Self care is hugely important when you’re speaking up regularly in your business, your industry, in your domestic life, or at work. Without good self care practices, speaking up can be stressful, induce anxiety, and generally cause mental distress.
1. Make sure you’re supported
Support can look like a lot of different things.
Firstly, ensuring you have people around you who have your back no matter what, or people in your industry who are going through similar experiences, is critical. Having those relationships is going to make you happier anyway so this one is a bit of a no brainer. (Which incidentally, is why we offer live, mastermind rounds of A Visible Woman – so you can build those type of connections for life.)
Nutritionally – upping your game in this regard, provides you with so much support. The capacity you have to really be productive in the world is so dependant on feeling physically vibrant and healthy.
Or perhaps the support you have available to you right now is financial support – where you’re able to buy in the services you need to keep you healthy and at ease.
Or finally, you may have the support of time. If time is your biggest resource right now then give yourself the permission to luxuriate in it; read a chapter a day of your favourite book, go for long walks, have lovely long baths.
2. Give yourself permission to say no and disconnect
Once you’re feeling supported, be sure to get comfortable saying no.
Once you’re known for a topic, people expect you to express an opinion about anything related to it. All. The. Time. This is then fed by your own ego and/or fears where (i) you’re happy to be asked and seen as the expert so end up reaching for opinions even when you don’t have them, and/or (ii) you’re driven by the fear that sounds like this; ‘If I don’t express an opinion this time, perhaps they’ll never ask me again.’
Having the confidence to say, ‘I’m not going to express an opinion this time’ is something that takes a level of self confidence and surety which must be built over time.
Also, if you’re working in the online space it’s hugely important to remember to give yourself permission to disconnect. To not be online 24/7. Particularly after traumatic personal, community, or global events, it’s so important to spend time with loved ones, reaching for connection rather than feeling alone and in despair.
It’s important to note that guilt can often arise when making this choice. We can feel that it’s unfair for us to be able to take that time for ourselves when others aren’t able. We can start to over-identify with the victims and find ourselves stressed out but not actually helping them in any way.
Better to take the time to care for yourself and when you’re feeling less distraught, re-engage from a place of purposefulness. This will see you saying different words, making a different contribution to the conversation, and acting as a more effective participant.
3. Always clear whatever is triggering you
If you’re being triggered by the comments that are coming through on a video or post of yours, then it’s imperative you know what it looks like when you’re triggered and that you know how to work through that. This is something we work on in much more detail in A Visible Woman which is opening next month.
Recognising what it looks like when you’re triggered is hugely important. When you’re triggered you’ll feel it in your body. You’ll be tense or feel anxious or stressed. Your brain will be going round and round in circles, having conversations with people in your head.
Cleaning that out is essential. Triggered conversations never get people anywhere. They don’t advance connection and understanding and they waste a lot of time. So it’s important not only to recognise when you’re triggered, but to know what to do with it. Every School of Visibility class will teach you that, and you will do a deep dive into that in A Visible Woman if you choose to join us next month.
The other thing is to build resilience. Resilience for difficult conversations. For criticism, for debate and discussion. The fears we carry as women vis-a-vis upsetting other people is one of the key challenges to building resilience for this.
I’m not talking here about building a resilience so that you can stay in a state of constantly arguing with people. I’m talking about building resilience to disagreement. To not always being right and to understanding that people will often have opinions that are different from yours.
4. Establish (or re-establish boundaries)
Getting clear in yourself about the things you’re going to speak up about and the things you’re not going to speak up about is hugely important.
Similarly, establishing a routine around the times of day or the week you’re going to engage in particular types of conversation – online, on the telephone, with people you know that can drag you into long and/or controversial discussions – is imperative to maintaining good self care.
Perhaps you set aside one hour a day or one hour a week. The key is to not fall prey to other people’s conversational agendas to your own personal detriment, and/or to not fall into an unhealthy habit of losing yourself down a social media rabbit hole which leaves you feeling depleted, distressed, or angry at the world.
5. Stay in your lane
Just because you have the right to express yourself and have an opinion on a topic doesn’t mean it’s always wise to do so. There are so many half baked opinions being thrown around on social media and frankly, it wastes everyone’s time.
You can learn about a topic by continually talking and engaging in debates with people and hopefully, if you’re lucky eventually coming to realise the gaps in your own knowledge, OR you can learn to listen. To participate respectfully in certain forums by consciously building your capacity to hear other people’s voices, rather than blundering your way through.
Knowing yourself well enough to know your lane, to know what it is you’re here to make a contribution to, and then allowing other people the space to make their contribution, is the only way to create a healthy, respectful community that we all enjoy being a part of.
So there’s a level of discernment we need to evolve into. And remembering that developing the capacity to listen is the key to becoming a resonant speaker is a key component of that. Because listening and speaking go hand in hand.
So they’re my five self care tips when you’re speaking up. Do you have other self care practices you’d love to suggest to others? If so, let us know over here. We’d love to hear from you.