When the pressure of keeping up in a stressed out world gets too much, being kind to ourselves is essential for our well-being.
We’ve all felt that familiar pressure; that push & pull to show up, perform, and succeed, even though every fibre of our being is telling us it would be wiser to pause and wait for when the timing is right.
When the first rose burst into bloom in my garden this year, it caught me off-guard.
A few weeks prior, I’d complained to my partner about it.
“This rose bush is a dud. It isn’t flowering! All the other roses in the area are blooming. I don’t know what’s wrong with this one.”
I used to berate myself in the same way I did the rose. Measuring my worth through comparison to others, and giving up on myself before I’d even given myself a chance to germinate, let alone flourish.
I used to feel bad that I wasn’t able to create quick changes in my life like other people, and so to over-compensate for those feelings, I used my will power to push against my better judgement (my more compassionate and kind judgement) in the hopes that someday, I would arrive…like everybody else.
Instead of arriving, I came to a complete stop. Instead of flourishing, I burned out.
It took a series of small, everyday steps to fine tune my health and move forward in a kinder, more gentle way to support my overall well-being.
These are some of the small, meaningful steps that helped me invite more self-compassion and kindness into my life as I navigated my way through burnout recovery. I hope they will be helpful for you, too.
Be mindful of the tone of your inner voice.
Many of us have developed a harsh, self-critical inner dialogue that is detrimental to our well-being over time.
How to tell if your inner dialogue is having a detrimental impact on your well-being?
If you feel drained by the unrealistic expectations you put on yourself, and your internal dialogue is centered around bargaining tactics such as, “if I can just achieve this, then I’ll feel better about myself…” then it’s highly likely you’re dealing with an inner dialogue pattern that’s more exhausting than encouraging.
The first step in creating a more peaceful, supportive inner dialogue, is to commit to meeting our own deepest needs, regardless of how mean our inner critic is.
Whether that’s the need for better quality sleep, better nourishment, affection, connection, more quiet time to reflect, or an outlet to express ourselves creatively, when we take full responsibility for re-parenting ourselves so that our needs are met, we’re able to reduce the impact of negative self-talk through consistent supportive and loving action.
Tune in to your Heart Coherence
Heart Coherence is a simple, grounding practice that you can do anywhere, any time.
Take a moment to close your eyes, pause, breathe, and shift your internal focus to the slow and steady pulse of your gentle heart to create a feeling of inner sanctuary that you can return to at any time.
Cultivate meaningful pauses throughout your day to simply be present.
This could look like anything from listening to the birds outside for five minutes; taking a few deep breaths before choosing how to respond to that email; taking a minute to physically relax your shoulders, and your jaw; switching your phone off and enjoying a cup of tea, or simply tuning in to how you feel in your body.
This is called the art of allowing. The practice of pausing to reconnect to the natural rhythms of life.
Side effects of small pauses such as these include a wider perspective on our everyday stresses, and powerful shifts towards a more calm, and conscious approach to being.
By giving ourselves the gift of relaxing into our own natural rhythms of productivity and rest, whether it’s through small, meaningful daily pauses, or more contemplative pauses over greater periods of time, not only do we cultivate more space for the right opportunities, projects, and connections to present themselves on our path, we have more sustainable energy to pursue life joyfully, without burning out.
When we’re not pushing ahead to prove our worth, we allow ourselves the spacious gift of leaning back. As a result, we’re able to take some much-needed time to choose the next right step, instead of rushing into the next thing and the next, perpetuating the cycle of busy, and exhausting our life force energy.
Some of the greatest transformations we can ever expect to see, happen when we cultivate the art of allowing.
The everyday marvels in my garden – such as the unexpected blooming of the rose – continue to remind me of this great teaching.
Regardless of whether all the other roses in the area had flowered already, this one was content to wait – relying on its own elegant internal timing – until it was the right time to flourish.
Observing the natural timing of things in my garden has helped me over the years to release the unhealed story I held in my body that said I ought to be a certain way, sound a certain way, and show up a certain way in order to be labelled a ‘success’’…and on a deeper level, to be loved.
If there’s a part of you that’s ever felt that life is passing you by at a rapid pace, and you simply aren’t doing, or being enough…stop, before your health enforces a stop for you.
Your time is your time, your path is your path.
What’s meant for you will not pass you by.