Beliefs about taking care of yourself (Episode 65)

What do you believe about taking care of yourself right now? That’s going to show up in the way you take care of yourself (or not). Join Kay Coughlin for this episode about how to notice the beliefs and thoughts that are in your mind right now. So that you can choose what you really want instead. As always, there’s no guilt and no judgment here!

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Transcript of episode is below.

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Do you need to find a way to get some rest, even if you believe that you can't possibly take care of yourself when the people around you need you so much?

Most of us have been taught that we can't (or shouldn't) prioritize ourselves because there are just too many other things to do first, and too many people to take care of first. But that doesn't have to be true! You can get some rest and you don't have to figure it out by yourself.

Kay Coughlin created the "From One Caregiver to Another"® membership community to empower and encourage family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers to set boundaries, get rest and feel less alone.

Transcript: Beliefs about taking care of yourself (episode 65)

Hi there. I’m your host Kay Coughlin. And you’re listening to From One Caregiver To Another. I am a life coach for family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers like me who want to get some rest and feel less lonely. I taught myself how to navigate all of my responsibilities and get into the mindset I need so that I can set boundaries, have self-compassion and prioritize myself so that my needs get met too. And that’s what I help my clients do also. And if we can do it, I know you can, too.

This is episode 65.

Last week on the podcast, I talked about the judgment that’s all around us, and it is everywhere. I don’t know if you listened to it, but if you’ve noticed the judgment since then, I’d really like to hear from you.

So this week I want to talk about the beliefs you already have about taking care of yourself. And I know that you have these beliefs because I have them. I used to believe mostly that I didn’t have the right to take care of myself and that I just didn’t get to care for myself the way I was in charge of caring for everybody else.

But I’ve done a lot of work on this over the years, so much so that I have just realized that I have the house to myself for a couple of hours. I work out of an office in my basement, and I have a busy family in the house around me most of the time. So I don’t get to be in the house by myself, much at all, not even really during typical business hours. Unfortunately.

So after I’m done recording this podcast episode, I’m going to take a break and I’m going to enjoy the quiet in my house in the middle of a business day. I don’t think I would have done that even a couple of years ago, but now I really have come to understand and believe in the importance of rest and self-care. And so now that I’ve seen the opportunity to be alone and glory in the quiet of my house, I am going to seize it.

Speaking of which if you already know you need to prioritize yourself, but you just can’t make it happen no matter what you do. I’ve got something coming up that you are going to love starting on April 11th. And that’s a Monday. I’m offering a program called “Prioritize You.” I have designed this to give you all the tools you need so that you can begin taking good care of yourself in just five days. It’s true. Just five days.

Two of the most important things I’m going to be teaching are self-awareness, which is noticing what you’re doing without judging yourself for it. Believe me, it can be done. It’s true. I do it now.

And the other is self-compassion, which is basically being a good friend to yourself and giving yourself loving kindness. Honestly, we haven’t been taught to do these two things, or maybe it’s just that we’ve been taught not to do them, not to notice our real thoughts and feelings and not to be kind to ourselves.

Prioritize You is for you, especially if you don’t prioritize yourself because you happen to be a perfectionist like me, or if you think of yourself as a people pleaser, which is something I’ve also found myself doing so many times over the years. I am really excited to be able to offer my very best teaching and coaching in my Prioritize You program.

And because it’s the first time I’m doing this in this format, and I do not want for cost to get in the way for you. I am giving it to you at a ridiculously low price. I will put the link to it in the show notes, or you can find the link now at FacilitatorOnFire dot net slash links. If you haven’t yet registered for Prioritize You, what are you waiting for?

Now, let’s get back to the episode. I want to ask you this question. And I want to start here because I think we, we don’t ask this because we’re a little bit afraid to, and certainly as I said, we have not been taught to.

What do you believe right now about taking care of yourself? I know this can be hard to answer.

So I’m going to share with you some things that I have thought over the years and some things that I’ve heard from my clients. Here they are.

There’s only one right way to take care of myself. I don’t want to take care of myself because I know that I’ll just compare myself to other people. Taking care of myself can wait. There is not enough to go around, and so I won’t take care of myself right now. I’m not worthy of taking care of myself. It’s my role to take care of other people. Here’s a big one: I can sleep when I’m dead. I hear that one a lot and I don’t like it at all. Another one is, there’s just one more thing that I need to do before I can take care of me.

