Perhaps the easiest- yet the most challenging- Self Care resource available, is the ambiguous, Drop It.
That's my way of saying, do you know when to let go? More importantly, do you know how to listen to your body's messages in order to hear when it needs you to stop, slow down or change your course of action?
The body is always giving us vital messages, yet the majority of the time we are not listening to them.
Can you hear your body talking to you?
As I consistently share with my clients, the four level check-in is really step number one. Make this your practice daily and get in a habit of taking the time and creating the space, to hear your body's messages.
When do you slow down or stop?
Do you wait until you are sick and you are forced to be in bed for two or more days? Do you wait until you are dragging and have no choice but to stop?
Do you let the mental body ramp up to anxiety level before you notice the red flags? Or perhaps you wait until full blown depression has settled in before you start to listen?
These are messages that one of the four levels of your being is yelling at you!
Here are some clues that you have pushed passed your vital messaging systems:
Physical Body: Aches and pains, fatigue or exhaustion, broken bones or limbs, nausea or vomiting, cravings, serious health diseases or disorders.
Emotional Body: Depression, malaise, anger and rage, anxiety, frozen or numbness, intense or amplified emotion of any kind.
Mental Body: Anxiety, worry, fear, over-active mind, heightened critic, any intense or amplified thoughts, stories or images.
Spiritual: Disconnect, inability to resource or find a connection to spirit.
Often we wait until we are having a huge physical, mental, emotional or spiritual challenge- or even crisis- before we really start to listen. But it doesn't have to be this way!
If often tell my clients- it's not a problem until it's a problem! Usually the problem is what forces us to change. However, what if we noticed the "problems" in the moment when they arrive? What if we were so good at tracking our internal responses that we could shift, re-direct or drop it right then and there?! I believe that's possible with awareness and is the key to prevention.
With daily and weekly self tracking and the internal harvesting of our needs, we can begin to make adjustments in our actions and choices. This is Self Care in action! Art, embodiment and somatic resources can help us do an internal audit- in very concrete and tangible ways. These resources help us deepen our listening skills and our ability to hear what the body's messages are.
Use this five step process to help you identify what your needs are:
Do a Four level check-in. Track the messages within on each level. Write them down in your journal if that helps you remember them.
Identify the loudest body. Is it your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual body? Which one has the loudest voice or is the most amplified? (You might also want to notice which one has the softest voice as well).
Let yourself enter a dialogue with the loudest body. (You can also do this with the quietest body as well). Go a bit deeper and see if you can track any more information. What does it have to share with you?
Then ask this body to answer these questions:
Pay special attention to what this body says it needs. The need is often connected to getting more nourishment or greater support on some level. How might you be able to meet the needs of this part of your body? What has to be shifted, changed or even dropped in order to give this part of your body what it needs? Are you resistant to doing so or are you open to asking for support and solutions?
Take the necessary action steps to get what you need. Often this requires change on some level of our life. Are we willing to make the necessary changes? Remember, this is truly a radical self care process. It's like a muscle that strengthens with flexing. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Listen deeply to what your inner bodies are telling you. Resource from within. Then make adjustments or changes where necessary. Can you let go- in order to find deeper nourishment? What do you need to drop in order to lighten your load?
Use this alternative tracking process for deeper listening and healing + a podcast to walk you through the process.
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