When that wave of anxiety and uncertainty hits. For the adventurous, it’s time to test the noble steed’s true endurance, and for others, it’s an experience they’ve never endured (besides, who let’s there tank get that low? Just between you and I though, I am TOTALLY the first.)
WARNING: If you haven’t read the earlier post about sustaining self, then the next part is going to sound SUPER funky. But don’t blame me if you get weirded out. I warned you.
Putting ourselves in the driver’s seat for a moment. I want you to imagine that you are like a ‘car’. Rather than one fuel tank, you have 4. These 4 tanks are made up of the different aspects of ourselves: body, mind, soul and spirit. I went into detail about what each of these are in the previous blog post, which you can read more about here.
With that said, looking at the below image, we can see that some tanks are fuller (grey area) than others. We can see that the mental & emotional tanks are high, and spiritual & physical tanks quite low. The levels of each of these tanks demonstrate what our overall health is, and where we may be lacking. As I mentioned in the previous post, I love using this tool to gain an idea of how I’m actually doing. In fact, I love it so much, my morning and evening routine is based around filling each tank, because as we all know, tanks can fluctuate.
In reality, what this could look like, could be a person being stuck more in their head, as they attempt to analyse or overthink (mental) or feel a range of different emotions (emotional). Take for example the starting stages of a romantic relationship. Emotions are high (“do they like me, do they not” – high emotional), overthinking every interaction (high mental), potentially limiting exercise and reverting back to poor eating habits (low physical), self-belief and self-assurance drops (low spiritual). To counteract the imbalance, this person spends more time with friends/loved ones (social) as they navigate the uncertainty of the situation. With that in mind, let’s explore how we can each use this tool to stabilise and fill ourselves up.
What this image could be communicating with this particular person, is that they feel more stuck in their head, and could be analysing overthinking (mental). This is could be assumed because of the higher levels in tanks emotional & mental tanks.
In fact, looking at this, it could be reflecting the starting stages of a new romantic relationship. Emotions are high (“do they like me, do they not” – high emotional), overthinking every interaction (high mental), potentially limiting exercise and reverting back to poor eating habits (low physical), self-belief and self-assurance drops (low spiritual). To counteract the imbalance, this person spends more time with friends/loved ones (medium social) as they navigate the uncertainty of the situation. With that in mind, let’s explore how we can each use this tool to stabilise and moderate the messages our own bodies are communicating to us.
When should I use this tool? (great question you fine fox!)
It can vary. For myself, I mentally do it every morning as a way to prepare for the day ahead. It has been a great way to guarantee I will be getting rest and pausing in my day (as I learnt earlier this year, mentally I love the go-go-go lifestyle, but all the other ‘tanks’ don’t.)
I can’t recommend more highly, taking the time to stop and intentionally focus on this, especially for the first few times of using the tool.
With that said, how should I use this tool?
This is where it gets fun.
Step 1: Block out 15 mins of your day (today/tomorrow) where you can intentionally focus on this – if you’ve made it this far into the post, then taking time after reading this literary ‘masterpiece’, would be a great time to do it.
Step 2: Print off the template below or simply draw it out on a blank sheet of paper.
Step 3: Take 5 seconds to stop/relax and go through each ‘tank’. Colour in where each level is for you, right here, right now, today – not where you think it would be based on yesterday/tomorrow.
Step 4: Find the tank with the ‘lowest’ level (if there is one).
Step 5: Using the self-care tool from last week (also a downloadable PDF below) find the section that matches with your lowest ‘tank’ (eg: physical tank – physical self-care wheel etc.)
Step 6: Choose 3 things on the self-care wheel that just sound like the most dreamy and refreshing thing to do right now.
Step 7: Of those 3, choose one, that you are going to do this week (yes THIS upcoming week – choosing a trip away to Fiji make not work practically right now, BUT stopping to look up flights might be just as energising).
Step 8: Pull out your diary/calendar/alarm, whatever you use to block out time in your week with the 1 self-care activity (and be sure to put this in something that you will actually look at/use on a regular/daily basis).
Step 9: Choose a minimum of 1 hour this week to do that particular activity and put it in your diary. No excuses. We each have 168 hours a week, of that a large portion is sleep and work – however if you don’t even have an hour to stop and take time for you, it makes this tool even more valuable to you.
Step 10: Block out 15 minutes next week, where you’ll come back and repeat this brief exercise (to get into the rhythm of it, I highly recommend doing it each week.)