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What Is Self-Care, Really?
With Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, and Barbara Powell, MA
“Self-care” is a term that gets tossed around a lot, but what is self-care, really? In this episode, Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, and Barbara Powell, MA, of Life Time Mind talk about it in a way that may be new to you — and explain why they think it should be rebranded as “performance recovery.” They share the 12 types of self-care and three categories of ways to integrate it into our lives so we can better support our health and well-being.
Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, MindCoach, is a trauma-informed therapist and the director of Life Time Mind.
Barbara Powell, MA, is a national board-certified health and wellness coach and a MindCoach with Life Time Mind.
In this episode, Vortherms and Powell discuss three categories of self-care. Bucketing them this way can help you approach your care in a smart way that also fits into your life:
- Microrecovery: These are things you can do in the moment to respond to stress. For example, if you feel your stress rising, a microrecovery may look like planting your feet on the ground, noticing where they are, and starting to slow your speech to lower your heart rate.
- Macrorecovery: This is dedicated time for rest or time away from your normal day-to-day activities. This could look like taking PTO solely for play or going on a long weekend getaway.
- Habitual recovery: These are things we do for ourselves daily to make sure we have the mental and physical energy to take on whatever stressors we might encounter. This includes habits such as nutrition, sleep, meditation, and movement.
More Like This
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The ability to be vulnerable — and show up as our real, authentic selves — is central to our well-being. Barbara Powell, MA, MindCoach with Life Time Mind, dives into the power of this raw emotion and debunks the myths surrounding it, including how it’s connected to our other emotions and why it’s OK if it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable to us.
Transcript: What Is Self-Care, Really?
Season 2, Episode 2 | January 3, 2023
[AUDIO LOGO] Hey, everyone. Welcome to Life Time Talks. I’m Jamie Martin.
And I’m David Freeman.
And in this episode, we’re talking all about self care and we have two really amazing guests with us. They’ve both been with us before here on the podcast. But we have the performance coaches from the Life Time Mind program at lifetime’s. We’re going to take a little moment here to introduce them.
Brie Vortherms, is the Director of Life Time Mind and a mind coach. She has a background in biology and psychology. And she is a trauma informed therapist, who focuses on the relational health of her clients in the systems. They are in.
Awesome. And then we also have Barbara Powell, National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Has a Master in Intergrative Health and Well Being, coaching at the University of Minnesota’s Center of Spirituality and Healing, mind coach with LTMind, which is our holistic performance coaching program for our LT team members. And she’s an author, marathoner, and a poet, if you didn’t know it.
Oh, look how he did that right there, everybody. One thing also that I want to acknowledge too is that both Brie and Barbara are in leadership. The WELL Group at Life Time, which is women empowering leadership at Life Time. I’m also part of that.
We’re on the board. And then the committee is with that. And it’s really important work, where we’re really working to empower women in their roles in whatever capacity are women across the Life Time organization. So thanks to both of you for the work you’re doing with that. And I’m like so proud to be in partnership with you and the other women in our group as well. So welcome.
Welcome to Life Time Talks. Welcome back.
Welcome back in person.
Thank you so much.
Well, we have a lot to get through today. And so we’re just going to jump right in self care. It’s one of those things where we often– it’s something that goes for a lot of us when our lives are busy, when there’s a lot going on. We don’t take the time we should to really invest in ourselves. We give a lot to others. But let’s start with why self care matters.
What is self care and what is it not as well.
Sure. So I think one of my favorite definitions to get closer to the concept of self care is looking at it as an act of self love. So one of the direct ways you can start to experience your own inherent worth. This concept of not self esteem that can be raised or lowered but this concept of feeling worthy is to take care of yourself. And so a direct way to do that, very linear, is start doing some elements of self care even– we’ll get to it like micro things that you can do.
You’re going to start to feel just more worthy and more like yourself.
And when we think about self care there’s typically very certain images that rise up that we think about. So more often than not I mean, for everyone listening as well as for yourself, just think for a moment like what really are those images or thoughts that you have that come and are connected to self care? And typically, it’ll be things like, OK, well, taking time out for myself.
Maybe a bubble bath. Getting my hair done or stepping away. And Brie and I really want to challenge folks to rebrand actually what they think about. Rethink what they think about self care as performance recovery. So every day in our lives we’re met with stressors day in and day out.
