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The Importance Of Self-Care In Transitions

Episode #638

Is self-care selfish?

How do you practice self-care?

If you’re feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, then start reflecting on your actions. Taking care of yourself is not selfish because it’s actually your responsibility to fill your own cup.

In this episode, Doug and Tim talk about why you should not be guilty of putting yourself first and how to be consistent with self-care so you can manage transitions in life.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey guys, welcome to The Powerful Man Show where we help married businessmen save their marriages without having to talk about it, get unstuck and gain clarity in their lives. As I like to say, life is too short for average. I’m your host, Doug Holt with my co-host, Tim, The Powerful Man, Matthews. Now let’s get this started.

Tim Matthews  00:20

If you’re taking care of yourself, it becomes easier to actually — yeah, the triggers may still come up to have a drink, but because you feel fuller, you feel less of a reliance on it, and because you’ve got those moments of space and time to reflect you can see the trigger. You don’t have to always buy into it. You don’t become reactive. So, self-care, especially during transition is incredibly important so you don’t become the victim to the transition.

Doug Holt  00:51

Hey, guys, welcome back to another show, The Powerful Man Show. We are in the transition. Tim and I are just getting back from Cuba and we’re happy to be here once again with you guys. Tim, how are you doing brother?

Tim Matthews  01:03

I’m doing well. Just got off a great call with the guys in the inner circle. It’s always a pleasure to be with those guys as you know. So, it went well. How about yourself?

Doug Holt  01:16

Good, good. I’m doing well also. I got a few things, irons in the fire as we all do. You know, as businessmen, as fathers, as husbands, especially when you get back from a two week trip there’s a lot going on. But right after this, I got a massage so I can’t complain.

Tim Matthews  01:31

Oh, nice. Nice, nice, nice.

Doug Holt  01:35

Speaking of that, the subject for today, or at least the theme of this next month, guys is going to be all about transitions. So, as we transition out of the season, if you will, of winter into a season of spring, this can be both literally, although it’s snowing outside my house, so I’m going to — our family’s going skiing tonight, can be a transitionary period, right? You can have seasons in your business where winter is the darkness, spring is growth and renewal coming through. But you can also have these seasons in your marriage. Winter can just be a dark time.

Now, these dark times can come in summer, they can come in fall. So, it’s not really as much about the actual date on a calendar, as you know, but it’s more about the seasonality of a transition. And so when we’re going out of winter, a very dark and dismal time and there’s a lot of great things about winter. Where I live, winter’s look forward to. But at the same time, when we think of winter, we want to talk about that darkness, that coldness, the kind of that heavy feeling of the season of winter, and transitioning into spring.

Now with today, Tim, what I want to talk about is how men can actually do this transition. And during this transition, going from a winter to a spring in their marriage or their business or their personal lives; what can they do in the area of self-care, and what does that mean? What does self-care mean to you?

Tim Matthews  02:58

Yeah, good question, great topic as well. Self-care means being able to meet my own needs. So, understanding what it is that I need and being able to do my best to give it to myself. We talk a lot in the movement about coming from a place of fullness, right? Filling your cup so that people get the best of you instead of the rest of you. I know when I didn’t used to be very good at self-care, I was always trying to pour from a cup that was always being emptied, quite frankly.

And it’s very easy in that place to then look for other people in your life, be it your partner, be it people at work, people around you to give you things that you’re not giving yourself. I know back then when I wasn’t looking after myself. Typically, the business owners we work with, I see similar patterns in them as well. They play not to lose, right, they go on the defense. And that shows up in negotiations, it shows up in the way they strategize, it shows up in their health, it shows up in everything. So, self-care is the opposite of that. It’s really understanding what I need, do my best to give it to myself, and as a result coming from a place of fullness and then being able to play to win.

Doug Holt  04:25

So, which is really interesting. So, I know a lot of guys that come through the movement or guys listening to this, Tim, struggle with this idea of self-care versus selfish, right? And they have this feeling of guilt and shame that comes over them when they start to take care of themselves. And truthfully, they haven’t done it in such a long time. Now most of these guys don’t even know what taking care of themselves means and that idea. So, when we think about a guy comes up, let’s just imagine a guy comes up to you in the movement or not, and he’s like, “Tim, yeah. That all sounds great. And I get that I need to fill my cup. And when I have an empty cup, I’m going to transition, I’m going to explode on other people around me.”

