Self Care Followup

JJ and Melissa reflect on how they each did on their commitment to do better 'self care' in the recent weeks.

February 23, 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 in 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. JJ a couple weeks ago, we were talking about self care. Do you remember?

Unknown Speaker  0:26  
And I feel

JJ Parker  0:27  
like you're about to call me out?

Melissa Albers  0:31  
No, not necessarily. That's not that's not exactly my intention. We had this really good conversation, though, a couple of weeks ago about how self care can really if we're not practicing it, how we can get really sideways.

JJ Parker  0:47  
Yeah. And

Melissa Albers  0:48  
unfortunately, you happen to be like, completely sideways in that moment. So it was a really good example for us to use.

JJ Parker  0:58  
Right. I think when we recorded that episode, I was horizontal.

Melissa Albers  1:01  
You were Yes, you were. Yeah. facedown in the dirt practically. Yeah. And we said at the end of that podcast, that it would be kind of an interesting idea to just check back and see what happened. You know, like, yeah, just check in with each other about because I wasn't really in that great of a space either. Remember, I was kind of having a tough time, too. It's just that you are having a worst time so

JJ Parker  1:28  
well, and so Right, right. Right after right after that episode. The next day. Me and my two boys drove to Colorado. Yeah, Minnesota. Right, right. Yep. 5am hopped in the car. We'll get out of town. Right. With some loose intent of getting some r&r. loose. I promised you and my wife and my co worker amber at work, that I would actually take a couple days off. Yes. I almost did that. Well, here's what I did. I took the days off, but that I made up all of that work I missed during the day at night. Okay. psu Did not I did not everyone asked. I did not work explicitly during the day while the sun was Oh, you

Melissa Albers  2:24  
are so sneaky. so sneaky.

JJ Parker  2:33  
Well, in reality, yeah, we I did. You know, there's a couple of things that I wanted to try to do. While we were out there. Yeah. Yeah. Obviously. I was like, I wasn't just going out there for vacation. I mean, the kids are distance learning, and we're going to work and yeah, school from there and snowboard and, and I did take two whole days off. Where we just went right in, which was nice. But one of my intentions that I didn't actually get to was, I wanted to work on this sort of like, what's my plan for the year, I wanted to just take some time and sit back and reflect like, okay, now that we're still in the first part. Yeah, like, yeah, my new year's resolution a kind of stuff. Yeah, yeah. But like, really just said that. Okay. Like, take take that time. And

Melissa Albers  3:27  
for your own personal planning, not like Yeah,

JJ Parker  3:29  
yeah, for my personal, like, what do I, you know, want to have happen in this next year. And I had good intent of doing that. And it just didn't happen. I just was idle, you know. busy. Yeah. With other things. Yeah. And not putting that on the top of the list of things to do. The only other self reflection of that thing was, even though, like, I did take a couple of days off. Yeah, I didn't. They weren't like, mentally rejuvenating days. Like, one day, I took like, an all day long snowboarding lesson, which was super fun, but physically exhausting. So it's like I, what I needed was to, like, sit quietly with, with nothing happening. Yeah, what I did instead was like, completely glide by time with like, you know, extreme distraction or just more work. You know,

Melissa Albers  4:35  
what I'm realizing in this exact moment is that as we talk about the global conversation of self care, I'm realizing that there's, there's really different levels of this. You know, like, I think like you knew you're sideways. Because you were running with the throttle wide open like you were exhausted, and you were not in a really happy spot like you very subtle. Do you get crunchy and you were pretty? Very seldom. And you were a bit crunchy, right? So like that was your cue. It's really funny to me though how we set ourselves up, it makes it almost worse because we we know what will make us feel better we and we talked about that before how we know what something's going to make us feel better, but it seems like too much work to do it. But it's interesting how much how much energy it takes from us that mental haranguing that we're doing. I know, I should just do this. I'm gonna just do that instead. I mean, it's like we're having an argument with somebody outside of ourselves. Yeah. So I'm just curious. So how do you like, how do you feel today? versus in just as we're bringing this up? Now? I'm sure the feelings of how you were feeling and as you described, it had to been coming up for you, you know, in your description, but how would you compare yourself today to then?

