Self Care

Self care is something so easy to forget about, or to reclaim after you are really out of whack. JJ and Melissa have an authentic discussion about JJ's recent bout of feeling out of sorts, and his path back to centeredness.

February 2, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. So this week, JJ, you and I, as we always do, before we record these podcasts, we kind of sit and figure out what are we going to talk about this week? And I was all fired up because I had like, three what I thought were really good ideas on you. You've had a little rough couple of weeks. And I could just tell that it would they were just not going over well at all. And yeah, and sort of this topic erupted on the scene soon after. And it is the topic of self care taking care of ourselves.

JJ Parker  0:53  
Yes. Because I was not part, you know, since I was not doing self care. And I was not taking care of myself. Yeah, like I could barely even get my brain around some of the deeper into document. I

Melissa Albers  1:10  
know, I know. Well, and I would just say from knowing you years and years and years, it's very seldom that you get to that place. Yeah, very, very seldom either. I think we were both pretty good about sort of staying in the zone, or trying to stay in the middle zone of our lives and our how we're feeling. And every once in a while we just like seem to throw ourselves off of a cliff. Well,

JJ Parker  1:37  
before you called me out on my lack of self care, yesterday, earlier in the week, we like we do this, you know, we do our like daily standup with my leadership team. Yeah. And the guys like we all hop on, you know, it's like a zoom call and, and I was just goofy. Like, I just like, I was like, I didn't really have anything useful. I wasn't barely paying attention. And I realized, like, and I actually told them like, Yeah, I don't know what's going on today, but I'm just not feeling it. Oh, yeah. And they're like, yeah, you need to take some time off. I'm like, No, I don't. I don't need to take a time off. I'm talking about doing awesome. What are we working on? It actually got into a little bit of a conversation about how I, how I didn't actually take any time off over the holidays.

Melissa Albers  2:43  
Yeah. Which then we talked about that too

JJ Parker  2:45  
young. And my teenagers have been whipping up tons of drama around our house and being super, super active been excelling at being a teenager. Yeah, I

Melissa Albers  2:58  
was just gonna say they're just like, really, and they're so good at it.

JJ Parker  3:01  
So good at it. And it just so dramatic.

Melissa Albers  3:06  
So you are getting it from both ends, you are having a very, very busy work environment. There was a lot of stuff going on at work. Your side projects have also been super, super busy right now. Yeah. And then you had no safe place at home because your home life was also crazy. Energy. Yes.

JJ Parker  3:29  
Yes. So all of the energy around me was pretty chaotic. Yeah, that wasn't doing anything about it. Yeah, actually, what I was doing about it was just feeding into it more. Like,

Melissa Albers  3:43  
I don't think you were feeding into it more.

JJ Parker  3:45  
I think like, I think I was just like doing like trying to do more work trying to do more things like you know, I was just getting Yeah, I'm caught up sounds like a downward spiral. It was more like an upward spiral. It's like I was getting so wrapped around the axle. Yeah, around things. I think that it wasn't a time like, like, in my in my head. I was just like, No, I just got to do the next thing. I just got to do the next thing. I just gotta keep going. I gotta deal with this. I got to deal with that. You know, and it's just energy split all over the place. And I didn't stop you at all.

Melissa Albers  4:22  
Yeah, yeah. When did you notice?

JJ Parker  4:26  
Well, I probably noticed that that meeting at work when I was when I could just, I couldn't even participate. I was so like, I was so my energy was so you were

Melissa Albers  4:37  
just divert crispy is what I call it when I get like

JJ Parker  4:42  
I know when you and I talked of cars for a while you didn't take any time off and even doing this even the smallest.

Melissa Albers  4:49  
Actually it was worse than that. I said, Well, I'm glad next week, you're taking some time and you're like I'm not on time. Time Off. I was like, oh, here we are in this part of the program. I recognize this, although it's usually me. It's usually me, not you.

JJ Parker  5:10  
What's taking time off? gonna do that doesn't make any sense.

Melissa Albers  5:14  
self care. Don't be ridiculous. There's too many other things to worry about

Unknown Speaker  5:19  
later on.

Melissa Albers  5:23  
But you know what, here we are, like big, you know, enthusiastic supporters of self awareness?

JJ Parker  5:28  
Oh, yeah, I know, right.

