Please come and chat with me for a minute. You may not want to read this if you are at work. Seriously. You really need to be in a quiet place where you can reflect upon what I have to share with you this week.
So often, I talk with my therapy and coaching clients about coping skills. So often when I say those two words within the same sentence, I lose them. Every single time. Being the innovative person that I am, I decided that I would rebrand it to self-care. This was more readily accepted for a time. Now this is starting to be lost. So now, as last resort I turn all Albert Ellisonian on them and just state the obvious, "You are not taking very good care of yourself. Why?" This article is your come to Jesus meeting too. So, pull up your comfy chair. Let's chat for a second. Because honey, your self-care skills suck.
I didn't stutter. I absolutely mean it. You are not kind to yourself. You are not gentle with yourself. You are stuck in the same rut you were in 6 months ago. You said 2023 would be your year. You said you were cutting off the things and people that meant you no good. You promised to drink more water. You promised to eat healthier. You promised you would exercise more. You promised to end that dead end relationship with your significant other. That you would follow up with your dentist and your doctor whom you have been evading for the last year. You said you would worship more. You would read your holy texts. I even believe I heard you say you were going to give back to your community and volunteer more. You promised to go check on grandma and grandpa more. You promised that this year, when you had that new, fresh idea you would share it at the next staff meeting. Speaking of work you said you'd use more paid time off. Heck you promised to find a mentor or coach or even enroll in therapy. And you lied. You lied to me. You lied to you. You lied to your family. You absolutely lied. You have done nothing. And you can do nothing. Because you are burnt out, unbalanced, and in absolute denial about it.
Aht, aht, aht. Do not close this article. Do not roll your eyes. Do not huff. Are you sitting back in your chair in disbelief? How dare this keyboard warrior type those words to you! Close your mouth. Unfurrow your brows. Relax your jaw. Take a deep cleansing breath. Because deep down you know. You know that I am right. And if you were sitting directly across from me, I'd say all of these things with exactly the same attitude that you are reading it in your head. Because I am right. And you know it. Need proof? Let's play a game: "You're unbalanced and you know it because..."
You're unbalanced and you know it because you are disconnected, narrow minded, skeptical, and stubborn.
Oh yeah. You are wandering around here feeling a lack of purpose and direction in life. You literally go through the day to day motions with no personal goals or dreams to reach. In fact, you are so skeptical, you believe that stuff is all pipe dreams. You can't focus or make decisions. Your creative spark has extinguished. You find you are bothered by tension headaches. You aren't sleeping well and if depression hasn't swallowed you yet, it is right around the corner about to show up at your door.
You're unbalanced and you know it because you are dull, unfocused, know it all.
You know all of the book facts in the world. Statistics you have down pack and you have a list of facts and figures at the ready to hurl at others in any debate. Yet, you can't trust your own intuition or gut instincts. In fact, you are so out of touch with your own instincts, you criticize others who are in touch with theirs as emotional and illogical. Others experience you as insufferable. Yet for all the intelligence you possess, you aren't at home with your own body, feelings, intuition, or instincts. So often life catches you unaware, and "I didn't see that coming," becomes an often-repeated statement.
You're unbalanced and you know it because you are either quiet as church mouse or can't zip it to save your life.
Talking with you isn't pleasurable to experience or watch. You fall on one of two spectrums. You dominate conversations, are confrontational, and speak without thinking of the impact of your words on others. In fact, you don't even care. You are a conversational bully. When you aren't doing that, you spend all of your time gossiping about others. Or making up tall tales about your life that lean far from the actual truth. You say the sky is blue and those around you feel they have to fact check you. Don't see yourself there? Well, here is the other side of the coin. You are quiet as a church mouse. People talk condescendingly to you and yet you say nothing. You never stand up for yourself. Your friends and family find themselves wanting to jump in and save you. Conversations with them are often punctuated with, "You can't keep allowing them to talk to you like that."
You're unbalanced and you know it because you can't let go of grudges against others and yourself and you scoff at love and affection.
There are two sides to this coin too. You find yourself setting yourself on fire to keep others warm. The more you do for others, the lonelier and more isolated you feel. You've been burned before in the love department and you are determined you will never allow that to happen again. Love? Who needs it? You can't forgive others for their mistakes because you are incapable of forgiving yourself for your mistakes. You are unable to engage in coping skills or self-care because you have no compassion for yourself. Secretly, you believe you deserve to suffer.
You're unbalanced and you know it because your self-esteem is low and your motivation is in the toilet.
You feel bloated. You feel constipated. And you are afraid the world knows. You are insecure and self-conscious. You are unmotivated and don't have the energy or drive to change your circumstances. You feel you have no personal power to change the course of your life thus fueling the flames of your irritability. You feel trapped and have difficulty self-regulating because you have secretly convinced yourself it is not within your power anyway.
