In a recent grounded theory study of participant interviews we found six key areas of impact to focus on:
One of the first steps in "getting to calm" is to have self-care resources in our pocket that we can reach in and grab quickly. In the Stealing Minutes workshops, and soon the book as well, you can learn effective techniques that help bring us back from escalated or flooded states to a level where we have more choices available to us. Participants often report that getting back just a little bit "from the edge of anxiety" increases the likelihood of getting all the way to calm. This is why part of the Stealing Minutes Toolkit is focused on practices that are the most likely to be available during our most challenging times. These include mostly breath and movement-based exercises.
Can you fail self-care? Apparently, in today's world anything is possible. Many participants have reported feeling like they "failed" yoga, mindfulness, tai chi and other traditions due to a variety of reasons such as time, teaching styles, complexity of the material and expectations around "doing it right." Many people have shared their experience with the stress of having to take time from their personal lives to attend to self-care due to busy work environments. With family and personal time at such a low already, Stealing Minutes is focusing on how to bring some calm, resilience, and stress reduction into your day with just 3-5 minutes here and there between meetings or other activities. Intra-day self-care practices are a key component of the Stealing Minutes Toolkit.
Responding to Today's Excessive Stress & Anxiety
Once we realized as a group that the Stealing Minutes materials and approach were having a significant and positive impact on us all, we then wondered why it was so helpful in the first place. One of the most common answers is that is opened a door for participants to create their own story about self-care and to develop richer and more personal understandings of their relationship to well-being. This was done partly through keeping the self-care practices as simple and accessible as possible while facilitating dialogue about each person's experiences with the practices. Doing all that with a collaborative and playful spirit where "you can't do it wrong" helped us avoid "failing self-care." In the process, the Stealing Minutes approach has been shaped and improved by the many people who have shared in the journey to better living through re-thinking our approach to self-care.