It’s going to be various and different for all of us. And we actually need stressors in order to grow and in order to expand in our lives. And when we have a basis of self care or we’re calling it performance recovery, it gives us this opportunity to build resiliency for those stressors, those things in our life. So when we’re thinking about performance recovery, we’re thinking, what can I build intentionally in my life that’s going to support these natural stressors like work, family, maybe athletic endeavors that we might have creative endeavors and really support our nervous system alongside with that?
I love the whole rebranding piece from self care to performance recovery. This is near and dear to me because a lot of times when speaking to a lot of coaches across the nation, the number one thing I talk about is like, why did you get into this profession to help people. And you were filling up the sponge if you will, with all this knowledge and resources to help people? And what we tend to do is we start to wring that sponge out to all of these individuals that we come in contact with and eventually that sponge becomes dry because we don’t go back to self and the whole purpose of why we got into it.
So I love the visual behind performance recovery and what that means in detail. So we kind of touch a little surface on it. Some examples of how we can get back to it ’cause you gave some– Oh, we think of candles and bubble bath but when we start to dive deeper into it as far as self care from a performance recovery standpoint for those who are listening, how can we attack it a little bit more in that space?
Yeah, absolutely. Giving your nervous system the opportunity to ease back into a state of calm. We can think about it really simply in that way. So if you think about your nervous system I mean, you have these two power players that are involved. I know we’ll talk a little bit more in depth about this later. But there’s parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system that really have to work together in order for us to perform at a high level.
And so when both of those parts of our nervous system are activated, we have to give each of them the opportunity to be supported. So we might have to support our parasympathetic nervous system a little differently than we support our sympathetic. We might have to bring in things like deep breathing, these micro recoveries. Like meditation or grounding ourselves. So that we can boost our sympathetic nervous system that fight or flight part of ourselves.
And then bring in different aspects that also boost and support our parasympathetic that rest and digest. Are we getting enough sleep? Are we allowing ourself the proper nutrition? So our body knows how to recover and recover well. Are we joining in healthy supportive relationships?
Where does my nervous system feel good? And when we start to really dive into our nervous system feels good, we really can start becoming pretty clear about this intentional direction that we can take these performance recovery models into.
Absolutely. And I think the biggest piece is the concept of neuroplasticity means we can be different. And stressors aren’t going anywhere. They will always be depending on your season of life. They might shift and change. But the resiliency that we build is just teaching your nervous system that you can adapt to what’s going on.
So that it might be a stressor but you don’t have to be stressed out. We’re still going to have maybe that first rush of a stress response but then when we can kind of meet like Barbara said that parasympathetic nervous system and give it a little bit of a workout. So that it can meet these stressors without taking a huge toll on our body, where we’re not sitting in survival mode.
’cause that chronic state of survival mode of fight flight freeze, that limbic system is going to run you out. So what essentially we’re doing with any of these self care pieces that we’ll touch on from the micro habitual and macro lens is we are offering our nervous system a way to shift blood flow literally from fight, flight, or freeze into executive functioning, which exists right here in the prefrontal cortex. You actually can’t have blood flow going to both places at once. It’s a switch.
It’s in one or the other. And so essentially in a stressful situation if you’re doing these little bits of recovery in other times or in those moments, we’re able to shift blood flow and be grounded, calm, still clear, and not take a huge toll on our body. And that is when people feel great. And you can also I think feel a little less stressed out about the world, what’s coming, what’s next?
It doesn’t really matter I know that I can handle it. Oh, my gosh what a gift?
Well, and it’s about– in some ways, it’s about being proactive like versus reactive. And I think one of the things that have read and heard. We’ve had Dr. Henry Emmons on our show a few different times. And one thing that he talks about is like there’s these practices that we can integrate in our daily lives.
I think we’re talking about this in the micro moments that you’re talking about. So that when these stressors come to us, we have tools to go back to. And to rely on that can help bring us back to that calm steady state that you’re talking about Barbara. So I think I love this idea of the different types of ways we can build self care into our lives.
So let’s talk about those. You mentioned micro, macro, and habitual.
Yeah, I think we’re going to offer a couple of lenses here. We’re going to talk about them in the context of performance recovery. And Barbara, maybe you can break down the concept of micro, macro, and habitual. And then we can go into different types of self care after that.
Yeah, absolutely. So these three buckets. So here I am. I’m trying to approach my recovery in a smart way. I’m trying to approach it in a way that’s really going to fit for me. And that’s really going to integrate nicely into my life. It helps to have categories.
And so that’s a huge reason why we have it. So we have these micro, macro, and then habitual. So you can think of a micro recovery as the things that you have to do, you can do in the moment to respond to stress. So here in this moment, I’m on a podcast.
