I was having a conversation last week about my self care and realized that I’ve come a long way in being able to take care of myself and shift my needs and wants so that I fill my own voids and take care of myself.
The reward of being a Self Care Queen: spending less time spiralling and more time in joy and inspired action.
The problem I realize, is that we are programmed to look outside ourselves to find comfort and solutions. My journey the past two years has been to look within to soothe and calm my own insecurities + needs. It has NOT been easy (and most times really difficult), but the benefits of taking responsibility means I get to choose each and every time how I show up.
For me, emotional reactions stem from my wiring. So, if I felt unloved in the past or like I wasn’t heard or valued, when it happens in the present, my body feels like I am going through that same emotion and acts accordingly (cue 8year old Meghan tantrum lol). When I am able to catch myself, and take responsibility for my own joy, I get to choose a different way to respond and rewire the response.
I’ve had a few triggers over the last month that, upon reflection, allowed me to see that without my solid self care, those emotional-response spirals would have lasted hours or days.
Take, for example, a phonecall I had a few weeks ago that sent me right back into a circa-2000s conflict. IT FELT LIKE IT WAS HAPPENING ALL OVER AGAIN...and my body was stuck in a freeze mentality where I could feel my heart racing, body tingling, and mind racing but no words were coming out. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t run. I was stuck.
While my nervous system was still affected for a few hours post-flashback, my on-the-floor-ugly-cry only lasted 20minutes, and here’s why:
I was able to “move the shit” (aka the trauma response) by crying, bring myself back to present-time safety by breathing, and release the emotions through tapping. All said and done it was 20minutes, and I was able to reapply my mascara and head out to work feeling capable of holding space for others and changing the world.
This was a “way to go” moment! I went through these motions without even thinking because I’ve reprogrammed myself into finding ways to kick myself out of spirals. In the end, I was so proud of myself for not succumbing to victim mentality or taking myself back to ground zero feelings of helplessness, anger, and sadness.
I used to love staying in a spiral because it gave me a reason to be lazy, stay small, be upset, get attention… now, I look forward to getting out of spirals because it means I don’t have to carry the heaviness.
In this case, my self care strategies helped me to stay logical and present and move towards better feeling thoughts. I chose to exit the spiral.
This has taken me a long time to figure out, though. What works. What doesn’t work. But the idea is that you need to take the time to stop yourself, ask yourself what do I need, and then fulfill that feeling...before asking for anything from anyone else.
I used to want to be comforted and reassured and told that everything was going to work out and that I was perfect and amazing. For some reason, when those wishes were fulfilled by another, they didn’t land. I either didn’t believe them or they didn’t have impact. When I started doing this for myself, though, my confidence grew and I felt better able to manage my emotions.
This system has worked really well in my relationship too. Rather than pointing fingers, or letting my emotions (lol my MANY emotions) get the best of me, I take myself into a private room, go through my sequence of feeling better then return to the conversation or express my feelings in a way that recognizes my own role and empowers me to take inspired action.
As a result, I feel better, communication has improved, and arguments last a fraction of the time. This is what it is like to choose love.
My recent sequence to manage emotions and avoid spirals:
The next time you feel emotions rise, figure out what it is you need:
Hear yourself speak.
Do something to love yourself.
See how beautiful you are.
You get to be the driver of your emotions. And I promise you, when you do, the whole world opens up and you spend more time in joy and less time in self-sabotage and spirals.
Keep close to yourself and in the best energy possible by following these three things that I implement every single day.