In this episode, Carrie delves into the importance of self-care amidst life’s challenges. She explores three common obstacles that often hinder us from prioritizing self-care.

  • The importance of prioritizing self-care, especially in managing mental health conditions like OCD.
  • Why we often neglect self-care as Christians.
  • Distinguishing between genuine self-care activities that rejuvenate you and “numbing out” behaviors,
  • How self-care can actually enhance productivity,

Carrie also shares a sneak peek into the podcast’s upcoming rebranding, unveiling a fresh look and renewed clarity on the podcast’s mission!

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Transcript

Welcome to Hope for Anxiety and OCD, episode 123. I am your host, Carrie Bock, a licensed professional counselor in Tennessee. Today, we’re talking about three reasons you don’t prioritize self care, but before we get into that, I wanted to share an update on episode 122, our last episode where I was talking about dealing with uncertainty, the process of “Are we going to find a house in time by the time we move out of ours?”

I’m very happy to update you and let you know that the box are moving this month. We are super excited to be moving relatively close to where we actually are moving to Smyrna in a great area where we will have a one-storey for Steve with a little bit of bonus space upstairs where I will be getting to record podcast episodes and working from home some.

Super excited about that. God blessed us and caused several different things to come together to make that happen. There were different little spiritual pieces that he showed us along the way and gave us peace that this was the direction we were supposed to be moving in. We are so incredibly blessed and thankful to God for his provision in that area for us so I’m excited. 

As some of you know, there have been some changes happening on the podcast if you’ve been following along for a little while. Back in April, we decided to go back to weekly episodes. It seemed like maybe we had been losing some folks because we were only producing an episode every other week.

We’re back to weekly episodes, and I’m also excited to share a sneak peek that there are going to be some rebranding changes coming up. There is going to be some new podcast art, a new name. Some other things coming down the pike. We’re not totally ready to release all of that yet, but I’m excited to be able to share it with you.

It’s the new and improved version of this podcast. It has been going on for three years now, and it’s just time. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a fresh look and rebrand and really to develop more clarity on my calling towards this podcast and clarity on what we’re about. Some people have gotten a little confused at different points, so we’re wanting to work on this rebrand in order to provide just greater clarity about what the podcast is here for and who it is here to serve. Now, if you want to be an insider, the people who find out about this type of information first are on our email list. And to get on our email list, all you have to do is go to hopeforanxietyandocd.com/free. There are some free downloads there. Make sure that when you get the download in your email, that you click the link. Otherwise, you will not be subscribed to our email list.  I consider those our insiders, our first to know about new things that are going on with the podcast. They were the first to know about our OCD Summer Learning Sessions that are coming up this summer in 2024.

Let’s dive into three reasons that you don’t prioritize self care. I know self care is a hot topic for people and when your stress goes up, your symptoms go up. This is true for any mental health condition, but I’ve seen it very strongly in terms of working with OCD that when clients first come in for treatment for OCD, a lot of times they’re in stressful life experiences.

They may be experiencing some major life changes, whether that’s change of a job, whether that’s having a child, or moving. Even if there are things that we want that are positive things, they can still be stressful for us. I’m always looking when people start therapy, what can we do to help lower their stress level or help them manage it better?

What I see is that even though we’re talking about self care is kind of a buzzword. People are not prioritizing it or don’t know what that even means. What does self-care even mean or what does that look like for us now? I know we did a previous episode on the show on self-care. We will link in the show notes for you, but at a very basic level self-care is doing things like sleeping, eating, showering, making sure you go to your health appointments, getting to the doctor at least once a year, getting your blood work done and checked out.

As Christians, we need time to care for our soul, to pray, to sit in the presence of God, to open ourselves up to hear from Him what He might have to say, to open up and read the Word of God because that is God’s Word spoken to us. Regardless of whether we’re hearing or sensing something in our spirit or not, we can go back to the Word of God and see what God has to say.

Another level of self-care would, if you got some of those other basics down, would be to make sure that you’re doing things that you enjoy or things that rejuvenate you. They might look different for different people. In order to be able to engage in self-care and have it work for you, you have to look at what kind of things help you decompress from stress, help your body feel calmer, and what types of things rejuvenate and refresh you.

Hopefully, we experience this at some level when we take some time off from work or we go on vacation. I took a day off during my daughter’s spring break and we all went to the botanical gardens. It was a great opportunity – beautiful weather, just be outside and have a family day where we could engage intentionally as a family and not worry about anything else. Not worry about work, not worry about house stuff, just be together and enjoy each other’s company. My daughter since she got to run around outside, she really loved it. 

Self-care, maybe going to the gym or doing workouts at home, maybe engaging in a craft project. I love paint by numbers. I don’t do it as much as I wish I’d prioritized it, but I enjoy those types of things because it helps me calm down.

If I feel really revved up, it’s slow, it’s methodical and there’s a result at the end. There’s some kind of finished result where I feel like, “Oh, I did something good it looks beautiful. The beautiful thing about it is I’m not having to freehand paint because my talent level is not there. 