Melissa Albers  5:29  
And we get just like anybody else. I think we get tripped up in our own lives tripped up in our own processes. And it and when you're in the middle of it, it just takes. I think it takes a Herculean effort to actually notice how far in you are, and then it's even harder to decide how in the hell do I get out? Like, I am so unhappy? Like, I am just really unhappy?

JJ Parker  6:00  
Yeah, I mean, think about it like we do. We talk a couple of times a week exclusively about the topic of self awareness. We do a podcast on it. Like it should be top of mind for me, right? Yeah. I didn't notice like weeks.

Melissa Albers  6:15  
Yeah, well, and so.

JJ Parker  6:16  
I mean, and really, until you call called me out on it,

Melissa Albers  6:21  
seriously? Well,

JJ Parker  6:23  
I mean, I probably sensed it a little bit, but it didn't hit me like, Oh, yeah. Okay. I definitely do need to take a break. Because I'm not being helpful to actually anybody, including myself at this point.

Melissa Albers  6:36  

JJ Parker  6:37  
But isn't that funny how sometimes it takes someone else to call you out on it? And a lot of times, like, people don't like it and called out on, you know, their own their own stuff.

Melissa Albers  6:49  
No, nobody likes that. Including me. I don't like that at all. You know, it's funny, though. I think what we're talking about right now is how to take care of ourselves. And like the habits of keeping ourselves cared for but then the habit of covering up when we're not.

JJ Parker  7:08  
Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's a good point.

Melissa Albers  7:10  
Yeah. Because we think we are hiding how, how yucky? We feel we think we're hiding it. Yeah, I think we think we're just doing it no one notices.

JJ Parker  7:23  
All right. Oh, that's the funny thing. Is that, that? Oh, and one of the lessons we talked about that in the feelings lesson, right? We talked about how, like, when we have feelings, we we we think we can actually hide them. And we think we're actually really good at it. Yeah, it turns out, we're really crappy at it. Everyone knows it. And everyone's just playing this like game

Melissa Albers  7:42  
walking around us. Don't say anything. So so so we know how it feels. Now when we're feeling yucky. Like when we're not practicing self care. And we find ourselves in this sort of whole, like, we dig a hole.

JJ Parker  8:03  
So how do you how do you feel like how do you know when you're not like practicing self care? Ya know, when you've gotten to our

Melissa Albers  8:10  
Well, actually, I think it's, even though we're very opposite in personality. I think it's very much the same thing. I first of all, start feeling more tired than normal. And mentally, I feel more mentally tired and physically, I feel more tired. And like if I have practices that I do, such as yoga or whatever, walking or snowshoeing because it's winter, and I love that I stopped doing those because I'm too tired. And then I quickly will justify why I'm too tired. So it starts with me feeling tired. And then as soon as I have awareness that I'm tired, and that I have stopped doing something for a day or two, and I get crabby. I get really crabby. And I'm mad at myself. I'm so mad at myself, but it ends up coming out at other people. Even though I may think I'm covering that up. I do I get short. And I don't know. I just don't I don't want to talk I don't want and I sure don't want to be called out. It's like don't Yeah, just don't look at me. Just ignore the fact that I'm having a really hard time. Yeah, that's what I do. So I think it's probably very similar. Maybe not to the you know, I think I've got I've really honed it to a great skill.

JJ Parker  9:36  
Yeah, it's, it's funny how we can like recognize those patterns in ourselves, you know, for me for sure. It's like I start over producing I start getting into so many things all at the same time.

Melissa Albers  9:50  
Yeah. Which Yeah, wishing energy.

JJ Parker  9:53  
Yeah. And and then none of it is good. Yeah, I can do like a whole bunch of like half assed work. Yeah. I just see them more and more and more.

Melissa Albers  10:02  
Yeah, I actually know that you say that. Because when even when we were having our conversation about a project we were working on, you did say that you said, well, I've started this. I've just I've kept it in my email box, and I haven't done it. And it's causing me a lot of anxiety.

JJ Parker  10:17  
Oh, yeah.

Melissa Albers  10:18  
So yeah, that's right. I forgot about that. Interesting for the people listening today to think about their pattern of unwinding. And you know, what their or their habit of getting to that place of not taking care of themselves and realizing they're all out?

JJ Parker  10:36  
Yeah, what is the like, what, how does it? How does it man ultimately, how does it? How do you How does it manifest itself? Like how when you kind of act out? Yeah. When you're not, when you're not taking care of yourself? And then working backwards? Right. It's like, Okay, what are some clues along the way? So yeah, yeah, maybe start noticing it. Yeah. earlier.