My heart rate’s up a little bit I’ll admit. So a micro recovery for me, I’m planting my feet on the floor. I’m noticing where they are. I’m slowing down my speech. I can already feel my heart rate come down.
So we can do these micro things for ourselves to continue to train our nervous system to respond. Like you said Jamie react or respond. Yeah instead of react in the moment. So alongside micro, you also have macro. So this is what we think about in terms of a dedicated time of rest.
A dedicated time away from our day to day. When I’m working with clients. When we talk about the concept of rest and recovery, especially through the performance recovery lens, I like to ask them what is like the opposite of what you have to do on the day to day? Can you turn that into a couple of days or a long weekend of endeavor?
So more often than not, we have to be adults all week long. We have bills to pay. We have work to show up at. We have kids. And it can feel– life can feel a bit serious and that can impact how our nervous system feels in that moment.
And so a macro recovery may incorporate things like PTO that has playtime. Being able to take a creative weekend away, a retreat of some kind. This is our time away. And I would actually even argue and Brie step in if this is stepping out. But I would even argue that these micro recoveries that I talked about might even actually be more important than this macro one.
Micro gives you this opportunity to really respond eloquently to your day and to your stresses. And macro is like, Oh, that exhale that you can take away from your life. And then this third bucket is habitual. And these are the things that we do for ourselves on a day to day basis to make sure that we’re boosted.
To make sure that we have the mental, emotional, and physical energy to take on whatever stressors might be in our day. So this might be something like a daily spirituality practice. Like meditation or journaling. I know for me I just brought tarot cards into my spiritual recovery. So we can play around with this as to what types of day to day things can I bring into my life that actually continue to boost and support.
Nutrition falls under this. Sleep falls under this. Creative endeavors and play falls under this as well.
I want to go back to the micro if you can because I feel like that’s going to happen so much more often. That not to say these others won’t but to your point, you related to the podcast the heart rate going up, grounding your feet. So what’s the learning curve? And I know it’s so subjective to say this is a one size fits all, but the reps within the space if it is unfamiliar, how do now we’ve got to make it routine?
We have to make it a habit? So what I would say is there something that from a study standpoint like after you’ve done x amount of reps or so this starts to become more and more natural. Because the one thing that’s always a variable is whatever stressor is coming at you that you’ve never seen before and how you approach it.
So when you go back to the micro piece in that approach, what’s that learning curve if there any?
When I think of the learning curve, I actually think of that more in the habitual standpoint. When you are really trying to solidify some habits in your life that support you and your wellness, this study show that’s a six to eight week marker. When we’re talking about building habits.
I think micro this is why it’s such a pressure valve and why it’s actually probably one of the most important things we talk about today is because they don’t have a big learning curve. These are things that take one to two minutes. And what I usually like for my clients is we experiment for a couple of sessions. And I give them a handful to experiment with in between.
And so we do some fast learning. OK, let’s try this one and we can do some of that today too. I mean, I can give one example I did yesterday with someone who really needs to feel grounded but also need some better self-talk. So this one, you’re going to take our hands like this. This might be silly.
Peace begins with me. I actually think I did this on our anxiety podcast.
This one’s super simple. So I’m saying just use your hands. Just learn how to use your hands a little bit. Incorporate your body thematically and also do some cognitive rehearsal. Peace begins with me. There’s no learning curve there.
And just for those who are listening and can’t see this right now, really we have our hands up and with each word, we’re joining a finger to our thumb as you say each word.
We’re moving through our hands. And I’m kind of a bilateral person I like to do them both. But these micro recoveries are really meant to introduce a handful of little things. We experiment with them. I say, see what sticks, you’re going to have things that stick with you and that don’t because we’re all– our nervous systems are all a little bit different right with things that elevate us or actually ground us.
I have one in my pocket ’cause yes, Barbara we’re on a podcast. Usually you’re thinking of through your senses, through micro recoveries. So ground through your feet what can you smell? What can you see? Can you let your eyes move to the horizon?
Is there anything you can touch? We did touch there. We did a little bit of vocalization. Tap right here, the chest tap. So for those that are listening, this is called the thymus tap. And it’s right in the middle of your breastbone. And just doing a few taps there.
That’s considered a micro recovery. It speaks to the nervous system as well. And so these are meant to not have a learning curve. And I say, OK, here’s a handful. I’m going to throw at you and I want you to just experiment with them. See what sticks. And if none of them stick, we’ll do some more.