You're unbalanced and you know it because you feel a nagging sense of guilt and shame with many things but especially in matters of sex.
I'm not even going to ask you when the last time was that you got laid. Chances are, it has been a while. And even if it hasn't, you probably didn't fully enjoy the experience; probably not even reaching the big O. Whether through religious experiences or trauma, sex is taboo for you. You feel guilt, shame, and numbness everywhere and it follows you relentlessly, even to the bedroom. Where you don't even believe you deserve to be. You hide your nakedness. You struggle to perform because you can't get out of your own head. Sensuality and pleasure are for everyone else but you; so you've told yourself.
You're unbalanced and you know it because you never feel safe, never feel secure, never feel anything is enough.
You don't have a clue how to just be. You constantly are doing. Constantly striving to do more, achieve more, be more. You constantly fear the things you have achieved can be taken away. So you work more and harder. You are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. Put another way, you are so focused on the future that you are detached from your here and now experiences; you're here and yet not here. Now your mind and body are paying for it. You feel aches and pains particularly in your lower back and hips though the doctor says all test concludes there is no illness. Because you worry so much about everything, you aren't sleeping well.
If you have been a long-time follower of this blog, you probably understand that many of these symptoms are signs and symptoms of a larger problem that need immediate referral to a qualified health care provider or mental health provider. Left unchecked these symptoms will only get worse. If you find yourself in any or all of these above listed categories stop playing around with your health and wellbeing. This is your wake-up call. You are destroying yourself. Of course, the title of this article is 7 Unconventional Ways to Balance Mind, Body, & Soul. So, I will list a few things here for you try; however, please be duly warned that you still should first check-in with a qualified health care provider to rule out any medical cause (physical or mental) to your symptoms.
Try grounding exercises such as walking barefoot on grass or soil, standing or sitting with your feet on the ground, or visualizing roots growing from the base of your spine into the earth. Incorporate the color red into your wardrobe. Eat red apples, beets, tomatoes, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, ginger, tumeric, eggs, beans, and nuts.
Pleasure & Creativity
Use positive affirmations. Try creative activities such as painting, dancing, or playing music. Focus on activities that stimulate your senses, such as taking a warm bath or enjoying a massage. Incorporate the color orange into your wardrobe. Drink plenty of water and incorporate herbal teas. Eat carrots, mangos, oranges, peaches, sweet potatoes, flax, almonds, walnuts, and sesame, coconut, and cinnamon.
Self-Esteem & Confidence
Use affirmations (I am worthy. I am confident. I am powerful.) with deep breathing exercises. Try core-strengthening exercises such as planks or sit-ups. Take a risk/try something new (learn a language or take a new class). Incorporate the color yellow into your wardrobe. Eat bananas, pineapple, corn, lemons, yellow curry, brown rice, oats, rye, beans, vegetables, and sprouted grains.
Compassion & Love
Sign up for therapy or coaching service. Try practicing compassion and forgiveness, both for yourself and others. Spend time with friends, family, and pets. Write in a gratitude journal. Incorporate the color green into your wardrobe. Have a salad. Eat kale, broccoli, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, avocado, lime, peas, kiwi, and green apples. Drink green tea or fresh green juice.
Try expressing yourself creatively by journaling, writing stories, writing songs, or writing poetry. Sing. Take communication skills class. Take assertiveness training. Paint. Incorporate the color blue into your wardrobe. Eat blueberries, blackberries, apples, pears, and plums. Drink coconut water, herbal teas. Incorporate raw honey and lemon.
Try meditation or visualization exercises and pair with deep breathing. Try yoga. Incorporate the color purple into your wardrobe. Eat purple grapes, purple kale, blueberries, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple carrots, and cacao.
Awareness & Intelligence
Detox (when medically safe to do so). Incorporate the color white into your wardrobe. Try meditation or visualization exercises. Try yoga. Use essential oils such as sage, lavender, frankincense, and juniper. Practice gratitude.
There you have it. Seven unconventional things to try to feel more balanced in mind, body, and spirit. I hope you found this list of coping skills/self-care skills/self-nurturing skills/stress management skills (hey whatever you want to call it) refreshing. Do you think it would be possible to change your wardrobe or change your eating habits over the next week to see how you feel? Or perhaps break out that gratitude journal we've discussed together time and time again? How do you feel about walking around outdoors barefoot? I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments below which method you will try or maybe have tried. Do you know of any other calming, "unconventional" coping methods? Please tell us in the comments. And please remember, wherever you are on this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!
"Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us. ~Voltaire
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