EP03: When Self-Care Isn't Fulfilling

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EP02: When Self-Care Isn’t Fulfilling

If you don’t truly feel that you deserve to feel good about who you are, self-care can become just another chore that won’t fill up the emotional emptiness inside. Coach Sharon has 20 years of experience coaching clients on how to overcome personal and professional challenges to take control of their business and professional lives. Her coaching focuses on helping people improve their health and wellbeing, perform at their best, and form meaningful relationships with themselves and others. In this episode, Sharon shares the signs that your approach to self-care needs to change, and explains how learning to meet your own needs rather than relying on others is one of the keys to fulfilment. 

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Many of us try to do the right thing. When it comes to taking care of ourselves, exercise, routines, eating good food, having relaxation time, mindfulness practices, pampering ourselves with massages and beauty appointments. And gosh, the list goes on and on yet. So many people still feel emotionally empty inside they look in the mirror. And they still don’t like what they see. They don’t think that they deserve to feel good about who they are. It’s a way of thinking that turns the self-care practices that are meant to be enjoyable into chores and ticking lists rather than being able to help stress in an already stressful environment.

So what happens when our self-care really doesn’t shift our thinking and doesn’t make us feel the way that it should how can we ensure that doing all the right things to look after ourselves will make us feel good about the person that we actually see every single morning in the mirror with me today to answer these questions and more is one of our superstar coaches on Hello Coach Sharon. Sharon has over 20 years of experience coaching individuals and business leaders in how to overcome their personal and professional challenges.

To help take control of their businesses and their personal lives today, her coaching work focuses on helping people improve their health and wellbeing alongside the ability to perform at their best and develop meaningful relationships with themselves and others. And it’s a topic that I’m so excited to talk with Sharon about here this morning.

So I’m very happy to have you here and good morning.

Sharon: Good morning.

Victoria: So it’s lovely to have you on our show today. this is, I don’t want to be dramatic when I say it’s an epidemic, but self-care has been, this is not a new challenge for people, even, women or men. It’s something that people have not prioritized in their life at all.

Not that we want to continue on having lots of COVID conversations. But I think that the last couple of years has given us an opportunity to really look at where the scales are out of balance in our professional and our personal lives. And, I’d love to explore this topic with you further, because I know that this is something that you focus on with the clients, that you’re, that you’re working with and who come and see you about the importance of self-care.

So I’d love to dive in and. Get your expert definition on what happens when self-care is not prevalent. And what are the signs and symptoms that you are suffering from this ailment of lack of self care.

Sharon: It’s yeah, it’s a really, it’s a very interesting topic because it is, it’s really prevalent, in society at the moment. I think that there’s lots of men and women trying to, like you’ve said, like you’ve introduced, try to, do all the right things around all these self-care practices, but then find that it all becomes too hard. And then. and it doesn’t give them the desired effect. And the reason for that, I think it comes down to their sense of relationship with themself. I think that they’re trying to make themselves feel good. In an environment or in an internal environment where they inherently don’t.

Sharon: And so it becomes a bit of a band-aid effect, all these self-care practices because it’s really just trying to make them feel better for the short term, but underlying it all, there’s this, this wound that needs to be healed. and this is where I think real work needs to be done.

Victoria: All magic, but let’s just backtrack a little bit and try and unpack some of that. So, learning or giving ourselves permission or making self-care a priority in our lives is often unfortunately learned by default in terms of who we have had around us, that models that behavior be it positive or not.

So whether we’ve grown up in an environment where we’ve had close friends or parents that have demonstrated the ability to look after themselves and often more cases than not, we. I have not had that positive experience. And, we have learned to put ourselves at the bottom of the pile when it comes to self-care and then what can happen sometimes.

And look, I’d just say it is obviously because I’ve been a coach as well for 20 plus years, I’ve seen very direct themes that when we have this lack, not even so much maybe awareness, but this lack of… giving ourselves permission to look after ourselves, we then seek it externally, which is one of the things that you commented on and what happens.

It then puts huge amount of pressure on our close relationships around us to plug a hole or a void that really the journey of becoming a whole human being is having the capacity and the awareness and the tools to be able to grow as a whole individual and be able to meet your own needs rather than being reliant on others to fill those needs.

And therefore we spiral off into codependency. That is another whole conversation, but I’m just wondering to frame up the journey of what happens when. That happens. And then what, that then plays out in relationships and obviously ends up being frustration and unhappiness ultimately.