We also believe that admitting I need help and that I need to take care of myself is weak and self-care is what we call a soft skill. That one drives me crazy that asking for help or to take care of myself is wrong. We believe, I should be there already. And so what’s the point of taking care of myself? Cause I already missed the boat on that one. We believe that people are going to judge us and we believe, unfortunately, that self-care is indulgent and we don’t want to indulge. So we don’t do it.

The truth about beliefs is that they are thoughts. They are sentences in your head. It’s true. A belief is just a string of words that’s in your head. Beliefs tend to be what we think by default. It’s like a record. And these default beliefs that we have tend to be like grooves in a record or ruts in a road they’re just really, really hard to get out of. And they’re really easy to slide into in the first place.

We’ve heard these beliefs and these thoughts over and over and over again throughout our lives. We’ve heard them from other people and we’ve heard them from ourselves. And the list of beliefs that I just mentioned a minute ago. I want to acknowledge, maybe you heard some of these beliefs this week or even today, and you may have heard them from other people, but again, you may have heard it from yourself.

Now, whenever I talk about beliefs that you’ve been hearing or telling yourself for a long time, especially when they are beliefs about why we should not take care of ourselves. I think it’s always useful to mention this thing that we now call “human giver syndrome.” I’ve talked about it a lot in my podcast. So you might want to go look for those episodes, but basically what you need to know about human giver syndrome is that it’s an ancient set of beliefs that says some people are responsible for the wellbeing of other people and not just safety and shelter and food, but also for their happiness, success, failures, thriving.

And that if you have been designated to be a giver, you are expected to care for others, no matter what it costs you. Okay. That’s really important here. This belief system exists regardless of what you need. And I mean, need to survive as a human. So these messages we’ve been hearing for most of our lives, these beliefs that we really can’t spare anything to take care of our own selves.

These beliefs are coming directly from this gigantic belief system that is now called human giver syndrome. I want you to know that none of us did anything to deserve this designation. So I’m not telling you this because it’s some kind of diagnosis to tell you that you did something wrong. I, myself, without realizing it a long time ago was designated to be a human giver.

And a lot of the work I’ve been doing in my own life these past few years has been undoing a lot of the beliefs that I picked up from that. So the baseline here is that if human giver syndrome hits a nerve for you, and maybe if you identify with it the way I do there is nothing wrong with us. Okay. I just want to set that right now as the standard.

It doesn’t mean that you’re bad or that you did anything wrong, but I do think that this is a really practical and helpful way to begin to understand where all of these beliefs are coming from. And honestly why it is that we’ve heard them so many times across our lifetimes and why it’s so easy for us to believe that they’re true, or maybe that they’re factual when that’s not the case at all.

You know, human giver syndrome is just a thing that people think. And it’s something that I used to really think and believe too, but that doesn’t make it a fact. It doesn’t make it true.

One of the things that is true about beliefs is that they can free us or they can trap us. Now, back in episode 59, I talked about new thoughts you can have as a family caregiver to replace old thoughts that have been taking up space in your head.

And the key there is to notice the thoughts you have right now. Become aware of them and begin to replace them. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, you might want to go back and do that.

The things that we believe now are what I call unintentional beliefs. The things we want to believe next then would be called intentional beliefs.

So when you say to yourself, what do I believe now? You’re talking about your unintentional set of beliefs. And when you ask the question, what do I want to believe? Those are going to be your intentional beliefs.

So now let me ask that question. You know, I started by asking, what do you believe now? So I was asking about your unintentional beliefs, and I’m going to ask about your intentional beliefs.

What do you want to believe about taking care of yourself? Okay. I know that this one could be too much for you to even consider. And really it’s a belief, you know, what do I want to believe. That could seem so far away from you that your brain is going to kind of give up thinking about it. And so you might stop trying to answer the question.

So I’m going to phrase that question for you in a way that I think is going to be way more helpful at this stage of the game. Here it is. What is possible for you to believe about taking care of yourself? And I’m going to give you a bunch of answers here, because I do know that it could be so hard to answer that.

I want to give you a set of things that it’s possible to believe in. Here we go:

I am worthy.

I deserve to take care of myself.

My people can handle their own things.

It’s okay if the people I take care of have to work harder.

It’s okay if I set boundaries, I am allowed to tell people what’s okay with me and not okay with me.

I’m allowed to have time to myself and time to turn off my phone.

It will be fine if I rest and don’t attend every meeting or every performance or game.

And last but not least, it’s okay to ask for help and receive help.

Okay. So if these things feel really far away from you and like there’s no way you could possibly get there from wherever you are now, I want you to know that there is no shame in seeing that gap.