That’s right. The experimentation really is the name of the game, honestly. And it’s in repetition of this too. I mean, we hear it. Neurons have fire together, wire together. I’m experiencing something stressful. I do something grounding in my body. Those neurons are firing together.
I’m teaching my nervous system, OK, when something stressful occurs, I come back to my body. And again, with repetition who was it? Vanilla Ice that says, check out the hook when my DJ revolves it. Like that’s what we get to do with our brain. What’s the thing like our mantra that we are affirmation that we go back to?
The rhythm in our hands are feet that we go back to again and again? You’re the DJ–
And introducing anything different and interrupting your normal stress response. So if I’m like, Oh, I’m starting to feel it. Doing anything different in that moment, it doesn’t have to be large. Doesn’t have to be a 10 minute practice. It can be a 30 second practice to break up that current neural template for how you respond to stress like, nope, I’m feeling it.
I’m going to smell my essential oil here. I just broke up and stopped that stress response from running it’s pattern in my brain.
When it comes to– I like that. I love it if you like it. I want to go to an individual, to another individual. If I’m in a heated discussion with a spouse or if I’m spinning out of control in the car a little bit different. We probably do that with the spouse probably ask me what am I doing.
But at the same time, like in those type of situations obviously it’s a stressor. It’s something that’s somewhat out of control if I’m spinning out of control with the car. So I’m thinking in those moments too like how do we now tap back into that because I think in this controlled setting, we’re being coached through it?
We’re aware of it. We now have a few reps that we can apply but that’s why I’m always curious for those who are listening, “All right, well, I just got into it with my spouse or my kids are having trouble at school. Like how do I now apply what I’ve just learned to others outside of me?”
Sure. I mean, so I’m hearing in my head. I’m hearing time out, time out. A lot of times, the only thing we need to do in those moments where we are nervous system might be blown out or somebody else is around us and say, we’re talking with a spouse the best and most helpful thing, and relational thing you can do is take a timeout and say I’m noticing I’m not in any space to be relational right now.
Like we can continue to go but I’m in fight, flight, or freeze. And you’re going to get a part of me that’s not super respectful. So let’s pause. That’s actually the only thing you have to do. If you call a timeout out, you have to call a timeout back in because otherwise things are left unresolved. And that’s not helpful and it end up being more injuring for the relationship.
But if at the least thing you can do is call a timeout out, then you go round yourself, then that’s that like. All right here’s the deal. This isn’t going to be helpful. Let me go grab myself and then you can go try to be skillful and come back to it. Trying to be skillful in the moment is not really fair. It’s not really possible.
I’m someone who does this for a living and I call timeouts every day still specifically with my partner. I’m like, “Timeout”. And if he’s like, well no. I’m like, OK, you can but you’re not going to get a good result here. So I think it’s about calling a timeout and having that level of self awareness. And then going and grounding or doing some type of micro-recovery, trying again.
Yeah, I love that. Well, let’s talk a little bit I know when you actually both presented at WELL. I think Brie you were presenting at a WELL event which I referenced earlier. And this was an eye opening thing when I think of self care I tend to be the person who goes back to some of those the more bubble bath candle type thing. But obviously I know it’s more than that.
But you introduce that these 12 types of self care. And we’re not going to have time today to go in depth on each of these but I think it’s really interesting to of run through what they are and maybe offer a few examples of a couple of them to help people understand ’cause self care it’s not a luxury. It’s not something we have to earn or deserve but it’s just part of day to day life hopefully.
Yeah, I mean, A, self care is boring. And I think that’s something to really know. It’s the very first thing to introduce is this is a functional adult. Thing this isn’t necessarily a fun thing. And you’ll hear that with some of the types of self care that I’ll talk about because it’s not necessarily just for being an enjoyable moment, it’s actually for esteeming our self, taking care of our self.
Sending a message to our nervous system that we matter. And that this is really important to do. So for an example. And I’ll just run through them really, really quick and say them out loud which is and they’re going to kind of seem silly maybe. The 12 types of self care are around food, around clothing, around shelter, physical nurturing, emotional nurturing, education, spiritual practice, medical care, dental care, sexual care, financial responsibility, and our social and relational connections.
These are so many categories when we maybe talk later about what do we choose? How do you know what type of self care to do? It does depend on the season that you’re in. If you’re buying or building a house, you should probably have some financial self care going on. You should connect with a financial advisor.
Make sure you understand what your budget is. So that you’re not overextending and stressing yourself out. If you are really feeling lonesome, you should probably fatten up that social and relational self care. And I think it’s important to note too around all of these types of self care. People can show up three different ways.
