Several weeks ago, I referenced this question, “What do I most need in this moment?” in my blog titled The First Best Step in Improving Your Emotional and Mental Fitness. In terms of self-care, it provides the most immediate response. After posing this question, a few clients and acquaintances shared with me the impact it has on their day when this question is asked and answered.
Below are a few real-life stories of how this powerful, yet underutilized tool, can shift your perspective at the moment.
Karen had been experiencing incredible stress at work for the past few months. There were a number of changes taking place, including a big change in leadership. In the midst of change, she was feeling significantly under appreciated. This was taking a toll on her emotionally, impacting her both at work and at home. We brainstormed several exercises for her to shift her narrative of this experience, yet at the height of her frustration one morning, when someone offered to go on a coffee run, asking herself what she needed, provided her the fastest return on emotional investment. Ordinarily, Karen did not partake in the ‘coffee run’ as she often brought her own beverage of choice to work with her. However, on one particular morning, feeling agitated before her day had even begun, she asked herself, “What do I most need in this moment?” Almost as if on cue, a colleague asked what she would like to drink from Starbucks. For the first time in a long time, she took the colleague up on the offer and ordered. I could tell from the animated way she shared this story, that it would be a tool she would use more often moving forward.
In a moment of overwhelm, uncertainty, or confusion, asking yourself what you most need at the moment, if nothing else, acts as a pause button to your internal dialogue. Once interrupting this dialogue, you allow your intuition or inner guide to be heard, and more importantly, acted upon.
During our latest coaching call, Jessica and I were talking about her use of ‘the question’. Since we began coaching months ago, she had been working on implementing consistent self-care into her schedule. Her workload was beginning to overwhelm her. Earlier in the week, she had asked herself, “What do I most need at this moment?” Her intuition was telling her to go home for lunch and take the time to walk her dog. Her home is merely a block away from her office. However, at the moment, she ignored her intuition and kept working. In hindsight, she realized by ignoring the response to her question, she had an unproductive and anxiety-filled afternoon. She now goes home for lunch most days. She knows that giving herself this little break in the middle of the workday significantly improves her energy, mood, and productivity after lunch.
Jessica’s story is not uncommon. According to author Laura Doyle, the most effective self-care is not to focus on what you “feel you should be doing, but on things that delight you”. Asking, “What do I most need at this moment?” is just one way to initiate self-care into your daily routine. Acting on what you most need in a moment may be counter-
intuitive to what you believe you should do, (Jessica believing she should work through lunch), and it may well delight you (Jessica going home to walk her dogs at lunch).
Karen’s and Jessica’s stories are two examples of effectively using this self-care question in the midst of your day. As you get more comfortable and adept at this particular form of self-care, you will find it may have a far-reaching positive impact when used in more critical moments as well.
What DO you most need at THIS moment?
If you would like to know how to most effectively make room for self-care in your daily routine, set up a complimentary consult with me here.