4 Ways You can Replace Self-Blame with Self-Care

4 Ways You can Replace Self-Blame with Self-Care

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from a negative force. It’s your ability to adapt in a positive way to difficult situations. We are all wired for self-preservation. Our senses warn us of danger. Our bodies fight off disease and infection. And our beautiful minds protect us from harm with ways of coping such as denial and repression. Why then do we hear that internal “bad news” radio of ours, that seems to be stuck on the self-blame frequency? And what do we do about it to take better care of ourselves?

Blaming negative events on ourselves undermines our mental and physical health. It’s linked to depression, guilt, shame and increased cortisol production, which sends our stress levels through the roof. There has been a recent push to take greater self-care and build resiliency amongst our children and ourselves. But how do we do that? Here are four simple and practical ways to reverse the effects of self-blame.

  • Work, Work, Work, Work, Work – said by my girl, Rihanna. 

You know you are a damn good professional/stay at home parent. You also tell yourself you got there through hard work and dedication to your career. The only thing is, with excessive and compulsive working in today’s world, that’s never enough. This makes you believe you’re not enough. And you cut yourself no slack because of it. You need to take a break to decompress and do your job well. Being well rested and refilling your tank allows you to get the job done with passion and energy. Not burnout and frustration. Bottom line: take a break. What you’ve done is good enough for today. Read: You are good enough.

  • Practice gratitude.

This needs to be at the top of everyone’s to-do list for self-care. Choose a good time to reflect on the three things you are grateful for each day. This stops any self-blame right in its tracks. One way to bring this into your daily life is to write in a journal. There are apps that can help to find space for gratitude in busy days (such as Grid Diary). There is an abundance of research that has found gratitude has a remarkable capacity to rewire the brain in positive ways.

  • Blame yourself for the good too.

Be aware of your language as it has such a powerful effect on your life. Replace “I should” with “I could” and feel empowered by the choices you have over your own decisions. ‘Blame yourself’ for the good that happens in your life too, instead of only the bad. Caught yourself blaming your child’s anxiety on being a bad parent? Counteract that by ‘blaming’ her caring personality on your good genes.

  • Turn Down the volume on your “bad news” radio.

It can be difficult to take care of yourself and others around you when you have that negative self-talk or “bad news” radio playing in the background. So let’s settle this: you can lose your patience and still be a good parent and life partner, right? Right. Similarly, you can still have that bad news radio playing and do an amazing job of life at the same time. Your job is to turn down the volume, not to switch it off. We all struggle with our own inner voice sometimes. It’s normal and part of what makes us human. Learn how to turn down the volume: be mindful, be aware of your inner voice and let it know you are in charge. Tell if off out loud, “No thank you, inner voice. I have no space for you right now. I have more important things to focus on.”

Build resiliency by fighting off your own inner voice and become a more confident parent or caregiver right away! Self-blame can have huge effects on your mental and physical health. It can wreak havoc in your daily life making self-care almost impossible to do. Take care of you, not only for yourself, but for your family too.

[irp posts=”8603″ name=”5 Reasons Your Child Craves Boundaries (by Carla Buck)”]


About the Author: Carla Buck

Carla Buck, M.A., is a writer, therapist and global traveler having traveled to more than 80 countries worldwide. She has experience working with children and parents all over the world, having lived, worked and volunteered in Africa, North America, Europe and the Middle East. Carla is the creator of Warrior Brain, helping empower parents and care-givers with simple and practical ways to confidently raise secure and calm children.

You can visit her website and learn more at www.warriorbrain.com or join the Warrior Brain Parenting community on Facebook.

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One of our rituals was in the week before Christmas, we’d go shopping and each kiddo would choose a keepsake decoration for the tree. This would forever be their decoration. To make sure we’d remember who owned what (a year is a long time!) I wrote their name and year on the box. The idea is that when they leave home, they’ll have a collection of special decorations for their own tree, plump with throwbacks (‘Oh I remember when we bought this!).