They can show up either needy, which means I think it’s somebody else’s job to help me out with taking care of myself. I think about that particular with emotional self care, which is somebody’s job is to rescue me from the job of loving myself. So we can be needy, where we think it’s somebody else’s job to take care of our needs for us.
We can be needless, which is we actually disconnect from having a need. If we’re too busy, these are people that might around the food category say, “Gosh, I didn’t even know I was hungry until I was starving.” Like Oh, you disconnected from your hunger. You disconnected from your need for food.
People will obviously sometimes be very needless around clothing, where this is an example of clothing is, do you have enough appropriate clothing for the things you do in your life? Do you have enough for work? Do you have enough for working out? Do you have enough for play?
Do they fit you in this current season and moment? And most people will be pretty needless around that. They don’t really know what they need in that area. I work with a lot of clients on that one. I work with a ton of clients on obviously emotional nurturing.
But on spiritual practice, which doesn’t have to be about religion but just connecting to something bigger grounding to something. So you can be needy. You can be needless or you can have appropriate self care. And we’re going to fall into all three categories at different times in our life during different points during the day.
And I think the only other big piece of information here that’s important is that functional self care being. In appropriate self care does not mean that you’re doing it 100% of the time. You’re shooting for 60/40 here.
That doesn’t feel good for people that are perfectionistic or super high performing. But that’s the reality of a human nervous system. Just a little bit more than half of the time we should be doing our best to be functional in these areas. The other 40% of the time, it might be a struggle because we’re human we’re surrounded by humans, we work with humans, we’re partnered with humans, we’re raising tiny humans.
And all of our nervous systems are bouncing off the wall we go into fight, flight, or freeze. And so I think that’s just a really important relieving piece of assessment, where am I at with my self care? I’m doing well enough. And actually that makes me feel pretty good.
I love that it really comes down to having an awareness around any one of these and noticing like OK, this area of my life, the financial part needs some more time and attention. But it does require you to be aware and intentional to think about these things at different moments in time, which is really tricky. It can be really hard when there’s a lot going on.
There’s a lot of our schedules are jam packed from start to finish every single day. I know this is one thing I’m like I have so many good intentions with this. But then again it will fall to the wayside probably a little bit more than that 40% of the time. But that’s OK, just mute myself where I am. But so how do we as– you and I are parents, Brie you’re a parent, Barbara you have different priorities in your life.
Like the time that you take for your athletic endeavors. Like we all are trying to balance different things in our lives. How do we engage in these different seasons? Are there any tips or tricks or I don’t know that we should say tricks but strategies maybe intentional strategies for doing this in the various seasons?
Yes, I mean 1,000%. I’ll even before I give my full answer I’ll start with a very short story of when we did this presentation. Do you remember Brie I gave you a call. We were talking together about performance recovery and self care.
And I was like, “Brie I don’t have kids.” Brie like I’m not trying to buy a new house. Like I’m feeling pretty stable in my life. Like who am I to talk about this and to be an expert on this conversation. And Brie was like your voice completely matters. And there are more people that fall into your season than you’re giving yourself credit for.
And I say that because we have to really acknowledge what is our inner dialogue as we hear this podcast conversation. As we think about our own self care. As we go through self awareness practices. Like we need to have a dose of humility but also a dose of like really compassionate honesty with ourselves. If we are really compassionately honest with ourselves, we can really start to pinpoint these compassionate or rather these compassionate directions that we deserve to focus in on.
So I would say first and foremost, it starts with being really honest with what season you’re in, what you have going on in your life and alongside that honesty is bringing in these aspects of mindfulness. So when you think about mindfulness, mindfulness is intention plus attention. Intention is setting a direction. Setting a mark for yourself.
What’s my I want to create X in my life. If you’re looking to create self care around a sense of like Brie listing out those needs around a sense of financial well-being, that’s a very dedicated intention to set for yourself. You can get really honest and detailed about it. The second part of it is the attention part.
So if you’re setting an intention to really hone in on very particular parts of your life like finance or clothing or breathing exercises for your nervous system, are you then paying attention throughout the course of the day to when moments for those self-care practices can really integrate and take place? So this is approaching it with a mindful perspective, which I think is essential because when you’re approaching it in a mindful way like that then you can create what’s my robust plan.
Like what is my plan? When you create your plan, it’s acknowledging for yourself what are the actions I can take micro, macro, habitual? What are the actions I can take and then how often am I going to do that? For me some of those micro recoveries like planting my feet on the floor and taking a deep breath, I do that several times throughout the course of a single conversation with the person.
