During coaching, people often balk at the thought of making time for themselves. Yet practicing fierce self-care is an antidote to stress. Stress-related conditions are the major cause of visits to the doctor’s office. In light of your health, what is more important? Be fierce about taking care of yourself. Whatever you're busy with—appointments, travel arrangements, a new project—try something different. Instead of always doing, planning, making lists, and otherwise creating stress, just stop.
That's right. Stop. Push the 'pause' button on your life, and sit. Spring is here in all its glory. Notice the beauty of the world renewing itself one more time, and renew yourself. Spend the afternoon in the lounge chair and read a book. Use that coupon and get a massage. If you're tired, take a nap. As some wise person once promised with the words “this too shall pass,” things will get done—though now in a rested and calm manner.
Like the warm sunlight between clouds, make your day airy and bright by making it more spacious. How would your day feel if you moved that appointment to tomorrow, or next week, and did "nothing" for that hour? Give your brain and body a break and go for a walk.You might be surprised at the clarity that comes from being silent for a while.
Silence is an intimate force: intimate because the silence found during a walk allows for a deeper connection to one’s thoughts and feelings. It's a force because an affirmative change is created; an insight, a peacefulness or excitement bubbles up that's not accessible until the silence occurs. It is a positive quieting. Not suppression, not censorship—but an opening up where once there was a great cacophony of thoughts, what my friend Shelly describes as "the sound of twelve pairs of tennis shoes in a dryer.”
The traditions that quiet this noise are many, and timeless—meditation, reading, writing, gardening, hiking, painting, woodworking, or playing with your dog are just a few examples. Cultivating self-care during coaching is finding, in the context of one’s life, the one practice that brings about this quiet. With it comes focused clarity. It is connecting and serenely forceful. Best of all, it can become a practice for a lifetime.
What practice is already in your life that allows you to slow down a bit, breath, and pay attention to what you need this moment? What takes you to the restful place?
An Introduction to Life Coaching by Nancy G. Shapiro