunity to learn about what this says about me, my values and how they impact with the people that I work with.

What I Have Learned about my Values So Far

  • Do no further harm:  I have learned that I am willing to fight to prevent further harm on others.
  • Family and connection:  That family is important, both to me and to others, particularly for children in foster care.
  • Morals and ethics: I have learned that I am willing to fight for what I think is morally right and ethical.

I’m not sure what happened to Sarah, but I know that she is reconnected with her family.  I wouldn’t change thing that I did.  This is something that I am proud of and I will always hold it close.

SO, WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU AND WHAT DO YOU VALUE?

I’m curious to know what is important to you and what do you value.  Comment below and tell me about one thing that is important to you and that you value.

Here’s to finding your best you.

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LETS WORK TOGETHER!

Are you ready to start working together?  Join me and I will share with you resources, tasks and prompts that will help you to explore what it is that makes you the person you are.

Grab your free copy of ‘Start Here’  a free workbook and guide, teaching you how to create your plan, take back control and live the life you deserve.

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How your Personal Values Inspire your Passion and Purpose

I have been reading and learning a lot about personal values lately.  I have been learning about my own personal values as part of my own journey of self awareness and learning about what makes me the way that I am.  I have started working with a psychologist as part of my own mental health care and she had suggested that I read the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k’ by Mark Manson, which inspires the following blog post.

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A Brief Overview of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k’ by Mark Manson

The book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k’ is a self-help book about learning to care about the things in our lives that are worth caring about, or in Mark’s words, giving a f**k about the things that are worth giving a f**k about.  It turns out that we all need to give a f**k about something, so we better make it worthwhile.

Personal Values are the Things that Matter Most and What Makes us Unique and Individual

One of the topics that Mark talks about in his book is personal values.  I have learned a lot about what values are, what they’re for and why we all need them.  Everybody has values, but each one is different.  What may be important to me does not mean that it is important to you.  Values are the things that matter most to us and what make us unique and individual people.

Our Personal Values Highlight What we Stand For and What We’re Willing to Fight For

Some of the values we hold are never permanent and some of them we carry with us throughout our entire lives.  What may be important to you right now may not be the same in the future.  What you don’t care about right now may become highly valued to you when you grow older and wiser.  Values are not permanent, but they highlight what we stand for and what we are willing to fight for.

Personal Values Guide How we Act, Respond and Behave in Situations

Whether you realise it, you’re always using those things that are important to you.  They guide us in how we react, respond and behave in situations and they guide us in what makes us feel good and what makes us incredibly offended.  Our values help us to determine all the decisions that we make are going to be a good fit for us.  Whether it be to leave our job, becomes friends with that person, buy those pair of shoes or eat that bar of chocolate that we don’t really need.

Without Our Values we have Nothing to Live For

When we make decisions and do things that fit with our values everything is good and feels aligned, but when we do things that are against our values or when a situation conflicts with our values, everything seems to turn to shit.  Without our values we have nothing to motivate us and drive us.  We have nothing to live for.

Our Values Help Inspire us to Live a Life That’s Fulfilling and Worthwhile

Our values help guide us when we have challenging and difficult decisions to make.  Once we know what our values are and articulate them, we can use them to guide us in decisions and guide our behaviour.  We can use them like a roadmap to help us plan living a life that’s fulfilling, worthwhile and a life that we love.

I Help Clients Explore What’s Important to Them

When I work with clients, one of the first things that we do together is determine what the client values and sees as important.  We use these values to help determine what it is that they want, why it is that they want it and use them to drive motivation and determination.  When I encourage clients to understand why they want to achieve something I can help them decide whether they are doing it for them.

I still struggle to understand and articulate why I do some of the things that I do.  I struggle to articulate why I chose to work in Child Protection Services or why I chose to become a social work practitioner.  Once I know, I will let you know!

So, what’s important to you and what do you value?

I’m curious to know what is important to you and what do you value.  Comment below and tell me about one thing that is important to you and that you value.

