It’s frustrating when barriers interfere with your self-care. Learn some simple ways to overcome self-care barriers with 4 easy tricks!
Doesn’t it seem like every time you make a little progress on practicing proper self-care, a new obstacle appears?
It’s like a guard is waiting for you to move forward so they can drop another barrier in your path!
That’s not true, of course.
It’s just life!
Life will always present barriers. But that doesn’t have to stop you from taking better care of yourself.
You need a plan.
You need a few simple tricks to use when a hurdle impedes your path!
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Overcome Self-care Barriers with 4 Easy Tricks.
1 Admit you’re Not Alone
One of the most damaging beliefs we tend to have when we embark on a journey to start taking better care of ourselves is that we live in a silo.
Here’s the truth. You are not on this journey alone!
You’re on your self-care journey with your spouse or significant other, and your children — at a minimum.
You may also have your friends, parents, co-workers, church family, and neighbors on your journey too!
What does this mean?
It means you can’t look at your calendar in isolation. It means you can’t just consider your to-do list. You have to find everyone else’s too!
Just because you want to take better care of yourself, doesn’t mean you can ignore all of your responsibilities to your ‘tribe.’
Therefore, to overcome (and hopefully prevent) the barriers that are going to interfere with you self-care, you need to anticipate not only what is going to happen, but what might happen.
So, consider everything on your tribe’s calendar.
Be sure to include chaperoning duties, running errands, taking people (& pets!) to appointments and events.
Consider doing this monthly – things change month to month or season to season.
Then, create a fluid emergency tactic/plan. Have a preferred time to exercise and a backup time to exercise. Or maybe, have a preferred type of exercise and a backup kind of activity.
Plan a preferred menu for that mealtime, and a backup meal plan or list for that period.
Create emergency backup plans that give you some flexibility but still follow your self-care plan, albeit in a little bit different way.
As these new things come up, consider whether this barrier might be something you see again. If so, create an emergency backup plan.
Be sure to give yourself grace!
It’s impossible to consider every type of barrier. But, after you see it at least twice, you can put an emergency plan into place!
If you think this sounds silly, it’s not. Other people’s schedules can quickly turn into air-tight excuses if you let them, especially if you serve or take care of others. If you use them as excuses, you’ll never overcome your self-care hurdles.
2 Create an Emergency Plan to Overcome Self-care Barriers
It’s a tremendous help to build emergency strategies when you face a new or familiar barrier.
But, honestly, the most effective way to build an emergency plan to overcome self-care barriers with 4 easy tricks is to map out your day and try to see them before they happen.
This might sound impossible, but it’s not.
You just have to write down everything you do in a day. Then, think about all of the additional things that you’ve seen ‘pop up’ which has interfered with your self-care.
To do this effectively, make a list of all of the things you have to do, places to be, or events to go to. Don’t forget to include your ‘tribes’ items too.
Turn a sheet of paper landscape and list these things across the top of the page. If you have a lot, you can tape a few pages together.
Be sure to leave space between each item.
Because these ‘invisible’ places are a common place where the barriers occur.
Most of us can’ accomplish the task or do whatever we need to do once we get to where we need to be. It’s getting there that’s hard. Think of these as transitions.
Next, close your eyes and think about all of the barriers that have occurred at each transition. Make a list for each transition in that blank space. You should write the barriers for every space, even if you end up writing the same type of obstacle in multiple places.
Next, prioritize the list in each space. Which barriers happen most often?
Finally, ask yourself if anything can be done to prevent it (sometimes awareness is all that is needed) and if not, create a backup plan.
Eventually, I think you’ll see you’ve had more ‘unseen’ barriers come up than you thought.
Thankfully, when you look at them like this, you can expect them and create back up plans so you can still take good care of yourself!
2 Adjust Your Attitude
This one is short but powerful.
Barriers are just barriers.
They’re not permanent roadblocks. They CAN be overcome!
Change your mindset to expect barriers, accept barriers as part of the self-care journey, and plan for them along the way.
Doing so will lessen the feelings of frustration when they come up.
No longer will the barrier be viewed as a point you failed to consider. It’s just something to add to your emergency plan, which is always going to be present and changing.
3 Set Up Helpful Accountability Measures
We all need a little encouragement to keep us going. That’s helpful.
But accountability helps you stay on track and keep yourself honest. Accountability keeps you from making and then accepting excuses as truth.
Track your results. It’s easy to tell yourself rosy pictures when there’s no data. But, if you start tracking how often you follow-through with the tactics you said you were going to do, you’ve got another story.
One of my very favorite books, The 12-Week Year, does a fantastic job of showing how to track your efforts. This is mostly touted as a business book, but it is also a great book to use when you are trying to improve your self-care or change your lifestyle.
In a nutshell, authors Moran and Lennington describe how to identify the essential to-do’s or tactics to reaching your goal. These tactics become your action plan. If you complete these tasks as you set up in your program, you’ll meet your goal.
By default, the tactics are the very most important things to do to meet your goal.
So, when you create your emergency plan, you are, in essence, putting together a plan to make sure these critical tasks get done.
To measure, if you’ve done the tactics, you’ve had a great week. If you have great weeks consistently, you’ll meet your goals!
Another form of accountability can be leaning on your faith. Using your faith to help you with your self-care is a positive way to be accountable and find more motivation to take better care of yourself.
4 Use Appropriate Rewards to Overcome Self-care Barriers
Finally, be sure to reward yourself when you overcome your self-care barriers and meet your goals.
But, use appropriate rewards! If you are abstaining from sugar or soda or desserts to take better care of yourself, DO NOT reward yourself with these things! You are setting yourself up to get stuck in a never-ending cycle of self-sabotage.
Instead, reward yourself with a tangible, meaningful reward that will encourage you to keep doing what you are doing because you see how it is making a difference in your health and wellness.
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In conclusion, your self-care is not a short-term voyage. It’s a long-term commitment.
And, when you implement these simple strategies, you, too, will find you CAN overcome self-care barriers with 4 easy tricks!
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