Melissa Albers  10:56  
Yeah, I agree. So like, let's just talk about that. Like, let's just kind of talk about like, the, like, the path back, like, once you are in this spot? What do you do? Once you've so I mean, I think the first thing is, is like, okay, here I am, like recognizing and owning the fact that we're in the spot, right? Like, alright, I'm just gonna admit to myself, I'm really stressed out, I'm really unhappy. I haven't taken any time I'm whatever I'm tried. Once we admit it, admit it to ourselves,

JJ Parker  11:27  
then what I do immediately is start like one or two or three more companies.

If not actually started them just register some domain names.

Melissa Albers  11:44  
And I start making huge commitments. Like, I think I'm gonna write a book in three weeks. All right, so we set ourselves up with maybe a list of x

JJ Parker  11:57  
failures right away. Okay. That's a good question. Like, what? What, what do we do like, actually, like, literally, right now? The question is, what am I going to do? Because we had this conversation about Yeah, about taking care of myself yesterday. Yeah. And here I am today, and we're gonna figure it out. Let's figure. Let's figure it out together. Do you feel like next week, I'm gonna go hang out with my boys for for the week? Out in the mountains? Yeah. Because we're online school and on remote work. And I said, Hey, we can do that from anywhere. So let's go do that from Colorado. Uh huh. But like I told you, there's no way I'm taking that week off. or working here. So maybe what I should start with was taking one or two of those days off? Yes. Just Yep. You know, or throughout work? I'm not working on a thing.

Melissa Albers  12:59  
Yeah. Yeah, I think it's, well, I think to, again, both of us are such high producers, we have high expectations of what we can produce. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to constantly be producing. And I think the big part here is getting angry because we feel guilty. Yeah, taking a break.

JJ Parker  13:19  
Yeah, that's what I was just reflected on now. Like, I am currently not practicing what I preach at work. So at work. I've every new employee, and part of their onboarding, we talk about it in our monthly meetings I talk about, like mental health. Yes, right. It's very important. For me, it's very important for our organization. And often I say, hey, sometimes you might get overwhelmed. And you just need a mental health day. Take it take a mental health day. Yeah, like it's okay. Here. It's safe here that to do that. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  14:00  
And you encourage people

JJ Parker  14:02  
that all the time, but I'm not doing it myself. Right. Right. Here we are. I haven't done that. I should have done that. I didn't and and now I'm like on the edge.

Melissa Albers  14:13  
Yeah. On the edge. A little over the edge. You might be just like, No,

JJ Parker  14:21  
you gotta you gotta get to the edge just to know you know. So look over every once in a while

Melissa Albers  14:27  
don't burn yourself over don't earlier. So just take a peek. Yeah, I think I think that that's true is like, again, taking your own inventory. It's and that's what that's what I've done too. So as a matter of fact, like I felt really, really fried right before the holidays. And I always take that time off between Christmas and New Year's and I did that again. And I really, really unplugged and that made me feel so much better. I can't even tell you all I was

JJ Parker  15:01  
just trying to get all this stuff done.

Melissa Albers  15:04  
I like nope. I don't want to record anything. Nope, I don't want him to go anywhere. Nope, I'm not writing anything. I'm just I'm eating,

JJ Parker  15:12  
actually, for you that that unplug time that reset time is yeah helps you get back to Yeah, that centered state well,

Melissa Albers  15:22  
and you know what, it's funny though, because that's not the only thing like just taking that time off wouldn't have been enough. Because if I would have just taken that time off and then entered back into the experiment, like merged back onto the freeway, at the same speed that I had been, I would have been right back to that state before I took time off.

JJ Parker  15:42  
So what a great analogy. Yeah, like that, like merging right back onto the same highway