So my how often for that is a couple of times through the course of a conversation. We might have habitual things like a yoga practice that may look like every day for one person but might look like once a week for another. So custom make what your plan is. And make sure that, again, it really does fit with who you are and what your season in life is.
And if you struggle with it still that’s where a service like coaching or a therapist is really useful. If you’re like I’m lost here, that’s fair because actually we don’t promote good appropriate functional self care in our culture and in our society. So I think sometimes it is like we get lost in that. Like a lot of times we didn’t know about all the different categories in which we need to be self caring.
And so sometimes it is connecting with someone to just make a plan and to poke around. Again, about what season are you in? What is the most effective? That’s where I’m at, which is I’m mostly micro recovery gal in this little season of my life. And then when I do the habitual ones, they’re the heavy hitters for me. That I know really help.
And that research really shows things like hypnosis or yoga nidra like these things that are going to give me all impact because I don’t have a ton of extra time.
The awareness piece you just said is key. And then when we look at those first three listed food, clothing, and shelter. These are essentials in like life. And then my mind went straight to a lot of the individuals who don’t have a lot of these essentials.
So in my head the awareness going back to that we’re now at the ages that we are and when did we discover a lot of these hacks if you will. And how can we now shift the future, the kids with being impacted and empowered with this information early on? So from mentoring. So on and so forth.
Obviously, first, fill up our sponge to understand how to execute it. We’ve had x amount of reps now at our age. Now, how we can go out and impact and influence in this space. I feel like there’s a huge opportunity. So that just stood out to me when you actually those first three I’m like, wow, how many of those lack those resources?
And I think it’s also important to note that just by you doing it is you teaching it. When we talk about what the nervous system really does is it works off of modeling. When we look at our kids, I mean, prior to age seven all they’re doing is watching and modeling. And so I know we’ve had conversations on self care before where women feel really guilty.
Oh, I don’t have time. I shouldn’t be doing this. And not just women but I know there’s a lot of mom guilt out there. And just in general Oh, do I have time for this? When you talk about how we’re going to change the world or support this type of shift, it’s in actually doing it.
Doing it visibly. Doing it without shame. Encouraging others to watch. Like when we’re a leader if you don’t take time and if you have an imbalanced schedule, your team’s not going to take time. They’re going to have an imbalanced work life balance. Same with kids, if you had a mom that was pretty selfless, which seems like it’s a really beautiful strength.
And it can be, you’re not going to esteem yourself through caring for yourself either because that’s not modeled for you. You don’t have a template in your brain around that. So a lot of it is again leading to the best of your ability in your own self care that will impact your children. It will impact your team.
And then encouraging larger conversations around it as well.
So well-put Brie. And if we can also rebrand the term guilty pleasure as just sensory experiences, please–
Oh, I love that.
Let’s strike that out. Yeah, we are so deserving of these sensory experiences. Some of these things like you said, David look really are indeed basic needs. And then we can get a little deeper within them and find these really delicious sensory uplifting life drenched moments that we really get to and deserve to experience. So I just deserves to be said I think alongside that.
I think that’s so. That just hits me. And I don’t know that’s really important. And I love that sensory experiences. I need to strike that right.
No more guilty pleasures people–
No more guilty pleasures. Just take it out. Well, I know you dress like kind of the women sometimes feeling like the mom guilt or whatever. But I think it is worth talking about that ’cause I do– let’s touch on that for a little bit longer ’cause that will be I think we’re being selfless by not doing this. But let’s talk a little bit like is there a difference in terms of how men and women perceive self care and how do we address that?
I think that there are. I don’t think it’s worse or better. I think there’s some socialized pieces to what self care looks like. Again, when you look at taking a bubble bath, are men encouraged to do that? No, I mean that’s still a form of care. So I think men and women are socialized very differently around what self care looks like.
And I can’t speak to the male experience. But it’s going to be some of those higher heavy hitters. Like do you work out and do you eat well? And that’s sometimes where it ends. What about the social pieces? Men really struggle sometimes in building really good functional adult friendships. They don’t deepen them as much because again we’re socialized out of having those more tender connected emotions when we’re men.
And I think the opposite could be true. For women in some of the areas of financial self care do you feel like women are encouraged as much to invest and educate themselves on certain things like no. So I think that both if we’re talking in the binary, both sexes would struggle with different areas of self care. So I think this is just a really universal conversation around de-stigmatizing some of the guilt.