Here’s to finding your best you.

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Lets Work Together!

Are you ready to start working together?  Join me and I will share with you resources, tasks and prompts that will help you to explore what it is that makes you the person you are.

Grab your free copy of ‘Start Here’  a free workbook and guide, teaching you how to create your plan, take back control and live the life you deserve. 2

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How to Create a Plan and Kick Butt

Are your ready to lose weight, reduce debt, begin your journey of self discovery, grow your business or grow your blog?  If so, I am super excited to tell you about a free workbook and email course that you can do to finally:

  • create your plan
  • take back control
  • live the life you deserve

How to Create a plan and kick butt

 

I wrote this free email course, workbook and guide because I wanted to teach you how to create a plan so you can finally kick butt and achieve what it is that you want to achieve. Whether it be losing weight, reducing your debt, begin your journey of self discovery, growing your business or growing your blog.  I want you to accomplish whatever it is that you have set your mind to do.

By downloading the workbook and joining the course you can learn how to create a plan that can help you to:

  • reduce your debt and finally have savings.
  • be organised so you can actually get things done.
  • finally lose the weight you said you were going to lose and have that confidence that you have always dreamed of.
  • be strong, fit and healthy.
  • get out of that dead-end job and being working in a career that is fulfilling.
  • get balance back into your life so you can spend quality time with the people you care about.
  • launch and grow your business.
  • launch and grow your blog.
  • accept your self and who you are and grow through personal development.
  • finally reduce those feelings of anxiety and stress and live your life the way you want to.
  • declutter your home and create a home life that you have always wanted.

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Are you ready to create that plan?  Download your free workbook and join the course now.

By the end of the five day course you will come away with an action plan that will make you feel motivated and empowered to achieve your goal and achieve the success that you have always wanted.

So, are you ready to:

  • stop feeling stuck?
  • stop feeling like you want more and actually have more?
  • stop feeling like something is missing and actually work it out and get it?
  • start living a lifestyle that’s positive, rewarding and fulfilling?
  • stop feeling overwhelmed and actually make a start?
  • stop repeating the same goal year and year and actually do something about it?
  • take back control?

How bad do you want it?  Get it for free.

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Free email course

What to Expect

Right from the start I’m going to speak to you like you’ve already achieved your goal and the success that you have always dreamed of.

You can reuse your workbook at anytime or whenever you have a goal that you want to achieve.  Each day for the next five days I will walk you through each step of the planning process.  I will be with you every step of the way.

You will learn how to develop an achievable goal using the SMARTER method and break down your goal in easy, actionable and achievable steps.

 

Are you ready?  Get started now.

As you work through your free workbook or as we work together through each step in the planning process you will move away from having an idea and actually making it into an achievable plan.  We’re going to work together to create an action plan that is realistic and achievable.  Stop wasting your time floundering around, falling off the bandwagon.

Are you ready to find your best you?  Download now.

Ashleigh x

create a plan - live the life - take back control

 

 

 

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Where to Start when there is a Shitload of Things to Do

In this blog post I share with you a goal setting strategy that you can use to help you determine and prioritise what the most important thing is to work on when it feels like you want to achieve so much all at once and that you feel like everything is equally important. If you like you can join my free email course where I can help and support you every step of the way.

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It can be really tough when it there is so much that you want to do and it feels like there is so much going on inside your head. If you’re anything like me, once I start to focus on one thing another half a dozen other things come up that I also want to do and I become easily distracted. When this happens things can quickly become confusing, overwhelming and stressful and that is when you can run the risk of losing complete focus and can become stuck.

I’m here to share with you a technique that you can use to avoid becoming confused, overwhelmed and stressed when you have many ideas inside your head or when there is many things that you want to achieve. You can join my free email course where I can help and support you every step of the way.

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The Benefits of Prioritising

Prioritising tasks and goals is important, especially when at face value, everything seems to be equally important and there are competing demands. Knowing what to work on first can affect your success in achieving the task at hand and achieving your overall outcome.