So I’d love for you to share in your experience when you’ve been dealing with this particular pain point and stress point, what are some of the signs and symptoms That a person or a client is not looking after themselves.

What do they present with when they come to a session with you that the alarm bells go on for you, and you can instantly recognize that they’re not looking after themselves.

Sharon: Yeah, that’s a really good question. when we look at it, I say, and I hear in them that they’re busy. They’re very time poor because they’re filling their time with lots of activities, whether it be relationship based and, speaking to people, going for coffees, hanging out with people, doing, helping people out with their own needs, or it be some of these more obvious self-care practices going for massages, doing the exercise.

Meal preparation, cooking, good food. Ultimately their diaries become really full and they’re very busy, but they’re exhausted. they’re not necessarily exhausted because of how much they’re doing. They’re exhausted by how much they’re not feeling fulfilled. With those activities, because I believe that we can all fill up our diaries with really useful and purposeful and fulfilling activities.

And we can feel 100% energized from that. I don’t think that the problem is that we’ve filled up our diaries necessarily. It’s. The activities that we’re doing, uh, not giving us what we need. And so these people they present as being very busy, but feeling unfulfilled. So they’re tired and exhausted.

Sometimes they have even a sense of resentment within them because they’re constantly doing all this stuff, whether it be for themselves or it be for other people, but they don’t ever feel like there’s anything being done for them. And that isn’t necessarily true. It’s perhaps in the way that they just perceiving it, which is sometimes a hard thing for people to get their head around sometimes.

But actually, once we get, you know, obviously it’s, it’s through a coaching process that we bring them to that point. So yeah, so they feel tired, sometimes resentful they’re exhausted. They also feel somewhat disconnected with themselves.

They’ve sort of lost who they are in, their journey that they’ve been on over this period of time before I speak. And I just don’t feel like they know who they are anymore. They’ve lost touch with the person that they thought that they knew from a previous chapter in their life or before,a significant experience takes place for them in their life.

And I think they’re all significant symptoms. The other thing would definitely be that their sense of connection with some of these key relationships in their life actually doesn’t feel as deep or as genuine as they would like it to be. The relationships can sometimes feel a bit superficial and again, a bit one-way, because they feel like they’re the ones that are always inputting into the relationship.

Victoria: You’ve mentioned a couple of things there. Some really, really good bright points. One, I heard you raised an aspect that self care potentially well self-care has two sides. One is being able to give to yourself, so going for the massages and taking time out. And then there’s another part that you mentioned, which I’d love to talk about is actually recognizing when self-care is coming your way and having the ability to receive it.

Secondly, recognize it. Thirdly appreciate it. And don’t miss the signals rather than, stomping your way through life, not feeling loved and appreciated. And therefore that comes down to, and I love, the five languages of love. I know it has been around for so many years, but it is such. We probably need to have a separate podcast around this Sharon, but there is such a beautiful philosophy and practical understanding of how we give and receive love. And then if we can find-tune, I recommend to anyone who’s listening, go and take that test. Cause it’s,pretty cool for you to understand how you actually do love, how you express, love, how you show others love.

And if you’re missing the signals that are coming back, you run the risk of not feeling as though you are being cared for if you are in a relationship, and or if you’re not in an intimate relationship, even with your friends and family,

Sharon: Yeah.

Victoria: Show up for you. So I want to just to touch, touch on those points.

And I know you mentioned that people’s schedules are busy and I know Sharon, you are busy. You run a house, you run a business. You obviously you’re working with us at Hello Coach, you’re working with numerous clients and you are a mom of three little human beings.

Sharon: Two, but yes, they’re twins. So that, that counts, right?

Victoria: My apologies.

Victoria: And so my question to you is I love the journey of our coaches being able to share some of their own experiences, because I think this is where we get some really rich Intel. So tell me, how do you navigate self care given that you have a very busy household and you represent a lot of our listeners they, uh, you know, both parents are working with young families and, running businesses.

Tell me, I’d love to hear some of your little gold nuggets of how do you balance yourself care.

Sharon: Yeah. again, a good question. Um, pre-frame this with it, hasn’t always been this way, right? That this is a journey that, is learned over time. and I think this is the one of, one of the one. And again, this is another whole podcast topic, but I think there’s one of the wonderful things about age and maturity is that we learn.

How to appreciate ourselves more and more. I think as we get older, not necessarily for everyone, but for many people that becomes part of the journey. But, again, it’s a really good question. I love it.

Victoria: I’ve totally put you on the spot.