Melissa Albers  15:47  
at the same speed that I had left it and I felt interested. So what I have noticed, just in the conversation today, and even yesterday, when we started talking about these ideas, and and earlier today, I think getting that time away, just brought me to a place where I was more quiet. And then from that place, I started making decisions about what I was going to do going forward so that I I could feel better. And that I didn't feel like I was just hiding from myself from a week, you know, a week off. But though you're actually going to employ some different things. So like, for example, what I did is I took the time off, and then I really took the time off, I mentally took the time off physically, everything. And but then when I decided I was coming back, I was like, You know what, what's, what am I going to do? Like I i because I had stopped practicing yoga. I had stopped meditating, because I was in a really bad crusty spot myself. And I just decided, Okay, I don't want to enter into the new year now with 100 goals, because that feels stressful. And that's just gonna make me feel like I have to punch the accelerator down even more. But what if I don't think about it like that? What if I just think you know what, today, I'm going to do a yoga practice. But I'm not going to do my normal one. I'm not going to do the HA all out one hour kill myself. I'm going to modify it and do something that's just easier for me. So I did a 20 minute, vinyasa flow, which is still moving, and everything but not nearly the same expectation. So it was something that was familiar, but it wasn't the same thing. Yeah. And because I was more calm, I was able to give myself that permission to not make it all out. So like, that's kind of what I started to do.

JJ Parker  17:39  
I like that advice. I like that advice. Like, it's not. It's not like when you get overwhelmed, and you're not taking care of yourself. It's not like the points not maybe a timeout. Yeah. No, put myself in a timeout and not do anything for a week and then come back and just keep my same. Yeah, teens, right. Yeah, it really made me take that time to think about, okay, what got me here? What are the things I'm going to change? So I don't get back into this state? Or else we're just gonna keep repeating it right.

Melissa Albers  18:11  
And I think a big huge part of that is the self judgment. I think letting ourselves off the hook. It's like, you know, we all seem to have a little perfectionism streak about what we are, who we are what we do, our expectations of ourselves. And I think a lot of this is, you know, what I got out of my flow, I got out of my rhythm, I feel tired, I feel spent. And that's okay for me to say that. And now I'm going to just like, how can I? How can I just give myself some grace, so that I can reassess?

JJ Parker  18:48  
Yeah. Yeah. You know, part of it's like, you don't want to admit that know that. You're not in a healthy spot.

Melissa Albers  18:56  
No. Funny. I mean, it's funny.

JJ Parker  19:01  
It is funny, like, especially around mental health, right. This is there's such a stigma around it. Like, like if you've got the flu, right. Everyone's like, Hey, I got the flu. I'm not coming into work. And I'm not doing this or not doing that. Like, you got to do the dishes and deal with the kids because I got the flu. Yeah. Right. Like it's like physical illness. It's just like, so just like, here it is.

Melissa Albers  19:26  
That's so good. But

JJ Parker  19:28  
yeah, but the mental health when you're not feeling good mentally, it's like no one wants to admit that no one wants to talk about it. Everyone thinks they can just somehow suck it out, work through it. You know, and, and get through it or it'll just go away. Yeah, right. It's and doesn't and they don't give it any care. Tie to heal. Right. Right. Like you would your physical body.

Melissa Albers  19:54  
Right. Right. And you know, when you see other people that are in that state, we usually give them grace. You know, we usually give them Grace 99% of the time, we say, oh, they're probably having a bad day or who I can tell they're really this, but we would never give ourselves that same grace right

JJ Parker  20:10  
out of the gates true. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  20:14  
So I think I think, you know, like, just understanding that sometimes we do reach this level of unaware, sensing, like how we're feeling we're just unaware of how much we've gotten wrapped around the axle, I think.

JJ Parker  20:31  
So the thing that I always think about when I am feeling because sometimes self care feels selfish. Yeah, self care feels selfish. Like, like, if, if I'm gonna say, hey, like, you know, I'd say, more. So a lot of my guilt more come around, like my family, right? Like, Hey, I have to tell my wife like, now you got, especially when the kids were littler? No, I'm gonna go play tennis. Right? That's like that was that's been one of my, like, self care things for a long time is like, this is how I unwind and get my brain to stop. Right? Like, right, working on work. But taking that time, a lot of times I feel guilty. Going to do that. But I know if I didn't go do those activities and come back more refreshed. I would just be like an ass. Right and not be helpful to anybody. Right? Yeah. So it's a little bit of a yoga error airline thing. It's like, put your own mask on before helping others. Yeah, like, if I'm not taking care of myself, I'm not help. I'm not. I'm not helping anyone else. I'm not being natural to the people I care about and who depend on me. Right? Right. So well, it does feel. Initially, it feels selfish to say, hey, I need I need some time alone here. You know, my personality. As an introvert, I really do need time alone, right? To reset. I need to go dues, you know, I need to take I need to take this time to take care of physically, myself, because I know how that affects me. If I don't, I'm not taking care of my body, I needed to go do these things to take care of my brain might be to go do these other things to take care of like my soul. Right? And it feels selfish. But really, it's not. It's really not because, again, if you're not taking care of yourself, you're not useful to anybody.

