You, Before Connecting to Others

We show up for the humans in our lives. As soon as we wake up, we are taking out our pets, making breakfast for others, organizing our day around who needs what. We support our partners, our kids, our colleagues, our family, and our friends without even giving it a second thought. How many of us ever stop and ask, “How will I show up for myself today?” In fact, as you read that I am sure many of you thought a version of, “who does that, that is silly.” But is it? Is it silly to check in with yourself and see how you will show up for yourself for a moment before diving into your day to meet the needs of other humans or organizations? 

How would you benefit from creating a morning routine just for you? Timewise, this could be anywhere from five to thirty minutes (or longer if you can). If this seems impossible put a timer on how long you scroll on your phone in the morning and reconsider five less minutes of doing that. Once you grab that phone you are guaranteed to see something that is negative. So, before you get out of bed each day make a habit of taking five big breaths, holding each one in at the top for at least four seconds. After you take those breaths, take a moment and do a quick body scan of your body and ask yourself, how do I feel? I am always amazed at how one can wake up angry or anxious before even starting the day. You do not have to do anything with this emotion. The simple act of naming it acknowledging how you feel, with a little reminder that you can handle the emotion, takes the power away from the emotion controlling you and your behaviours in the day. I often hear, “I have kids, I can’t do this, they jump into bed and need me.” Okay no problem, get your kids into the habit of doing these exercises with you. The snuggle while doing so releases oxytocin which is an added benefit of calm and peace. 

If in your world you only have time to add these two things in, great - you are already on your way to kickstarting a more peaceful day because you have regulated your nervous system right from the start. If you have more time, consider adding in the following:

1. Something that moves your body. This can be anything from a few stretches or squats to a full workout or run. Keep in mind that five minutes
is better than nothing and still worth doing.
2. Something that inspires you. Listen to a podcast, read a few pages of a book, write in your journal, engage in a conversation with yourself or others about what is motivating or inspiring them that day. Again, five minutes is better than nothing. 
3. Further meditation. The breathwork is mindfulness and mediation is a start, if you have time for more add it in. This does not have to be sitting and emptying your mind. It can be enjoying tea while staring out your window or snuggling with a human or pet focusing on being present in the moment.
4. Further emotional work. Naming our emotions is powerful, so is writing about them or doing some self-reflection on why they exist as they do in your life. Asking yourself, “How will I show up for myself today?” is a good practice here too. 
We get so much out of connecting with others. It fuels us. It can also drain us if we are not taking time to fill our own cups first. It may seem like a selfish act to take this time but in reality, the more we take care of ourselves first the more capacity we have to help, support, and connect to others. You, before connecting to others, make it a daily practice.

The content provided in this article is for information purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you find yourself in distress, please reach out to your local physician who can provide mental health resources in your community.