JJ Parker  5:56  
Well, I feel a lot better today. You know, I, there's probably just like, time passing, you'll actually like the big thing. The big thing that changed from a couple weeks ago to today is like, last week's episode was about it. I think it was last week, right? It was about this book project where? Right? So what's interesting is like, my need for self care wasn't actually a eat better. Sleep more. Yeah. exercise more kind of self care need. Right, right. it a lot of times, we self care. Seems like it should be like one of those three sort of physical thing.

Melissa Albers  6:46  
Exactly. And that's what everybody always talks about. When they say self care, everyone goes back to what you just said,

JJ Parker  6:51  
is more, feel so much better. But really, what I needed was some mental self care, because that project was weighing, because that project was going sideways. So I was sideways. And it was weighing so heavily on me it was just wrapping myself around the axle. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  7:12  
yeah. And several other things at the same time, though, too. Is your work,

JJ Parker  7:17  
some stuff going on with our kids? And, and, you know, there's always lots of stuff going on with war. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  7:24  
yeah. You know, I think people are getting a little more comfortable talking about self care as it relates to mental health with this pandemic. I really feel like you're seeing, you know, like, we had a, we have a corporate sponsor, obviously, that was into that did this for their employees. But you're seeing a lot more of that to where people are now talking about taking care of your mental health. And that's what this is. It's it's self care. But I think it's so hard for I mean, it is for me to be able to focus on that, even though we're in the self awareness journey. We talk about it every week. We're working on stuff all the time. It's still hard for me to admit, if I'm not mentally feeling good. It's still hard for me to admit it to me. No one else just even to me. Funny. Yeah.

JJ Parker  8:12  
Well, let's think about that. So I feel like it's easier for my brain to recognize maybe things that are happening with my body. Yeah. Oh, I'm hungry. Oh, hired, right. Oh, I'm feeling sluggish. So not probably not exercising, right. But I feel like it's harder for your brain to recognize things that are going on at site itself.

Melissa Albers  8:36  
Definitely. Well, I think because there's a certain amount of defensiveness or protectiveness that we put on ourselves against ourselves to, you know, it's like, you start to feel like kind of heavier and you don't feel great. And your your part of your brain says, Hey, by the way, you're really not. You're really not feeling very good mentally. And then it's like another part of you goes, Yes, I'm fine. I don't say anything. Don't say that. I'm okay. I can. Why Why would Why would you think that I can power through, it's been worse.

JJ Parker  9:15  
Well, the other super interesting thing, and we've talked about this in other aspects is that you can you can notice that in someone else you can tell when someone else Yeah. Is like mentally fatigued. Yeah. And and need some time. Yeah, but it's hard for them to recognize it in themselves.

Melissa Albers  9:37  
Yeah, for sure.

JJ Parker  9:38  
For sure. So you say, JJ, you seem pretty stressed out. You should go take some time. And my response is always like, No, I'm fine. I'm fine. It's fine. Let's go. Yeah, yeah. I'm so fine. In fact, let's do more projects.

Melissa Albers  9:54  
Let's start something new.

JJ Parker  9:59  
Yeah, I But that is interesting. Like you can I mean, you walk around and they're like, oh, that you know, you can, you could It's funny how you can tell the mental state of somebody, often right easier than they can tell it in themselves. Right?

Melissa Albers  10:10  
And and hindsight is always 2020 It's always easier to recap how you were feeling terrible afternoon, after you feel terrible. It's so hard to talk about how you're feeling when you feel terrible.

JJ Parker  10:24  
Let's talk about a couple of things that do that can set you off on a long, bad mental path, like, what are those things that are that that are beyond eat sleep and exercise? Because I think that's interesting to talk about that is obviously it's different. It's different for everybody. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  10:47  
But there's some commonalities in there too, though. Yeah. Like,

JJ Parker  10:53  
for me, obviously, if I get into too many projects, and I'm juggling too many things. That's not sustainable. And that usually unravels me. Yeah. After a while, like, Yeah, I just can't maintain that amount of energy output and, and work output for that. Yeah. So. So certainly like looking at what projects you're involved in, whether they're like work projects, or side projects, or, you know, home renovation, whatever they are, right? Yeah.