All the things that we know that happen when we as men have our cup empty, we go into DEER mode, which DEER is an acronym for those that are newer to the show for Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React. And when our cup is empty, we go into that DEER mode and usually we look around and be like why aren’t people filling me up, thus falling into a victimhood, if you will. So, at the same time, there’s this issue that guys go, okay, I know I need to fill my cup. That makes sense. But at the same time, I feel selfish if I go to the gym when the kids need to do something. Or if I book a massage for myself, and take an hour out of work, because I should be working, or I should be taking care of the kids or I should be XYZ. What would you say to that guy?

Tim Matthews  05:57

There’s a couple of things, right? I think the first thing is to get perspective. You’ve got to understand what you actually gain from the self-care. Take note of the pattern. Does it make you a better father? If so, how does it? Maybe it makes you more patient, maybe it makes you more playful, maybe it gives you more energy to be more firm. Does it make you a better husband? Again, if so, how? You said it on previous podcasts and you’ve said it really well, when you have spoken with Aaron about what it is you need. Like what is it — yeah, I need to go work out, you then follow up with, well, why? Because it makes me a better husband, or it makes me whatever, right? So, a lot of guys do struggle to do things for themselves. If you can’t do it for yourself, but you understand what it — how it impacts the people you love, then at least maybe you can begin to do it for them.

Doug Holt  06:51

Yeah, and that’s exactly right. When I do this, what I do — we’ll go into how to explain this to your partner in a little bit. But guys, what I want you to get out of this conversation is this feeling of guilt, right? Guilt that you should be doing something more is a deep rooted guilt in a lot of us guys, especially as entrepreneurs. We see ourselves as providers, not only providers for our families, but providers, for our staff, for our employees, and for our customers. And the idea that most of us have is we’ve got big shoulders, put the weight on my back, I can take it. You go ahead and relax, I gotcha. Because we do have these gifts or these talents, we do feel the burden is upon us. It’s both a blessing and a curse, to be a little smarter than the average person, be more risk averse than the average person. Actually being willing to take these risks is what I mean.

And then also, this idea that we’re able to form businesses, we’re able to build these bonds. If you’re listening to this show, it already tells me that you’re a man that is willing to better himself. You’re one of the 1% of the men out there, the leaders, what we call wolves, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce. And so it’s understandable to feel guilt when you actually put that on yourself. When you’re taking time for yourself there’s this feeling of guilt, because you feel like oh, wow, I should be answering all those emails. I should be tending to that client, or I shouldn’t be helping that employee or my wife, or my kids. Or things aren’t perfect in my body so therefore I should be working out more. Or whatever it may be for you.

And all that gets thrown on to this idea of this guilt and shame. Mostly coming from childhood because that’s where we form most of our lenses on life. When we start to feel guilt and shame about taking care of yourself, you get to ask yourself, if you’re not taking care of yourself, then whose responsibility is it? If the answer becomes your wife, which it has for a lot of men, unconsciously right, guys, I get it unconsciously, then that means for your wife, you are a burden, and you are just another child that she needs to take care of. And that is not a sexy way to go, guys.

Tim Matthews  09:01

Yeah. I think the victimhood is a really common trap. You see it in the language a lot of the guys have. It’s like looking for the wife to serve them. They’re looking for the wife to give them the answer. They’re looking — And as a result, they start to rely on everything outside of themselves, right? Be it money, work, caffeine, alcohol, porn, whatever it may be, they try and fill this void. And this is where we get into the five agonies, right? But without going into that, they try and fill that void with something outside of them. And it never works. And that just makes the guilt stack and the shame stack and it leads into this shame cycle of shame, sabotage, and sedation. And they know they’re avoiding the very thing they need to do for themselves and the external thing just isn’t ever going to work.

Doug Holt  09:55

And it’s true, right? And so as we go through transitions, guys, this becomes even more necessary, if you will. Whether your transition is going from a marriage that’s failing, like a lot of the men that enter the program to one that’s thriving, that’s still a transitionary period. Or a guy that I was talking to this morning, Tim, as I was waiting to get on this with you, he joined the program because he said, “Hey, look, it’s too late for my marriage. I don’t want to make the same mistakes twice.” And that was his story of why he joined the activation method. He wanted to better himself for that.

So, he’s in a transition of a winter of a relationship that has failed if not failing, but has failed essentially, from what he’s telling me to something that he’s looking at as spring. Where is the change is going to be? And when I was talking to him about his transition, and what he’s working on, one of the things a lot of men can do is just the Alpha Rise and Shine, or as we call it, the ARS. Get your ARS done. It’s a common thing you’ll hear guys in the brotherhood, which is our one year mastermind group for men that are invited in, that continue on with us after the activation method. These guys are all about the ARS, the Alpha Rise and shine, because they know that this consistency in this transition is key.