Self-care may be spending intentional time with friends, family, just sitting outside, getting some sunshine, some vitamin D, but breathing deeply, really enjoying a hot beverage or a cold beverage, depending on your weather at the time. 

What is not self-care that I would say is numbing out activities, numbing out on social media. That doesn’t count as self-care.

Social media is very stimulating to our brains. Things are constantly changing, constantly moving on there. We’re trying to keep up with all of the information, what’s going on, social media can trigger all types of emotional experiences. Maybe we see something like, “Oh, well, look at my friend who is on vacation. I wish I was on the beach right now.”

Maybe you’re seeing somebody else. They just graduated and they are doing so well and successful in their life. “What am I doing with myself?” Social media just triggers up all kinds of stuff and there’s nothing wrong with being on it. I’m not picking on social media.

Some of you may have found out about this podcast through social media. I have no idea. What I will say is that if we are getting in a state of just blah. We are not refreshing. We are not decompressing. We’re just chilling. Just status quo. If you’re watching too much TV or engaging in other activities to just numb out and not experience, not be present.

Essentially, a lot of times that’s what we’re doing when we engage in these activities. It’s not horrible, but I’m not going to call that self-care because self-care is intentional and self-care is to care for our mind, body, and spirit in a very present and intentional way. Not just like, “Let me just do this and feel blah” 

When we don’t get our self-care time. What happens? We get irritable. We get more frustrated. We maybe get resentful of others because we feel like they are not helping enough for us to be able to get that time. It could be that you are irritated at a spouse or co workers. You don’t feel like are pulling their load. The number one reason people don’t engage in these types of activities that we talked about is because they say, “I don’t have time for that. You don’t understand. I mean, I work a full time job and then I have the kids and then I have this responsibility and my mom wants me to run over here and do this for her.” We just say, “Well, I’m not important. I don’t have time for that. Well, we have to prioritize what’s most important to us and what is in line with our values.”

We always say, if you want to know like what’s most important to somebody, we look at their time and their money. If you are not spending time, just having that time for yourself or for rejuvenating time with those you love. If you’re not spending any kind of money on those types of things. I’m not talking about major dollars like you have to go on the thousands of dollars vacation or being a luxury resort, that’s not what I’m talking about, but if you don’t take time to even just get a coffee with your spouse,or just do something small and simple, drive to the park and walk outside. There are things where you don’t have to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself. You don’t have to get a gym membership. You can get a 15 yoga mat, roll it out, and find some free videos on YouTube where you can do yoga Pilates, strength training, whatever you want to do. I’m sure you can pick up something heavy around your house if you don’t have weights. You don’t always have to spend money for self-care, but if you find yourself feeling guilty about spending any money on yourself, then I would encourage you to question that and see. Where does that come from? What is that about? 

Three reasons you don’t prioritize self-care. 

One, you think that you have too much to do and self-care will take away from your productivity. We place a lot of value and emphasis, especially in American culture, on being productive, on getting things done. We got our list. We’re checking it twice. We’re crossing things off, and that’s a lot of times where we get our value and our worth from. That’s a problem because your worth is based on who you are, not on what you do. You are a beautiful creation in Christ. He has a plan and purpose for your life, and regardless of how much you get done today, He still values you. 

We have to be careful about this connection between our productivity and our worth. It’s very interesting, this concept of productivity. I was listening to a podcast recently that talked about how she added exercise back into her routine. This was something that this podcaster had been wanting to do, and she had this concern. “How do I have time to exercise? I know it’s important for me. I know I will feel better physically and emotionally if I do it. How do I get back to this thing that’s important to me?” What she found was that when she added exercise back in, she felt like that she was more productive. She noticed that she was more intentional about how she spent her work time, making sure that she wasn’t getting distracted from the things that she needed to get done.

She was sleeping better, she was feeling better, and felt like, “Okay, even though I added exercise into my routine, this is going to take away from some time of other things. She felt like it didn’t, that she really felt better as a result of it. One thing I will say, too, is that there’s a cost in our brain for switching tasks on a regular basis. Unless you’re in a business world, a lot of times people are in entrepreneurial space. People don’t usually talk about this, but what I will tell you is that every time you switch gears in your brain, going from doing one thing to doing another thing, There’s a cost to that, and a lot of times we’re distracted all the time because we have all these pinging notifications, this person is texting you about this, hey I need to know like can we get together Saturday, somebody else is texting you about something else, and then some random email pops up from your boss, oh hey did you get this task done.

If we’re not careful, our brains are constantly switching whether we want them to or not. Then we’re opening up social media, scrolling, and all of a sudden there’s all this other extra information that we’re taking in. And if your mind is clear, because you have spent some intentional time to unpack things, to clear it, you will be more productive.

A lot of times I see this with people’s emotional experiences when they’re coming into counseling. There’s a huge like bag of emotions of past experiences or present stressors that they have not unpacked. As a result, they will sit being trying to do their day-to-day task and they are unable to because these emotions keep popping up. Past memories keep popping up. Obviously, it could be an obsession that keeps popping back up, popping back up, popping back up, and can really distract you from what you’re trying to do. 