Oh, I feel so guilty or in fact it’s a little bit more shame to as well, which is– this is another conversation. But shame in its toxic form is feeling worthless. And when we feel worthless, we don’t take care of ourselves. And then it’s that perpetual cycle. I’m not taking care of myself so I feel again worthless.
So doing these radical shifts even if they’re micro, which is putting your hand on your heart and saying, “Honey, you’re OK.” Or “I matter as I am. I don’t have to earn my space here.” Just doing little tiny bits of micro self care in any of those areas, you’re going to essentially feel a little bit closer again to the fact that you’re a worthy person.
And then that should catch some speed.
There’s this phrase that bumps around and I wish I could knew who to give it credit for fully maybe you know, Brie. But the phrase of rest is an act of rebellion. Rest is an act of rebellion. Like let’s be very real about the water that we swim in.
The water that we swim in is a challenging place. There’s racism. There’s the patriarchy. There are things– there are these large topic issues that really are prevalent in these sneaky but powerful ways. And we receive messages about that all the time.
So here we can go back to yes, those powerful micro moments of can you catch when you are subjected to that? Can you notice a thought that might pop up in the moment? And can you give yourself a soothing touch or a tender word of affirmation in response to that?
What you’re both saying here is like we’ve been conditioned in so many ways to think a certain type of way. And when we look at the physiological and biological impact of performance recovery as a whole is the one piece that I’m going to read here that stood out to me when we think of the conditioning over time. And it says right here the fibers in our bodies actually store energy and trauma when we don’t pay attention to our needs.
This builds up over time and compounds. If we don’t attend to it, it can actually manifest as disease in our bodies. Like I just got chills just thinking about that because we just keep going on in our day to day whatever happened early on in childhood, we just normalize it. We never address it.
It manifests into all these other things. And we just keep passing it along to the next and the next. So if you can I mean I briefly just talked about it but the physiological and the biological impact that performance recovery has on us as individuals if you could dive into that.
Yeah, I mean, it’s so real our body has a physical– we have a physiological response to thoughts. We have a physiological response to the people that we keep company with. And the actions that we put our bodies through. And so we can have these just tired. I call them tired, rusty, dusty messages that just like play on a loop over and over in her mind.
Probably more often than not in our subconscious that your body every time you have that thought like your body receives a chemical reaction from it. And if you think about some of your most challenging thoughts like really what happens in your body in that moment? When I am moving through recovering from challenging rusty dusty thoughts from like my childhood and my upbringing.
One of them has to be or is around the fact of OK, I am empowered to be an independent woman. And to be able to have my own money. And it seems like it’s one of those things in which you learn these things at a really young age. But it really takes that noticing and that effort of reframing it along the course of your life.
So not only that you think differently, your body starts to respond differently. So when I say that statement out loud the first time I started having those thoughts and having statements around my financial freedom, it did not feel good in my body. I would tense up. I would have a nervous system reaction to it. I would want to hide or move away from it.
And it took coaxing and soothing and really showing up for myself in a consistent way to be able to bring a sense of truth and comfort to a statement like that. And so this is really working with the team of our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. So when you think about what happens in your body when you are experiencing a stressful self-belief or experiencing perhaps a challenge in conflict or conversation, you want to be able to have the resiliency of both of those parts of our nervous system working together.
One of the ways in which physiologically I work with my nervous system just to ensure that it does have a sense of resiliency as I’m trying to shift new beliefs. It’s also doing things like cold water plunges in the middle of Minnesota in the winter, which sounds wild. But it’s allowing yourself to put your body and perhaps controlled compromised situations. So that your body can learn this is what it feels like to recover and bounce back from it.
Again, Just like me reframing my mental thoughts or mental beliefs right from my childhood, I purposely put myself in a controlled comfortable environment or controlled environment in which I can experience that discomfort and then reshape it reform it purposefully through these recoveries.
There’s so much good stuff here. There’s so much good stuff here. And I know we have limited time. So I want to take a moment before I mean, we could keep going for hours. We could probably talk all morning. But what else around self care before we do have to sign off, do you want to make sure you leave our listeners and viewers with today.
I’m going to go with my gut. I’m hearing in my head the 60/40. Again, and it’s such an important concept because the 60 is definitely our job as a functional adult to continue the growth. Like what Barbara said is like challenging that. And we are given an opportunity as a functional adult to look back and say, “Are the things that I was gifted with from my parents, from my upbringing, these templates do they serve me?
How do I want to show up around them differently? What would I do in my new family? How do I want to teach my children about self care?” And 60% of the time we should be doing that. That’s how we continue to grow and not fall into a current reality trap or even a negative spiral. But the 40% is also super brilliant, which is our humanity.
