The Enough Experiment: Self-care

This month’s expert, Suzy Reading, author, psychologist and yoga teacher, shares a method to interrupt habits that sabotage our wellbeing


The Enough Experiment: Self-care

The Enough Experiment is a digital twelve-month column at Psychologies with coach Mandy Lehto. Start anytime.

Each month, we’ll focus on a particular theme, and conduct an experiment to see if we can feel better about ourselves in that aspect of our lives. Small changes add up over twelve months.

I’ll coach you around becoming an “aspiring good-enoughist” – Brené Brown’s wonderful phrase – and I’m experimenting right alongside you.

We’ll be supported by experts via short, informative videos (5-10 min), and we dig deeper with questions and prompts from the monthly downloadable worksheet (about 10-15 min).

You’re encouraged to share your questions, discoveries and experiences on The Life Leap club on Facebook, where I’ll be offering support.

The real power of this experiment isn’t what happens in the videos or on the worksheets. It’s in how you implement your findings in day to day life.

Catch last month’s experiment with Gabrielle Treanor, here.

Self-care Month

It’s hard to feel good enough when good habits fall away.

“Self-care tends to drop off when you need it most,” says this month’s expert, Suzy Reading. That can leave you in a state of energetic bankruptcy.

I don’t know about you, but I never make my best choices when I’m exhausted and living in survival mode. In fact, the worse I feel, the worse my choices tend to be – self-care-related and otherwise. Then the voice in my head says I’m rubbish and not good enough. Sound familiar?

Maybe there’s something about the term “self-care” itself which feels self-indulgent. In the current situation, is there really time for a face mask and a novel in the bath? Hardly. My “Mind Monster” (Month 2’s experiment) is quick to insist that laundry takes priority over relaxation.

Self-care isn’t just bubble baths and spa days, Suzy says. It’s energy management. It’s a skillset. It’s a lens through which you can experience life, which can transform how you reframe and interpret situations – like a pandemic – more constructively.

She’s right. The more you manage your energy, even in small, consistent ways, the better positioned you are to face whatever the day brings. That old chestnut, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” rings truer than ever.

But what if you’re taking care of others – kids, elderly parents, clients? Suzy’s quick to point out that self-care doesn’t mean, “me first.” It’s “me as well.” When you create time for self-care, whatever that looks like for you, you’re filling your cup. You’re habitualising behaviours that underpin the ways you talk to and treat yourself. Everybody wins. And yet it’s so hard to do. Enter this month’s experiment!

On the worksheet, we’ll start by creating a When Life Works list, a powerful exercise I learned from a mentor.

Our self-care experiment is a mindful check-in with Suzy Reading to help us maintain good self-care habits during trying times (with some wiggle room built in, because we’re human.)

Before watching the video, bring to mind a habit or behaviour that you’re currently using for support or comfort that you know, deep down, doesn’t serve you.

Let’s get started.

This Month’s Experiment

Step 1: Download the worksheet.

Step 2: Watch the video below and get started on the exercise.

Step 3: Want more? Tune into my podcast episode with Suzy Reading here. Her new book (out on Kindle): Self-care For Tough Times is this month’s optional reading.

Step 4: Who do you know who’d benefit from “The Enough Experiment”? Share this link.

Share your experiences on The Life Leap Club on Facebook, and find me on Instagram.

Next time: Work with Shelley Paxton.

Image: Getty