My Radical Self-Care Challenge

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It has been a while since I last posted. I have been transitioning to a new lifestyle that is much more in alignment with my present dreams and values.

Travelling the world while working on supporting others to have the courage to express and embrace their uniqueness, so they can truly achieve career and life success, is all I have being dreaming for.

As you know, well-being is at the core of all the work I do. My aim is for you to achieve your dreams, with no stress or burnout.

I have the default of leaning towards work. When it comes to prioritising, my career has always been my main focus. So now, during this time of change, I have had to apply what I encourage you to constantly work on, self-care. This time I have taken it to an extreme.


Why have I decided to do such a thing?


During the first couple of weeks of my VanLife Journey, I really noticed the impact stress was having on me.

I would become easily irritable, my body was accumulating a lot of tension, I got a cold and I started experiencing some anxiety. I was giving it my all  to what VanLife was throwing at us, challenge after challenge. Everyday something would go wrong and we couldn't start our journey.

Is this lifestyle really for us or are we being trained for what it has to come? - I wondered

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I have become well aware of what the signs are for me to stop and re-evaluate, if the way I am managing the situation is useful or not. An important part of Emotional Intelligence is to be able to identify and manage our own emotions.


So I chose the second response. I was definitely being trained in a safe space, where I had my friends and the best mechanic I have ever met. This way I could learn and be able to manage whatever would come our way.

Research shows that when under stress our performance gets affected.

Not only for my own well-being but in order to keep giving my best to my current clients, I decided to get hands on managing it.

The Stress Bucket Model, asserts there is only so much stress we can take. A way to empty the basket so it does not overflow is done by investing in yourself and nurturing your needs. I got straight to it.

Radical Self-care was my answer.

I wanted to find myself again in a flow stage, so I planned the challenge. I would practice radical self-care during 90 days and notice what bubbles up.  

How have I planned my Radical Self-Care journey and how can you do it too?


#1 SETTING UP THE RULES

After becoming aware of what was draining my energy the most (worrisome type of thoughts, lack of exercise and real nutritious food, lack of sleep, bad posture, lack of communication and connection…) I made a list of the things that I wanted to avoid and what I did not want anymore in my life.


Make a list the things you don't want


I reflected about what I was going to commit to and what my goals for this new journey were. Having a look at the different areas that conform your life, ask your-self: what would you like them to look like?


Make sure you are clear on what you want


If you have trouble finding out what you want, what your purpose is or in making decisions, become part of our community at The Confidence Hub or follow me on social media. A new challenge is coming up soon to support you in gaining clarity, direction and focus.


#2 BECOMING CLEARER ON WHAT YOU WANT THE JOURNEY TO LOOK LIKE, NOT YOUR GOALS.


This is a common mistake.

You might know pretty vividly what your goals look like. However, have you thought about what you would like the path you walk towards, to reach those objectives, to feel like?


I took some time to think about what I wanted my journey to look like while I was working towards those goals.


For example, although I wanted to set up a new morning routine based on my new circumstances, I decided I wasn't going to neglect my sleep (Minimum of 8 hours, or I won't be myself!) and so I would not set up a timer to get up. This is going to be flexible, as I have to be, on the road.


#3 PRIORITISE, HOW YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME?

If I want to do all those things and have time for all I want during this journey, taking into account that the simplest tasks take SO much longer, I will need to manage my time efficiently.

How do you feel about the way you are using your time?

First of all I made a list of the things I do, that I don't really enjoy and that are taking my productive time away.


Make a list of the things that take up your time, things you don't enjoy and you do not feel are productive


Bullet Journaling

I stopped using TO-DO lists and embraced Bullet Journaling, as well as, Time Boxing. They have saved me from procrastination and have raised my productivity, while allowing me to really enjoy my free time.

Considering what I want, why I want it and the conclusion I gather from the time spent on reflection that bullet journaling provides, I can make sure I am working towards what I really value. Knowing what to do, when and for how long, gives me the clarity and focus I need to just go for it.




Identify and focus on what is meaningful by stripping away what is meaningless.

- R.Carrol


#4 MANAGE WORRY

Worry got managed, to an extent, by going through steps one and two, giving me security and making me feel content.

