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Are you a self-care catalyst for yourself and others?

Most of your life is made up of a sequence of micro decisions. If you don't include making some choices for yourself to restore your energy, you're in for some burnout and resentment toward others and even yourself. 

Pressures will always be there for you to do what's expected from others (society, family, friends, etc.). While you may feel pulled in multiple directions, you always have the choice to say no. Saying no can be challenging, but like anything, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or torn about a choice you must make, it’s time to pause and listen to what your inner voice is telling you. So much of the time we move too fast in order to get more done, but we don’t have to do that when it comes to pausing for reflection. If you’re having trouble slowing your mind down to focus because there are a number of things you’re experiencing all at once, it’s time to take out a notebook/journal/electronic device to record what your inner voice is trying to say.

Pay special attention when your inner voice is expressing dread about an event or task you were initially interested in or excited about. Dread is usually a sign that there is a deeper meaning beneath the feeling. If you take the time to discover what's buried below the surface, you could find a number of reasons for the feeling. Keep your focus on this single feeling and ask yourself through written form, why you’re feeling this way. 

In my experience, the biggest reason for feelings of dread has been because I didn’t have enough energy. When and if this is the case for you, it’s a signal that you must prioritize the time to recharge. If you can shuffle things around to give yourself some much-needed rest, you may surprise yourself how much more energy you have, not to mention that feeling of dread may simply vanish. In the event you can’t step away to recharge, then it becomes imperative to do so as soon as possible.

In the event you've recharged for the time you had available and you still are feeling rundown and dreading something you once felt excitement for, it's tough decision-making time. Do you proceed with a half-charged battery risking full depletion or do you prioritize your well-being and take a time out? Below are a couple of approaches to consider as you proceed with your choices for self-care. 

Take baby steps and compromise

Life is a continuous effort of finding balance. When you cannot afford to adjust your day completely for self-care when it's needed, try to find wiggle room somewhere so you can compromise. For example, if you're feeling run down and are having a hard time thinking straight, but you know you have an important afternoon meeting, take off the morning to rest. This way, you can get some of your energy and focus back, while avoiding the need to push yourself to the max with energy you don't have.