Melissa Albers  11:27  
Do you know for me what a major one is, and I actually just had this realization, this week, this week, I had this realization, what really gets me sideways, is if I don't have a good connection with someone on something. So like, it could be a single conversation. So if I'm having, let's say, let's say I'm having a coaching conversation, and I can sense how the person is feeling and what they're doing. And I can feel that disconnect, but I'm not able to connect with that person. Or they don't want to hear what I have to say. Or my energy gets like, Oh, I just, they need to hear they just really need to be able to hear this, I can see exactly where they are. But they don't want that because they're not ready. So like anytime that there's an interaction that it's not a super cohesive and connected interaction. I feel badly about that. It could be in professional, it could be at home, you know, in my home relationships. It sticks with me way longer than I think it sticks with most people.

JJ Parker  12:41  
Oh, that's interesting.

Melissa Albers  12:44  
Yeah. And then I'm so used to saying, Oh, no, it's fine. You know, yep. You're, you know, you're going, you know, everybody has their, you know, you have all these things that you say cuz you because it's really important for me that people that are around me feel good, that's really important to me. So I will, and I maybe get growing up. So

JJ Parker  13:00  
you're almost like, take that on. Like, if that's not working, you'll take that on as your Yep, my mobility problem and, and, and bring it with you.

Melissa Albers  13:10  
Yeah. And I think that that's always been something that I've done. But I think as I've gotten older, and as I'm learning more about myself, less and less does that happen. But every once in a while, if I'm energetically tired, or I'm not paying attention, I can pick up on something, and then it sits there. So I'll have several exchanges after you know, like, I'll go you know, have lunch, and then I'll run to target and I'll do all these things, but somewhere inside I just keep feeling this sort of little shakiness. That's the best way to describe it. And then if something at Target if somebody cuts me off, or takes the last paper towel roll last straw, then it's like you sob like, is that that little sticky, icky feeling is still in there, and it doesn't take much to add to it.

JJ Parker  13:56  
Mm hmm. Well, I'm definitely gonna not come across you and

Melissa Albers  14:02  
if they're low on paper towel.

JJ Parker  14:06  
But so people right, yeah, well, can your connection with people? Yeah. Or maybe just some people irritate us? Right. And if we have to deal with them? Yeah, all the time. Like, maybe we've got a co worker that we just really don't jive with. Yeah, right. Right. And that that could definitely cause that kind of stress. Yeah, over a long period of time. The other thing I think is interesting is a lot of some of the most of what we're talking about is like something that, you know, ends up building up over time. Right. Do you notice that? Totally. Yeah, it's totally that it feels like self care. And we just get to like a tipping point yet it happens over a period of time. Yeah. It's on like a trigger. It's like a long drawn out trigger. It is

Melissa Albers  14:59  
Yeah. But it is because that's how it like it builds. And there is like, I always say like where in your body do you feel stress or where in your body to heal when something's not, it doesn't feel right. And that's that piece right there, that's the self care piece is to really understand that feeling in your body. So like for me if I don't have a good exchange, or I'm tired, and so I'm taking more on feeling too dutiful or responsible. I it sits like in my chest, it just feels heavy. And then every time I'm talking with someone else, even though I'm acting totally fine on the outside, I'm functioning absolutely fine. But I can feel that and any little thing that's not favorable adds to it, it just starts feeling heavier and heavier until pretty soon I start getting kind of crabby at myself, like no one else may even notice on the outside. But these are just all the little processes inside that I'm well aware of, but just don't like to pay attention to.

JJ Parker  15:55  
Yeah, the other one I wrote down

Melissa Albers  15:59  
is old habits. Oh, that's interesting,

JJ Parker  16:03  
right? Like, like things you're doing that just aren't serving you anymore. And he is kinda don't want to do anymore. But there are habits. So you just keep doing them. And they just kind of like keep irritating you. Yeah, to the point where you're just kind of stressed out about it.