Then I not only chose to go with the flow and embrace flexibility, I managed worry by challenging some unfounded  thoughts and beliefs, by increasing my meditation time and frequency.


Learn to notice your thoughts and start noticing how they may be linked to your emotions. Begin to wonder whether those thoughts are 100% true or whether there might be another way of looking at it.


If you want to learn more about common thinking errors that we tend to have and how to challenge those read about it here.


#5 SETTING BOUNDARIES (in relationships and Career).


In order to feel grounded and stable, you need to learn to say no to those things that may be draining your energy. You need to inform others what your needs are and how your are planning to meet those.


Set some boundaries, think about what is draining your energy and what you can say no to, then have the courage to communicate it with honesty.


This way, you make clear what your intentions are others will learn how to best relate to you, taking into account your new objectives.

Increase communication and real connection

Something I loved doing was having a conversation with my partner, so we could organise things better and live in this tiny space making the most of it.


In terms of my career and business,  I have also taken the time to reset some of my priorities and set some new boundaries between myself and my clients, so they know what to expect from me.


What would you like to say no to?

#5 FOCUS ON NURTURING BODY, MIND AND SOUL

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As I mentioned before these areas of my life got somehow neglected during the months I started moving from my house to the van.

Although we tend to focus on one or the other, they are equally as important.

It is not only about how fit or strong your body is and how well it may look. It is about how it is within, physically but also mentally.

How much effort do you put into your meal preparation or exercising?

How much effort do you put into taking care of your Mental Health?

How much time do you spent nurturing your soul with genuine connections, hobbies, nature or contribution?

If you are anything like me, almost all of them tend to be put into the back burner right?

I decided, as part of my radical self-care practice, I will make a greater effort with meal preparation, cutting down on sugar and increasing my physical activity, even if it is just for 5 minutes to start with.


Take some time to think about how you could nurture your body, mind and soul a bit better.


#6 TAKING ACTION AND FEEDING WILLPOWER


The last step is to act and to keep going, doing what you have committed to, even when the motivation is not there, right?

Well, did you know that self-care gives you a dose of willpower?

The part of the brain that helps you to say “no” to the chocolate biscuits or that gives you the push to go to the gym (Self-control) is at its best when you have been able to manage stress efficiently and when you feel nurtured, healthy and content .

Let's welcome once again Radical Self Care!

Furthermore, it is a trainable part. So, you can increase your willpower by training the prefrontal cortex, where your self-control is situated, with a simple 5 minutes technique: Focused Breathing.

Not only it will support you in reducing stress, it will also show your mind how to deal with cravings, worries, temptations and getting up at the time you set,  or doing the tasks you said you would do.

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Fit in the Breath Focus technique wherever you can. If you make it a routine at a specific time, even better, but we know how life is, embrace flexibility.



What type of radical self care is right for you?

There is no right or wrong answer.

It is different for each individual and it changes depending on your circumstances.

This is me making my way to practice Yoga in the Van, it is too cold out there in Belgium.

This is me making my way to practice Yoga in the Van, it is too cold out there in Belgium.

If you have a hectic life and you think you haven't got time, radical self care could mean to take 5 minutes to breath, or 30 seconds to feel your body, your feet on the floor, to notice what is around you.

It could just be to ask yourself what you need right now, in the middle of a working day. Perhaps you notice you need a glass of water, a nutritious meal, or just changing your posture and stretching.

I used to think self-care was a waste of time and that I didn't have enough time for it, until I burnt out. Now that I have made it a priority I can see the incredible benefits.

Do you love sports? Get back to them practice those you have left behind due to “lack of time” and test it, be like a scientist, notice what the difference may be that week and how your performance shifts.

Or if that seems impossible, tell me.  What would your radical self-care look like at this point in your life?

As you can see I am not doing headstands, but a Supine Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana) after some stretches feels great to start my morning.

What small dose of self-care could you gift yourself with today?

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If you want to learn more about how to manage stress and increase your well-being by developing self-confidence and self-belief join The Confidence Hub. Here several challenges and prompts, together with a beautiful community of like-minded people, will support you to keep growing and develop confidence.