Melissa Albers  22:28  
Right. And I also think, too, so we feel that self judgment and that guilt about it. Like, you know, that's so selfish of me to want to do this. But I think the other thing that comes into play a lot is that the act of taking care of ourselves takes energy from us. And I think we convince ourselves at least I do, like, oh, if I now if I'm going to start getting back into doing all of this to take care of myself, that takes so much energy, and I don't have the energy to even do these base things that I already feel guilty about. It's just mine. It's a mind game. It's a mind. Yeah.

JJ Parker  23:04  
So when you're when, when you've gotten to the bottom, right, it's really hard to restart that. Yeah. So yes, one of the things that, that would be awesome if we could do all the time, which is not possible. So yeah, worry about it is somehow maintain self care over a long period of time. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So like, how do you? How do you when you're going on stretches where you feel like you've been taking care of yourself? Yeah, maybe for a few months in a row? Yeah. Like, what? What are you doing during that time? Hi, how are you doing that?

Melissa Albers  23:40  
You know, I would say that for me, I try to do some sort of physical movement, some sort of yoga activity or something, because otherwise, my body feels sore and stiff. And every time I move, it reminds me that I'm not taking care of myself and I feel terrible. So I usually try to do some sort of activity, physical activity, not much like just even even if it's just a little bit every other day or something like that. The other thing that I tried to do is to catch myself, catch myself thinking thoughts that are not helpful. Hmm, I'm feeling so achy, I'm getting old. I don't feel good. I don't think that I I'm starting to look old I can I'm so it's like, these are ridiculous. These are ridiculous thoughts. But these are the thoughts that start to encroach on my health. If I'm not doing things so if I if I can just do a little bit like that a little bit, then I always just feel like oh, I feel pretty good today. Like I did that. I feel I don't feel sore. Like I feel energetic and that makes me feel good. So I've been just in the moment little tweaks, like five degree tweaks in something I'm thinking or if I catch a think a thought pattern that's not helpful saying, Oh, actually, I'm doing a pretty darn good job and retraining my brain It's those are just those little things in the moment that sound. They may sound silly, but they really are not. Yeah, they're really all consuming if I don't get out ahead of them.

JJ Parker  25:12  
You said something really interesting, like, that I have only recently been experiencing is that when I was younger, like my physical health didn't seem to impact my mental state of being much as I get older. When I, when I'm feeling like I'm more fit, it really affects my brain affects my mood, it affects the way and when I'm not doing I can totally tell it's, it's, it's becoming more connected or something. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  25:47  
Well, I think your awareness is growing, maybe. I think your self awareness is growing.

JJ Parker  25:56  
Yeah, so these these habits, right, these, these daily, small daily habits to keep you in a state where you are taking care of yourself and you are feeling good. And trying to be more aware when maybe you start skipping some of those Right, exactly. You can start you know, like, Okay, I'm kind of on a trajectory that that's not helpful. Not be helpful. So I get back. So, you know, we did an episode about habits. Yeah. Oh, that might have been the last episode was that the last episode it might have I remember work amnesia. building those habits is really a key to self care, and then not feeling guilty that you're doing self care. Yeah. And when you do neglect it, and you do hit the bottom, just understanding how much energy it's going to take to get back to the proper self care and just do a little bit at a time and don't set your expectations too, just

Melissa Albers  26:59  
a little bit at a time. And I think if you do catch yourself tumbling down the hill, it's okay. It's okay. Help is on the way. You're gonna go. You'll figure it out. You always do. And the fastest way to that is just, again, going back to the little things that we know help us feel better and not beating ourselves up if it takes us an extra day or two. Yeah, you know, it's just that heavy judgment needs to be set aside so that we can continue to be us on our best day.

JJ Parker  27:30  
Oh, that's great. Yep. OSS on our bus day. While with that, I'm going to go on my trip next week. And I promise you, I'm going to take probably at least 14 or 15 minutes off of self care.

Melissa Albers  27:46  
Now see, you're just negating all of the good work we just did. I hope you really enjoy your trip and that you do absolutely unplug so that your energy can return and you can start choosing how you want to be.

JJ Parker  28:03  
I will do that.

Melissa Albers  28:05  
We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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