Melissa Albers  16:18  
You know, I love that. And I never even thought about that. But a lot of times in my coaching conversations, you know, people will start to build on their awareness, and they'll start changing certain ways that they're being they'll change how they're doing things. And then ultimately, like any new skill, you fall backwards and do your old way. So that's exactly right. Like they they go back to a habitual way of being or doing. And then you're exactly right, they get a lot

JJ Parker  16:43  
of like, that's why I always do it this way. Why am I doing it this way? Still, I'm really working on this. And I've tried to change but it's, you know, it's not working

Melissa Albers  16:51  
right. And almost a fit almost to the point where sometimes people don't even want to say it out loud, because they're afraid they're gonna just create it even more. Oh, my gosh, I totally forgot about that. That's a really good.

JJ Parker  17:02  
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, when we talked about habits have a few parts back, like, I think habits are fascinating. Yeah. Just because the way they creep in and form, you kind of don't really realize it, and then it's really hard to break them. Yeah. So kind of like on the, on the breaking end of a habit. You have to be mindful of self care, because you could get really negative and down on yourself, about not being able to change a habit. Right. Right. Right. But the fact is, is they're hard to change. So yeah, totally makes it hard on yourself.

Melissa Albers  17:40  
You know, the other thing too, is like, I think when people are practicing, or even thinking about the idea of self care, everybody has their own description, Dictionary of what self care means. And what I think is a lot of people make it bigger than it needs to be. I think people make self care, like a major hurdle. Like, oh, I need to stop doing all of these things. I need to start doing all of these things. And yet, I think practicing self care can be very subtle and very easy. As simple as saying, how is that feeling right now? Like, oh, I have this heavy feeling like we're like identified in my body where I feel that it's like, oh, my chest just feels heavy. And I just something isn't feeling right. practicing good. killed. Self Care could simply be something like me saying, why is that feeling like that? Like, where did that start? How long is how long has that been? And is there any way that I can just like, process that to understand it a little more? And literally, like how I just explained it, it took what 30 seconds. And that is practicing really, really good self care.

JJ Parker  18:53  
There's some things for me like that. When I was younger, I didn't didn't realize and was kind of like, with others almost like something's wrong with me with with just being an introvert. Right? Yeah, yeah, you've talked about that. Here's my my introvert self care that I didn't learn until I was older. was like, you know, for instance at work if we go to a trade show and I need to be on all day talking with people then we got to go out to dinner. Yeah, then we got to go out to the bar after you know, that being on for me all day talking with people is super draining. Yeah. And by the end of the day, I just like want to, like murder people.

Melissa Albers  19:37  
Exactly. And you've got several inches of

JJ Parker  19:39  
like a healthy Yeah. Which isn't a healthy way to respond. But what I realized is like, Okay, if I'm, if I'm going to be in that situation, I have to take a break between the tradeshow day and the dinner party or else I'm a colossal asked or in the dinner part. You Interesting. Yeah, right to like, go back to my hotel room, sit by myself for like, even 30 minutes. recharge, and then I can go out, right? So there's just these little self care habits that you can work into your day, right? Once you become aware of them. Right? Right, right. And even, even my wife knows that if I had, for instance, like a strategic planning day at work, right, that when I come home, what I don't want to do is sit and chat with her. Yeah, about that I even you know, she knows that I was like, you probably need to go do something by yourself for a little while, and then I can engage with you later. Right, which is super supportive of her. Yeah, that she knows that. I need that self care habit.

Melissa Albers  20:45  
Yeah. I think that's a really good way to support people that we love is recognizing what they need in their self care.

JJ Parker  20:52  
Yeah. And sometimes I know that she just needs to talk stuff out, right? And so I can just be a good listener, like that.

Melissa Albers  21:00  
Right? And that that's not easy. When you're introverted, either, it really isn't. Right? You're You know what, though, it also takes a level of confidence, self confidence, it takes a level of being secure in yourself to be able to help other people in their processes to

JJ Parker  21:17  
Yeah, yep. The other thing that we're gonna talk, talk about this next week is advocating for yourself, right. advocating for your own self care, right?

Melissa Albers  21:31  
Yeah, exactly. Right. And and again, we're talking about the subtle the subtleties of self care, emotionally meant mentally, not the physical pieces. Yeah. advocating for yourself mentally.