Sharon: No, it’s fine. It’s

Victoria: I, and look, we’re going to be very blessed because Mark, your husband, is one of our coaches and we’re going to be having a conversation with Mark next week. So I probably should, balance the scales and ask him the same question.

Sharon: Yeah.

Victoria: And I do agree with you. It’s an ebb and flow and it’s learning along the way, what works for you and as your own connection, deepens with yourself first and foremost, you then start to recognize the really critical and the non-negotiables and the deal breakers of what you need to be doing.

And having you on our conversation this morning, I know that you’re based in WA and you’ve got up early to be with us this morning, which I’m incredibly grateful for. However, it’s like 6:00 AM right now in your, in your world. And, I’ve had many philosophies over the years, but one is superwoman really doesn’t exist. It’s a, I know we would love to think that way out, but it’s, it’s making different choices along the way on what fuels your bucket and everything, in its right place. There are compromises along the way, but it’s being able to make healthy compromises.

Sharon: Yes, exactly. A hundred percent.

Victoria: Conscious compromises.

Sorry. What are some of the practices that you have in your life? Totally appreciate that. It’s been a decade-long plus journey in your own personal life. What are some of the things that are non-negotiables for you with your level of self-care environment?

I think that underlying it all has to be this perception, this belief, this attitude of I’m worth it. So I’m worth giving myself this time, this space I’m worth having this sense of contentment I’m worth having this sense of happiness within myself. That has to be number one, underlie all of that.

Sharon: Following on from that, it’s actually like what you’ve just touched on. It’s actually finding what I like to call your own unique recipe around what makes you feel good? So for me, one of the key things, key criteria is exercise. I exercise more now for the feeling of feeling fulfilled within myself, um, having mental clarity just acknowledging that it’s my time to do something that I enjoy, and that helps me to perform at my best.

So exercise is definitely something that I personally love to do. It also has so many physical benefits in terms of hormones and energy levels and obviously health benefits as well. So I do believe it’s a, it’s an important criteria for a lot of people, but it’s particularly important for me.

I like to do it in the mornings sometimes though it doesn’t happen in the mornings. And so this is probably one of the other key criteria is having flexibility in all of this. Acknowledging what it is that you want to do and that makes up your recipe, but having some level of flexibility in how it is that you go about, you know, achieving that and delivering on that for yourself because sometimes yes, my girls get up earlier than expected and I can’t exercise on that particular morning, but I can still exercise that day. And so it’s having that flexibility too, to know that. I can still make it work and that it doesn’t have to be so rigid based on a rule of only exercising in the morning.

Sharon: I think that rigidity, that, that people feel like that they need to have because they actually are just trying so hard to make it happen for them really trips them up sometimes.

Victoria: I’ve heard a couple of other really great points. One is I have flexibility.

I’ve said over the years to clients that I run the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time you hit the mark and 20%, you need to allow for blowout.

Sharon: Yes. Same.

Victoria: You made a very important point that just, say, you’re having a 20% day and you don’t get to exercise in the morning and the girls get up early.

The thing that I heard, the really critical thing that I heard you say there was. Yes. flexibility. But driving that flexibility is the deep desire for commitment to do it. Regardless. At some point in the day, you just don’t throw your hands up and go, oh, well, can’t do it today. and then what happens then if you don’t do it that day, your mental clarity becomes fuzzy.

You don’t have as much energy. You’re not as focused and you just don’t feel good because you didn’t take that time for yourself. So I’m hearing in that conversation. Yes. adopting the 80/20 rule have flexibility, but still make the commitment. It’s somewhere at some point in that day to take a moment for yourself to do the thing.

And we’re talking about exercise at this point to do that activity that, feels your heart and feels your body and fills your mind. And you just. You just don’t let it go. You still show up for yourself. Just add another point in the day.

Sharon: Yeah, exactly. And even like, we’ll go into the week with a bit of a plan on and I don’t want to focus just on exercise. I think there’s so many different wellbeing activities that can be done. But if the plan is to say, go for a run in the morning and then that’s not possible now, then the activity itself can even change.

You know, I might choose to do something in my gym or something like that. it’s focusing more on the watt rather than being super hypervigilant on the, how it’s the, how is where the flexibility needs to come in the what is, what needs to stay from That was another really important point that you made. Tell me some of the other solutions and strategies that clients come to you for that, together you have brainstormed around helping their self-care activities. What are some common ones and what are some really crazy ones that you’ve heard over the time, but works for the client.