Not every task or goal is equally important.

Learning and knowing how to prioritise tasks and goals can help to teach you that not everything is as equally important as what they first appear to be. There are things that are super important that need to be done TODAY, and there are other things that, although they are still important, they can be put off for another day. I’ll teach you how to do this further down.

Avoid wasting time and achieve more.

Knowing what to work on first can help you to avoid wasting precious time and increase your ability to achieve more. There is nothing worse than knowing that you have a deadline, but realising that you have been wasting time doing meaningless things such as scrolling on Facebook (I’m guilty!) or watching the latest episode of that must see television show (also guilty!). This is called procrastination and can lead to that last minute panic and can cause unnecessary stress. I’ll teach you how to beat procrastination another time.

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Conserves your energy and attention.

As I mentioned in the point above, knowing what to work on first can help you to conserve your energy and maintain your focus and attention on things that really need your focus and attention.

Ensures that deadlines are met.

Learning the skill of determining whether things are as important as what they need to be and prioritising helps you in the planning process and ensures that those important deadlines are met and that you don’t have some serious explaining to do.

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Learning How to Prioritise in 7 Easy Steps

Below are the seven steps that you can take to prioritise and decide what you need to work on next. Join my free email course where I can help and support you every step of the way.

1. The Brainstorm

I call this process an ‘action log’, which is basically a brainstorm or a brain dump of all the things that you want to do, all of the ideas in your head and all of the goals that you want to achieve. This is one of my favourite steps to do in the planning process and you can read more about the specific steps here. You’ll find writing everything down helpful as all of those fluffy ideas will become more concrete.

I strongly encourage you to set a time frame for your action log. For example, is this action log a brainstorm of all the things you want to do in the next month, the next 12 months or the next five or ten years. This will help you to put your action log into perspective.

2. Short Term and Long Term

From this list of ideas have a look at what you want to achieve in the short term and what you want to achieve in the long term. It may seem like you need to do everything RIGHT NOW, but honestly, some things need to wait and they can wait.

3. What is important

Take a look at what you want to do in the short term. There might be one thing listed here or there may be several. If there is one thing listed you may like to start this process again and use this same process to break that task, idea or goal down into small, manageable steps. If there is more than one thing listed, you need to determine what is the most important. You can do this by using a high, medium and low importance colour coding or numbering system. By doing this you will begin to have a clearer picture about what needs to be done immediately and what things can be done at another time.

4. What needs doing RIGHT NOW

From here you need to determine what you need to do RIGHT NOW, based on what you considered to be of high importance. When you’re determining what you need to do immediately also consider:

  • how long it is going to take to achieve it
  • any upcoming deadlines
  • and the difficulty.

Often the things that are the most difficult or the hardest to accomplish are the things that we should be doing first.

What do you need to do right now?

5. Write that list in order

By now you should have a list full of scribbles, colour codes and numbers. Its time to take that list and put it in order from what you’ve discovered to be most important that needs to be done urgently to what you discovered to be least important.

Include this list on your vision board, up on your wall or in your bullet journal so it is always visible. You can read more about putting together your own vision board here. Having a constant visual reminder will keep you motivated and will prompt you to actually get things done.

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6. Is there anything that anyone else can do?

Often we want to be miracle workers or super women and do everything ourselves, but realistically, having this mindset can reduce your success, cause unnecessary stress or make things take a lot longer than what they need to be. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to pull your resources together and use them to get the job done. Pulling your resources together and asking for help will free up your time to do the things that you want to do and will help you to get to your outcome quicker.

7. One thing at a time

Its time to start working and crossing things off that list. It can be tempting to do bits and pieces of each goal or task, but I would encourage you to spend your time, energy, focus and attention working on one thing at a time. When you begin to cross things off your list you’re going to feel refreshed and motivated. Imagine how empowered you’re going to feel when you realise that you’re one step closer to achieving your dream.

How do you work out what is the most important thing to work on first? Comment below.

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Here’s to finding your best you.

Ashleigh x