When you take time to clear some of that stuff out to where you’re not having to focus on it, or you take the self-care time to work on some skills in managing your OCD, that is self-care. Therapy is self-care. We have some great programs and courses through the website on mindfulness that really can help you be in the present moment with a level of awareness and acceptance, something that I teach my clients quite a bit that helps with the emotional regulation piece. It helps us be able to process what’s actually happening in the here and now usually is not as distressing as what we’re adding to it by the meaning that we’re making of it.

Past experiences are worries about the future. Usually if we able to isolate down to the here and now, that’s usually a much more manageable process. 

Second reason that you’re not prioritizing self care is you feel uncomfortable in asking for what you need in order to take care of yourself. “Man, I am so preaching to the choir because I have been very guilty of this in my own life.”

I think that, okay, here I am, I’m the strong, independent woman that society has told me that I need to be, or I’m supposed to be. I’m running my own business. I have a family. I’m doing the things then the lie that I believe I’ve told myself is I should be able to handle this. I mean, I could ask for help, but I don’t really need to ask for help. I can handle this. It’s okay. What I’ve realized is that if I’m going to have self-care time, that means a lot of times I have to ask somebody else to help me. It may mean I have to ask somebody if they can pick up my daughter from her program. It may mean that I have to ask my spouse, Hey, can I just have some time to myself right now?

It may mean that I have to ask my spouse like, Hey, can you watch our daughter so that I can go do this thing? Is that all right with you? And if I don’t ask, I know that that need is not going to be met. It may be asking or hiring services, it may be, okay, like you look at all the things that you have to do saying, is this really manageable?

I think that would be your first step and I’ve done this in my own life. Okay, what are all the things that I’m doing? Do I need to actually be doing all of those things? or do I need to hire somebody else to do it? Can I mow my own lawn? Yes, I can. I don’t think that I’m the greatest at lawn mowing, but I can do it.

Let’s be theoretical. It’s actually not the lawn, it’s the weed eating that I always get a little tripped up on. But the point is, can I do it? Sure. But I have a lot of other things on my plate as well. Does it make sense for me to pay someone to do it? In my scenario, it does. You may not have that opportunity.

I pay for a grocery subscription service to deliver groceries. I am not ashamed of that. I’ve been doing it for about a year. I am the only one that drives in my family. My husband is not able to drive because of his disability. So there are ways that we have to move, maybe that are a little bit different than other people.

Are you telling yourself that you have to be, whatever that is, the strong one of the family? The one that doesn’t need time for themselves, the one that has to focus on everyone else’s problems and your suffering. I can definitely look back on times in my life where I should have involved other people, or I should have asked for help more than I did, and as a result of not asking for help, my mental health majorly suffered during those periods because even though other people theoretically knew what I had going on I don’t think they realized how challenging it was for me. I think I was waiting for everyone else to kind of figure it out. Don’t do that because there’s a chance they may not ever figure it out and you will still be there It takes a lot of humility for us to ask for help, but we are told in the scripture to bear one another’s burdens.

It is okay for you to ask somebody else for help. It’s also okay for that person to say no, but you can ask someone else for help. Keep asking until you are able to get the help and the support that you need. 

All right, number three reason that you are not prioritizing self care, telling yourself you have no time for it, is that you’re not planning it.

This kind of similarly goes with number two. You are not being intentional about putting it on your schedule. You’re not saying like, hey, When’s our date night going to be this month? Okay, what does that look like? What would you like to go do together so that we can connect as a couple? What kind of things do I enjoy?

There are some people that maybe listening to this, maybe you don’t even know what you would do for self-care. Maybe you don’t even know what you like because you’ve always been so focused on taking care of everyone else. Hey, here’s a clue, it might be time to try to explore some different things.

That’s a beautiful thing. Go out and try something new. Maybe you are not sure if you’ll like it or not, or you’re not sure if you’ll be good at it. Honestly, who cares if you’re good at it? If you enjoy it, if it helps you decompress. If it helps you rejuvenate internally, then good, go for it. You don’t have to be good at something in order for it to be a hobby.

I think that’s a misnomer that a lot of people believe, like, “Oh, well, I’m not really good at anything so therefore I’m not going to do any type of sports or crafts or hobbies. I’m not going to whittle with some wood or try to build something because I don’t think I’ll be very good at that.” It doesn’t matter. Do what you enjoy and allow God to use those things in your life to be able to just rejuvenate you. I hope that this episode was helpful for you as you’re thinking about self-care and what are some reasons maybe that you don’t prioritize it or that you feel like you have no time for it. Remember, we have time for what we make time for.

We just have to be intentional about it. Ask for help. When we need to and recognize that self-care is not going to make us a less productive person. In fact, it may make us a more productive person. If you enjoyed this episode today, I hope that you will share it with someone else that you know. Please feel free to hop on over to iTunes and leave us a review, or if you’re on YouTube, like and subscribe.

Thanks so much for listening. Hope for Anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling. Our show is hosted by me, Carrie Bock, a licensed professional counselor in Tennessee. Opinions given by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of myself or By the Will Counseling. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum. Until next time, may you be comforted by God’s great love for you.