And it’s the part of us that is imperfect. And we get really freaked out by our imperfect parts. We’re ashamed of them. We want to cry. We want to pretend that we don’t have them. And that’s like the good glorious parts about being a human. I
Think the biggest shift I ever had in my own emotional wellness was to understand what grace actually looked like in the 40%. Grace and unconditional love. Conditional love is I like myself when I’m in my 60%. I like when I’m super habitual and I’m on track and I’m feeling good. And that’s fair.
But how am I when I’m in my humanity? And I think the biggest thing I ever did was be able to take accountability without shame. So when I was being unpleasant, unkind or disrespectful to my partner. And he’s like, “Hey, you’re being condescending.” The biggest thing I had to do is to be able to say, “That’s my humanity, OK.”
I feel defensive and I want to say, “Knock it off or Oh, is it that terrible?” Or something defensive. And instead saying, I’m going to take accountability here. I am being condescending. That must be wicked to be on the receiving end of me right now.
I’m really sorry about that. I’m really working on not doing that as a knee jerk response. And I don’t want to treat you that way. I’m really sorry without falling into shame of like I either want to be defensive or cry about it. So like that 40% for me of my humanity and learning how to treat myself with unconditional love and grace around all the elements of self care has been the most impactful I think.
I know. I know. How do you go from there? Barbara?
Again I’m going to go with my gut here. And again we can hear these. We can hear these major topics. These necessary things around self care recovery. Ways in which we can flourish or bring new things into our life. And we don’t have to be in fixed mode.
We definitely don’t have to be in fix it mode. And I that just piggybacks on what you were saying Brie. That component of showing up for yourself in a way that you get to be that messy person. You don’t have to be in an active state of fixing yourself. And within that when we are in an active state of always fixing our self and finding the next best self care for us all the time, that actually agitates our nervous system even more.
We’re so much more activated. So perhaps just release the pressure valve just a bit. You can release that pressure valve and don’t have to always be in fix it mode.
Love it. Love it. I think it’s time for the mic drop moment.
I think you’re ready. I love it.
You’re ready for it? Same question for you both. All right you could rock paper scissors if you want to see who goes first. What would you tell your 12-year-old self today?
That’s a tough one.
That is such a good question, David. I would tell my 12-year-old self you might bring up some tears in me. That’s how it’s a good question. The tree that you climb, it is a good one. The time that you spend in that tree is the foundation of who you’re actually going to be and how you’re going to show up in the world.
And keep scribbling that notebook girl.
How do you follow that one? You can hear the poet. It’s so beautiful.
That was beautiful. I actually often think of my 12-year-old self. And I have a pretty good connection with her. This the concept of parts work where you are able to connect with younger parts of you and you are able to update their templates and what they know and believe. And so you go back and you rescue them a little bit. And you have that conversation.
You look at her. And so she was really worried about friends and being liked. She had a really hard time with that. And so like when I talk to her, I just like get down and I hold her hands. And I get so excited. And I was like, “Oh, honey, you are going to have the best life.”
I was like, “You are going to find people that love you and that respect you and that you will in return. And I was like you can have such good friends. And you’re going to find such an amazing partner. And life is going to be good and it is true.” And it’s so comforting for her. And that part of her to know that, yeah, it’s hard. Kids are hard.
We’re all going through different developments and adolescence isn’t easy. And so really reassuring her that like it gets better in that relational and social department. And it’s just she just feels so much relief when I tell her that. And it’s so true. So I feel really blessed to have the people in my life. And hopefully they’ll listen to this. So that you can hear that.
Like I just I love my people. And you changed my whole life. So.
That is awesome. Well, Oh, I wish we could keep going. Yes, thank you to both of you. Gosh, if people would like to learn more about Brie and Barbara and the work they’re doing with Life Time Mind, you can visit Mind@LifeTime.life You can find Brie at the relational trauma recovery website, which we will link to in the show notes or on LinkedIn.
And then Barbara, you are also on LinkedIn under Barbara Powell. And we have LinkedIn– we’ll put your LinkedIn accounts on our show notes. Anywhere else that people can connect with you? Any social media or anything?
If anyone has any interest in reading my creative work, they can go to it’s called thedaybetweenblog.com.
Love that. Daybetweenblog. Oh, well, thank you both so much. We have a lot of resources we can link to and provide for folks who are listening and watching. And more of this to come. I think we all need a little bit more of this performance recovery in our lives.
So thank you both.
Thank you guys.
Thank you so much.
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