There’s always going to be a gap between your now or your unintentional, and your next or your intentional beliefs. That’s the way life works. That’s why there are so many self-awareness and self-growth programs in the world. I mean, if you don’t believe me, just Google self-awareness or self-awareness programs or self-awareness books, and you’re going to see that I’m not kidding about this.

There’s a lot of this. And that’s because we, every single one of us is on our way from somewhere we are now, to somewhere we’re going to be in the future. And that’s why there’s a gap. It’s just a normal part of human life. By becoming aware of that gap, the gap between where we are now and where we want to be in the future, we can magically begin to start poking holes in our belief.

Now maybe they’re going to be tiny holes or maybe it just looks more like you’re stretching the fabric of those beliefs, but it’s a process. And by beginning to become aware, what we’re doing is we are weakening those beliefs a little tiny bit, so that at some point in the future, you’ll be able to replace that belief with something else.

Now I want to read that list of those things again. And they’re just a few things that it’s possible for you to believe about taking care of yourself, because I want you to hear it one more time. Here’s the list:

I am worthy.

I deserve this.

My people can handle their own things.

It is okay if my people have to work harder.

It’s okay if I set boundaries.

I’m allowed to tell people what’s okay with me and what’s not okay with me.

I’m allowed to have time to myself and time to shut off my phone.

It will be fine if I rest and don’t attend every meeting or every performance or every game.

And it’s okay to ask for help and to receive help.

Eventually you are going to arrive at a place where you’re going to be able to decide these things for yourselves. You’re going to be able to choose what you want instead. But you have to get there by allowing yourself to notice what you believe now, that’s the unintentional, and then choose to believe that you can believe something next. And those are the things that are intentional, that you want for yourself at some point in the future.

This noticing, this awareness right now, this is the key to everything. This is the practice that I do now, this noticing, that I never allowed myself to do in the past, because I think I was taught not to. And it has changed everything for me in my life.

It means I just don’t have to be held back by my old beliefs. And I can give myself permission to think some new beliefs and figure out what I need to do to eventually to really, truly think and believe those new things.

Now, this is very unfamiliar and I know that. And for many of us, this is very uncomfortable and I’ll tell you it’s been a long process for me, and I’m still not perfect at it. That’s just not the way this works.

And if you want, this would be a great time to get some help from a professional. You might go to a therapist to work on this. You could come to a life coach like me. That’s what I do. That’s what I help my clients do. You can find yourself a safe community, like my Boundaries Community.

And then remember this is something that we’re going to be working on together in the Prioritize You week. And that starts April 11th. And you will find the link to that in the show notes. And that is going to be a safe community and a safe place to learn about this. That’s how important it is to me.

In next week’s episode, I’m going to be talking all about self-compassion. So what I’m really going to be doing is continuing on with this idea of how to take good care of yourself and prioritize yourself without, and listen to me when I say this here, without being consumed by guilt or controlled by guilt. I’m really excited about it. What it can mean for you. And I think you’re really going to want to tune in for that episode.

As for me, I’m going to go enjoy my quiet house right now. I have no idea what I’m actually going to do with my time. I’m going to take good care of myself though. And I wish the same thing for you.

If you liked this episode, you have to go check out my monthly membership for family caregivers. And that includes parents who want to get some rest and feel less lonely. It’s the place for emotionally safe community, brave self-development, and self-compassion. You’ll find the link to it in the show notes and over in my Boundaries Community. I can’t wait to be with you again in the next episode, From One Caregiver To Another.

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your guide

Kay Coughlin, leadership and life coach and CEO of Facilitator On Fire, is on a mission to help family caregivers get rest and feel less alone. In every forum she can find, she shouts that it's OK for every human to set and enforce boundaries around their bodies, thoughts, feelings and actions. You can join Kay's free, private online community to talk about boundaries here.

Kay also teaches about emotional labor, how to rest, and Human Giver Syndrome, and is the host of the weekly "From One Caregiver to Another" podcast and author of "From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind." She is well known for coaching family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers who want help to live happier lives.

When Kay works with businesses, she helps teams understand how to work with people of different ages through her decision-making workshops and "Building Trust Across Generations" seminar. 

Facilitator on Fire is a subsidiary of Donor Relations Mindset LLC, which Kay founded in 2015. She lives with her husband and children, and is the primary caregiver for her own mother, in central Ohio. Kay can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Copyright 2022. All rights reserved, Julia Kay Coughlin and Facilitator On Fire.

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