 So, in this transitionary period, making sure your Alpha Rise and Shine’s on point. What else are you doing though? What are the other things that you could be doing to show that you love yourself and care for yourself? So, one of the things that I think about Tim, when I think about for me, right, if I wanted to show somebody that I really loved them, that I really cared about them, and I wanted to show them on a regular basis, like a weekly basis, if you will, a daily or weekly take your pick, what would I do? What would I do to show them? And I’m not talking about talking to them, I’m not talking about the little things like I clean the gutters or whatever. A lot of us guys have acts of service as our love language, we like to do stuff for people.

But what’s something I would do above and beyond that? For me, it comes out to massage. A lot of guys do. I know for you it’s float tanks and the spa. Guys all have their different modalities. Some guys, they take themselves out to dinner each and every week, right? They actually go on a date, right? They’re like, hey, what I would do is I would take that person out to dinner. So, these guys, these grown ass men take themselves out to an amazing steak dinner.

The animal, his nickname is the animal, he showed a picture in the inner circle. His wife was sick, they’re supposed to have a date night and he turned lemons to lemonade, and made himself an amazing stay in steak, FES night and dinner. And how cool is that? How cool is it to have the confidence and assurance to sit with yourself, give yourself an amazing steak. He was watching a movie, having a great guy time with himself. What is it that you guys get to do in this transitionary period to honor your self-care?

Tim Matthews  12:52

Yeah. Typically in a transition, there’s going to be certain triggers that come up for you as well, right?

Doug Holt  12:57


Tim Matthews  12:57

As you move from one season to another, there’s going to be stories, triggers. And it’s incredibly important during that time to take those moments of solitude, if you will, moments of reflection, to be able to understand what’s going on. And that’s only going to happen when you take yourself off or you go for a massage or you go for a float tank or whatever it may be, when you spend some time by yourself. The guys often experience it in their ARS as well. But it’s really important to understand the inertia that’s coming up from within. That’s a form of self-care, right, because you can try and just push through the stories and use brute force but it takes energy. It takes effort.

And it’s far more tiring to ignore the stories that are coming up and the triggers that are going off than it is to just be with them and lean into them and recognize them and dissolve them. Which is a lot of what the guys that have been with us two, three, four years, they have the tools to be able to do that. It’s a constant reminder of getting them to obviously sit in that silence to be able to exercise that muscle because they’re great at it when they do it. And regardless, when you’re in that space of transition, and maybe your risk tolerance has been stretched a little bit. Maybe your comfort zone has been stretched a little bit. We always remind the guys it’s even more important to double down on the basics during times of uncertainty or transition.

Because it’s at those times when things like self-care become even more important. Because the desire to want to drink on an evening or the desire to want to do something, it’s easier to make allowances and excuses because oh well, I’m in a period of transition. Oh well, it’s because… And it’s logical. It makes sense. Right? But if you’re taking care of yourself, — yeah, the triggers may still come up to have a drink, but because you feel fuller, you feel less of a reliance on it, and because you’ve got those moments of space and time to reflect you can see the trigger. You don’t have to always buy into it. You don’t become reactive. This is where you said a moment ago about DEER. So, self-care, especially during transition is incredibly important so you don’t become a victim to the transition.

Doug Holt  15:29

Yeah, and that’s true. And most of you guys who are listening to this, you’re not going to be aware that you’re in a transition from a season, oftentimes. Hearing this, you might be like, “You know what, I’m going through that too.” We want to think about this, it could be business, it doesn’t have to be just your marriage or your relationship. Businesses go through the seasons as well. Businesses go through periods of winters when sales aren’t there or things are happening where mergers and acquisitions are on holding patterns, or whatever it may be for you in your business. And then you’re coming into the spring, the spring is renewal when you’re in a growth spurt, or you’re preparing for one. And that’s also something with self-care. It’s time to prepare, prepare for spring. The weather is going to be getting warmer, guys. You’re going to be taking your shirt off a lot more. Are you preparing for your physical body to be ready for this transition?

What about your mental state? Are you bettering yourself? Now, obviously, you’re with Tim and I right now digesting this content. But what else are you doing? Are you doubling down on something else to better yourself? I don’t know about you, but for me, I am really, really good at stuffing stuff down. Trying my best not to think about thinking, okay, I’ll deal with that later. Right. Not in the moment, not showing emotion, I’ll take care of that another time. And as we stuff stuff down, it’s going to come up and it can come up in spring. And when it comes up in spring, boys, it starts to become another winter pretty quickly. And what we want to do is extend spring. Spring gets to be a season of love and romance in the air. It’s my favorite season. Right? Every animal is out there having sex and then you can just feel in the air, wildflowers are out there.