Sharon: Yeah. look. I think there are so many different things. I mean, I love it when women express – men, actually, I don’t hear it as much from men. I would love it if I heard it more from men where they just say that, that whole thing of dancing, like, no one else is in the room and just letting yourself loose, putting on some of your favourite music and just bogging in your own living room and making yourself smile and just feeling good and letting loose. I think that is. That is probably one of the funner more enjoyable activities. And it certainly brings a smile to my face when I think of people just, putting on their favourite tune in their living room and just like dancing around a little crazy if you like in their living room.

That’s a cool one. think journaling is a really nice activity for a lot of people to do. And it can be, I do talk about journaling sometimes with people, in that. And I actually heard this from, um, Hugh Jackman.

He talks about journaling. Making sure that you journal the positive things as much as you journaled the negative things, because I think a lot of people journal. The hardships and the pain points that they’ve been through as a way of offloading and expressing those emotions and getting rid of them, but actually, isn’t it nice to be able to reflect back if you’re going to reflect back, on the positive stuff, even more so than the negative. So I think journaling is a nice idea for people gratitude journals are especially important, because it just sets our mind up in a positive frame, playing music.

Sometimes playing music can be challenging if you’re learning a new instrument, but if you’ve got the skills to, to play an instrument just at your will, I think is a beautiful thing to be able to just indulge yourself with. obviously reading is beautiful. More physical activity, activities, you know, walking, getting out in nature.

Sharon: I think just being in nature and going for a bushwalk or finding a trial that you can go and discover, hidden parts of your local environment or not. So local environment is a really beautiful activity to do – that sense of exploring, then of course, there’s your yoga activities that people both get a physical benefit from in terms of strength and flexibility, but also get some recovery from, what else?

Victoria: It needs some, like I’ve made a very long list of everything that you’ve said, this is all really great because it’s wonderful to be able to share when you’ve been a coach for gosh, decades, two decades plus, and I think it’s wonderful to be able to share your experience and insights being on the front line, because I think essentially I know this is a general statement, sweeping general statement.

We’re not different in that many ways that we all need self-care. We all need to look after who we are and it doesn’t matter. Our life circumstances. Or who’s in our life, or who’s not in our life or the various stresses that are going on in our world. It’s being able, just, you’ve just solidified in our conversation again.

Victoria: And again, the number one place to start is our decision and our choice to make a commitment to love who you are. And I don’t want that to sound all corny and spiritual. It’s putting a, non-negotiable that doing an activity? I mean, it’s just something that I still practice in my life doing one activity every single day where I show up for myself, whether it is, I mean, I exercise a lot.

Like you, I think it’s incredibly important, but having a creative outlet as well, and I’ve, taken up the piano again after centuries. And it’s always been on my list for a number of years, but it’s going back almost doing childlike activities again and having that creative outlet.

And Yes. I refuse to play at the moment in front of my friends, but that’s okay. But I…

Sharon: It’s coming.

Victoria: Maybe not. I clunk around on the piano at the end of the day and my poor son, whether it’s scales or whatever, but it’s just having an outlet to let loose. And that’s the other really important point that you’ve raised.

There is so much. Hearing so much constriction in our lives already with the demands that we have on us. And to be able to have a breakout period in the day where you give yourself permission to express yourself in whatever way you need in that moment, depending on the day that you’ve had. And it may be that you need to download and journal, or it might be that you need to go on.

Go for a nature walk at the end of the day and watch the sunset or exercise. As you said, it’s giving yourself permission and making the commitment that at some point in the day, you will show up for yourself no matter what.

Sharon: I, yeah, there’s a couple of points that I’m thinking about now off the back of what you’ve just said. You mentioned about the play, like the childlike play. I mean, it’s one of the most beautiful gifts that my two girls have given me is that childlike play in for my recent birthday.

I got given art sets so that I can draw and sketch because I’ve started drawing more with the girls and the girls will say to me, well, can you draw me Elsa from Frozen or whatever? And so I, you know, I draw it out and now one of my daughters. she’s taken to watching YouTube videos on how to draw as well.

And like, she stops it and plus she’s five, but she plays the video. She pauses it at the right spot. She draws it herself. And it comes back around and now I’ve got this art set of my own that I thought for my birthday, it was a significant birthday. So I wanted stuff that was significant. And it was especially for me.

And so I asked for these art sets and I’ve got these beautiful sketch pencils and these sketch pads. And so now I can spend that time with the girls still in, they’re doing their own drawing and I’m doing my, drawing. But at the same time, I also put some time aside separately for myself to do those activities.

