The Self Care Lifestyle Day 4: Buckets

Day 4: Buckets

We’ve unpacked a lot so far, and hopefully shifted your perspective a little (maybe a lot!). Now I want to show you some practices that can help you get clear on where to begin, and how you can put your wellbeing first in a fast paced world.

How do we do this? Short answer: It’s easy and it’s hard and it’s worth it! Longer answer: It’s all about getting serious about what your priorities are, being intentional about your time (all the time), and making choices that are congruent with what matters most to you.

The Bucket List (no, not that bucket list)

The first step to self care is discovering what we need. Instead of looking at your schedule, scratching your head, and trying to hunt for a place to carve out time for yourself, I encourage you to take some time alone to get quiet, and come up with your Bucket List. The Bucket List is a list of all the ‘buckets’ in your life that need to be filled regularly in order for you to feel happy, healthy, and whole . Start with your own buckets. We’ll get to everything else later, I promise.

On a piece of paper or in your journal, write down your Bucket List:

Categories here include:

• Physical (movement/eating/water/rest/touch/intimacy/health care)

• Emotional/Cognitive (therapy/support, reading/study/classes, play/joy/creativity)

• Spiritual (church/meditation/yoga/mindfulness)

• Financial (budget/planning, etc)  

• Social (meaningful connection/relationships)

(These are suggestions--your specific buckets may look slightly different, or you may find you have only one or two buckets per category, or many, or none. It’s all OK. Just like you, it’s a living list. Your Bucket List will grow and evolve as you do.)

Did you surprise yourself with the amount of buckets (needs)? Don’t worry about how to fill them in this moment. The most important thing right now is acknowledgement of all the buckets you are made of. Look how multifaceted and complex you are--nicely done! (This is a great place to pause and find gratitude!)

Before you begin the loving task of filling your Buckets, here’s a very important piece when you look at your Bucket List: All of your buckets--all of them--are your responsibility to fill. Not anyone else’s. I am responsible for my buckets, and you are responsible for yours. On the surface, this may sound harsh and uncaring. But the reality is that these are *your* buckets. No one knows just how to fill them precisely the way you do. This life is yours--you own it! This is the very reason why self-care is essential, not selfish. As you become experienced in this work, you may find that filling your own buckets (and graciously allowing others to fill theirs) becomes a song of gratefulness for this life you’ve been given. Is it OK to ask for help filling your buckets? Absolutely! That’s why we live in community--more on that later.

Expanding Your Circle

Next, write down everything else that’s important to you. Notice the question is not ‘What are your responsibilities?’ or ‘What do you have to do in order to survive?’ It may be helpful to ask yourself these questions:

•What are the top 5 things that are really important to me, or bring me the most joy?

•How do I want to feel when I get up in the morning and start my day?

•How much sleep helps me feel my best each day? (be honest!)

•How do I want to show up in the world?

•Who are the people in my life that I want to be the best version of myself for?

•If you have children: What do I want to model for my children in my own life?

And just like your Bucket List, your exact questions (and your answers) can and will be different.

Once you have this information, it’s easier to look at the places in your life where you can say ‘no’ to the things that don’t fill you up, don’t really matter to you,don’t nourish and fulfill you, and ‘yes’ to the things that do. (Don’t worry--by the end of this series, you’ll learn the magical art of saying ‘no’!)

Tomorrow, we’ll explore the glue that holds a self care lifestyle together. Can’t wait!

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