Then of course there was Christmas morning. Santa would leave a note on the table and bootprints on the front path, which smelled remarkably like talcum powder. So magical the way the snow was under the boot and never melted, even in an Australian summer! But that’s the magic of Christmas, right?!

We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas magical. Rituals can make this easier. They get the special memories, you get to make the ‘magic’ without having to come up with something new and different each year.

It’s very likely that there will already be Christmas rituals happening in your family, even if you don’t realise it. Ask them what they remember most, or what they loved most about last Christmas, aside from the presents.

They might surprise you with things you’d completely forgotten about, or which at the time didn’t seem to be a biggie. It can be the simplest things. Maybe they loved the way they were allowed to have ice-cream with pancakes at breakfast last Christmas. (Ice-cream at breakfast?! Told you Christmas was magical!!). 

If it’s what they remember, and if it lights them up, let it become a ‘thing’. Maybe they loved the magic ‘neverending carrot’ sprinkles you put on the scrawny carrot you found in the vege drawer (remembering reindeer groceries can be so hard sometimes!)

You’d be surprised what they find special. It doesn’t have to be big to feel magical.

What are your Christmas rituals? Let’s share ideas in the comments.♥️
We're having a sale! For a limited time, books and plushies are 25% off. 

Because sales are the best, and Christmas is the best, and helping kiddos find their brave is the very best of all! So, to celebrate the end of the year (because truly, it's been a year hasn't it), and to help you settle brave hearts for next year, or night times, or separations, or, you know, all the things, we're taking 25% off books and plushies in the Hey Sigmund shop.

There's no need to enter a code. The books and bundles are already marked with their special sale prices. You'll find them all there - plushies, books, bundles - doing shopping cartwheels, beside themselves excited about helping your young ones feel bigger than anxiety, and shimmy on to brave. 
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It can feel as though the only way to strengthen them against their anxiety is to make sure they have nothing to worry about, but when their worries are real this might not happen quickly. 

Instead, we need to focus on helping them know that even though those worries are there, they will be okay. ‘Not worrying’ isn’t the antidote to anxiety, trust is. This will start with trust in you and your belief that they will be okay, and trust in your reaction if things don’t go to plan. Eventually, as they grow this will expand into trust in themselves and their own capacity to find their way through challenges to a place of hope and strength. 
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Strong steady breathing will reverse the fight or flight physiology that causes nausea, butterflies, or sick or sore tummies during anxiety. BUT telling an anxious brain to take a strong steady breath will potentially make anxiety worse unless strong steady breathing feels familiar. Practising during calm times will make it familiar. 

During anxiety we’re dealing with their amygdala, and it wants short shallow breathing to conserve oxygen. It doesn’t want strong steady breathing and will work hard to resist this. 

An anxious brain is a busy brain and it will be less able to do anything unfamiliar. A few minutes of strong steady breathing each day will set up a strong neural pathway to make strong breathing more automatic and accessible during anxiety. 

In the meantime though, you can do it for them. This is the magic of co-regulation. When you do strong steady breathing during their anxiety, it will calm your nervous system which will eventually calm theirs. You will catch their anxiety, and this will feed into their anxiety. Your strong steady breathing is the circuit breaker. They will catch your anxiety, but they will also catch your calm. Don’t worry if this takes a few minutes (and maybe a few more after that). Anxious brains are strong, powerful, beautiful brains working hard to protect. Breathe and be with. This will open the way for that distressed young nervous system to find its way home. And you don’t need to do more than that.♥️
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Needs and behaviour can get tangled up and treated as one. When you can, separate the need from the behaviour. Give voice to the need - let it find a way to breathe - and redirect the behaviour. 

The need might always be clear, especially if it’s being smothered by angry shouting words. If we stifle the behaviour without acknowledging the need, the need stays hungry. Help usher it into the light by making it clear that you’re ready to receive it. Then wait. Wait for the big behaviour to ease, for bodies to calm, and angry voices to soften - but keep the way to you open. ‘You’re a great kid and I know you know that behaviour wasn’t okay. Talk to me about what’s happening for you.’

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