JJ Parker  21:45  
Yeah, I'm saying, Hey, you know, I've had a really long day, I just need a 20 minute break. Yeah. Right. or whatever it is, and not feeling bad that you need it. Right. That's the other interesting thing about self care that, that we should touch on is like, sometimes it feels selfish. Yeah. Right. Yeah. We talked about this on the first one, right? Like, it feels selfish. And certainly, like, eating better and sleeping more. You know, like you can, you can work those things in but some things like saying no to projects, right, that you really want to do, or that you're expected to do or interacting with people, right, who you think you should interact with? Yes. I'm saying No, exactly. Doesn't initially feel very good. Right, you know,

Melissa Albers  22:34  
feels like you're failing.

JJ Parker  22:35  
Yeah. So you've got a juxtaposition. Like, if I advocate for myself, and I say no to things, I feel like I'm failing, but it's in the service of self care to make me feel better.

Melissa Albers  22:48  
Yeah. I really liked this conversation, because when we had the conversation about self care, earlier, it was because it we were both experienced the lack of self care. And emotionally, we were not feeling good. I mean, we really weren't, and it was affecting everything. But I really like now that it's been two weeks or three weeks, I can't remember two weeks, I think. And we're talking about the same topic. But it's really in a different way. To me, it's like now we're talking about what we're actually feeling pretty good right now. So what can we learn from what we just went through, you know, the proactive approach of self care? Is, is such a valuable focus, especially when there's so many examples and so many reasons right now to not take care of yourself. You know, there's so many reasons, external reasons to put that to the wayside.

JJ Parker  23:41  
So, what do you think? What do you think we can do to like, stay in a healthy? Yeah. mental self self care? Yeah, like mode? Like, how do we stay? Yeah, there it is. It just go up and down? Do we just, I love my experiences. I just hit the wall, about once a year. You know, minded about self care, and then I work on it for a little

Melissa Albers  24:10  
while. And then you think, Oh, yeah, that was there. Oh, that was still there. I thought I took that down last time. You know, for me, I talk about this a lot. But I do it all the time is I noticed what I call the big waves versus the scallop waves. I got that analogy from my coach, Susan years ago, and I love it so much. You know, when you get really, really high, high, extremely happy, happy, happy are at the top of this huge tidal wave. And then ultimately, equal and opposite reactions occur, you can just be down at the very bottom underneath the undertow, and there's this a big space between the top and the bottom. And I think that our goal is to just operate with more scalped waves. When we sense we're starting to get you know, out of hand, like when we sense that we're starting to go down Be willing to care for yourself enough to even take your own emotional state like what's happening here? I think it because we're always You're right. We're human beings, we're always going to have waves always. And that's good. Like we're living, right? It's we want to participate in our life and have waves that's natural, but to be able to manage them in a way that they don't become so overwhelmingly big.

JJ Parker  25:25  

Melissa Albers  25:26  
takes a lot less energy. We're a lot happier. We're a lot more content and we can stay more centered. That's at least how I feel. Got it.

JJ Parker  25:35  
So me riding around with my surfboard looking for the biggest waves to jump on. It's not the tactic. you suggest?

Melissa Albers  25:42  
I mean, maybe for fun once in a while. It's to remind yourself

JJ Parker  25:50  
Well, this is good. You know, I do like I do like when our podcasts and what the thing we talked about, is the thing that's really happening. Yeah, yeah, for us. Yeah, we obviously do that a lot. Because it's like, yeah, our journey too. And, and, boy, thinking back on the book project, and how our self awareness journey project got totally sideways, and it totally affected me. And it affected us in my relationship and all that stuff. Just swirl.

Melissa Albers  26:21  
Yeah, and you're being super time to leave me out of the mix. I was an absolute hot mess over that to bid book.

JJ Parker  26:32  
So another we're on the other side of that, and our energy is so different. You know, yesterday, yesterday, when we got together to to work out video stuff, it was just like the sky had opened up or something like blue sky had it was from like, storm clouds. It was just crazy.

Unknown Speaker  26:49  
It's very fun.

JJ Parker  26:51  
So yeah, don't underestimate those. Those other things, those projects, those jobs, those relationships, all those things that really affect your mental state and catch

Melissa Albers  27:02  
a wave dude, but don't make it a huge one. 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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