Victoria: I think the beautiful thing is parents. If you are a parent, it’s fascinating to set up examples for our children that they learn and they model themselves going back on what I started our conversation with that our ability to self-care is either modeled at a such an early age, or it’s not model to us.

And we end up going down the path that we have learned and observed. And I think the greatest gift, if you do happen to be a parent, is model yourself. So your children actually say, oh, this is what self-care looks like this. So it becomes normal. It’s not something foreign that then years down the track.

You wonder why you’re disconnected. You wonder why you’re over-scheduling you wonder why you’re, feeling unfulfilled in your life and who you are in relationships and career. And,it goes on and you start to create some very healthy habits from a very young age.

Sharon: Yeah. and you’re right. That whole disconnect in the family as well, like that, that when we’re taking care of ourselves and we’re role modeling, that it helps to encourage, to nurture that sense of connection within the family. Like, it’s so important. The other thing that I thought of, in your previous comment was one of the questions or one of the points that I really sometimes bring to some of my coaching sessions.

It’s just this whole awareness of, in the big picture, in the grand scale of things at the end of the day, what’s ultimately important, is it important for you to be so busy? So financially focused, so engaged with so many, Activities of status and various bits and pieces that happen with society, or is it actually important that you’re happy within yourself and that you’re content.

And when it comes to our final moments, when we look back on our life, ultimately, surely what we want to feel is that we lived a good life, that we were happy that we would contend. And that we satisfied are our needs. does that resonate?

Victoria: I completely understand what you’re saying. you can’t take what you have in your life with you when you pass and. often it’s a case of I to be able to reflect upon your life and know that you have had this deep richness of connection and love and fulfillment, and yes, you know, all the other successes that might come with it along your journey.

But the most important thing is at the end of, at the end of it, when you are left with yourself and your memories, He’s being able to look back and look at the difference that you’ve made in your own world and the lives of you know, your friends and family and people around you.

And that is, I think that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.

Sharon: Yeah.

Victoria: I’d love to summarize because we’ve had such an amazing conversation. So signs and symptoms. If you are suffering from a lack of self care, if I can summarize as eloquently as you started off Sharon. The sense of over, busy-ness a sense of not feeling fulfilled, possibly carrying some resentment around in your world, feeling disconnection from yourself and those around you.

So if you have, some of the signs and symptoms, it may be an opportunity to question where you’re putting your focus and where are you taking some time out for yourself? And you said another interesting point, Sharon. And I love this. You could almost turn this into a little, little strategy and a solution.

Write down your recipe, ingredients of what you need to feel I have a saying, you know, to set yourself up to thrive or you’re going to dive like.

what are the unique ingredients to sit down and ask yourself the question, what is it that you need to thrive in your life? Firstly, for yourself to then feel connected and fulfilled and content to then be able to use that overflow in all the other areas of your life.

Victoria: But the journey really, it starts with ourselves first and foremost. So let’s be clear on that. It starts with ourselves and being able to self care and look after her. We are. Just because we can,

I think it gave and goes beyond deserving it or feeling worthy of it. It’s just an essential place to start the process.

and then some strategies and solutions is. Having the commitment with yourself to show up for yourself somewhere in that day, have the 80/20 rule. I think he said, one of the other importance was, focusing on the, how, not necessarily the what.

Sharon: All the way around, focus on the what. Not necessarily on their how. Yeah.

Victoria: And, letting loose, journaling. Having a gratitude journal as well, playing music, giving yourself permission to play and be childlike, whether it’s getting out your sketch pad by yourself and starting that creative process again, and feeling your, your world and your heart with song.

Sharon: Yeah. Yeah.

Victoria: Joy.

Sharon: Yeah. And it’s your song? It’s your specific song?

Victoria: I love that. Thank you. What a great conversation.

Sharon: Yeah, thank you. I’ve had a great time.

Victoria: Listen. if you’d like to work with Sharon, all you need to do is just pop over to hello-coach.com and you’ll find Sharon on our platform. Thank you very much for joining our conversation today. I know that you’ll be back for more podcasts conversations with us.

And thank you again very much for sharing some of your insights and your own personal experiences. So I thank you, but sharing some of what you know, or your own little golden nuggets are along the way.

And I’ll certainly hit up Mark when I see him on our next podcast show. Thank you for joining me here today, Sharon, and I look forward to catching up again.

Sharon: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much!

Victoria: Thanks Sharon.

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