Spring in business is almost like startup phase coming into it, the new ideas and innovations that are coming up. Spring in your fitness and your health is you’re trying something new. Maybe you’re doing CrossFit and you’ve never done it. Maybe you’re doing weight training, maybe you’re doing yoga, maybe you’re doing animal flow. Whatever it is, you’re trying something new. But with your self-care, what is it you can do to take care of yourself? Me, I’ll be 46 this month, Tim. And so adding massages as a regular basis, as a guy that works out, it’s probably a pretty good idea. My body’s getting pretty stiff, as much as I hate to admit that. Things don’t move quite the way they used to.

And so I’m going to add more self-care to this machine, this body that I’ve been given, been blessed with, I’m going to add more self-care to that. I have a PT session on Thursday. Again, more self-care, making sure that my body becomes the machine that carries my soul, my brain or whatever you want to call it, it carries this thing and is finely tuned. I’m going to take care of it just as I would take care of a classic car.

You know, when you and I were in Cuba, we had the whole idea that we were driving around in all these amazing classic cars. And in these classic cars as we were driving around, one thing the Cuban people always had to do is take great care of these cars, right? They didn’t have parts to just repair things. They had to consistently take care of these cars and that is a really important thing. How are you taking care of your body?

Tim Matthews  18:27

Yeah. I was in the gym this morning and obviously, we’ve been in Cuba like you said for two weeks, and naturally didn’t get to work out as much as I would do when I’m at home because obviously the environment, being with the guys, going through work with them, so on and so forth. So, whenever I come back after being away, the first week back I tend to just take it a little bit lighter in comparison to me working out before I went away, just to make sure I don’t injure myself essentially. And I’m sat there waiting just to go on the bench for the bench press and there’s this young kid on it. And my God, this guy was just benching. I think he was doing 120 kilos and he was a young guy. And I was watching and asked him if I could jump in. I got to jump in, I had to take the weights off because I was warming up. And I was just — I could feel my elbow at the light weight for me warming up as well. I think I had 60 kilos on there just doing a few reps to loosen up.

And then I put an extra 20 on, so I had about 80 kilos on there. I could feel my elbows still. It was a great comparison. I was thinking back to being his age and just like jumping on. I would have lifted that weight, no problem after being away. But now, you just have to do it a little bit differently. I have to take care of my body if I want to play the game of longevity, be able to actually continue to improve my strength? It’s a form of self-care, me being able to shelve my ego and not try and compete with that young kid. But instead take the weights off and just be there with my Theraband warming up my rotator cuffs and all that stuff. But yeah, it was a form of self-care. I chose to do it because otherwise, don’t do it, it’s easier to get injured. And as a result, it puts me out of the game.

Doug Holt  20:22

Yeah, it’s always funny when I do my Theraband exercises, you feel like such a wimp. I was doing them in Cuba there and the trainer’s came up to me and were complimenting me the best they can in broken English. “Oh, that’s a really hard exercise,” which is kind of cool because you feel better, right, about doing that. You had guys throwing around weights and here I am with a Theraband because I have a torn tendon.

But anyway, as we go through it, you’re exactly right. We take a little bit more time. And these transitions, it’s important too, guys. Give yourself grace. Give yourself grace. And that’s where self-care can really come in is by giving yourself the grace, giving yourself the grace within this transition to fully embrace and love yourself and realize, hey, I’m in a transition this is just a season. And here’s the great thing about seasons, guys, they change. Winter doesn’t last forever. Summer, spring, fall, autumn, whatever you want to call it, they don’t last forever. Good and bad, right? But they never last forever, so you’re always preparing.

At the end of this, when we think about it for your transition for your self-care, think about what you can do in this transition for yourself. What can you do today? What I’m going to challenge you guys to do is do what I did. I picked massage. So, I booked a massage. It’s a new person. Right? I’m trying that out right after we’re done with this podcast, I’m going to jump on in and do a 90 minute massage. And if she’s great, then I’m going to book one every single week for after the podcast so I can be refreshed and renewed.

I’m going back into CrossFit after four months off, almost five months off now that I think about it. So, boy, I’m a little nervous to be honest. And my body is going to be taking a beating. And I’m going to love it. I’m going to love it. I love that competition. I love working hard. It’s part of who I am and it’s part of what fills my cup. Tim, any parting words for the gentlemen?

Tim Matthews  22:12

Yeah. When you say a spa, go for a massage, you’ve got this thing in your mind that I go to the spa and I don’t want you to think [inaudible 00:22:18] but it’s just massage. I just want a point of clarification [inaudible 00:22:23].

Doug Holt  22:25

Massage, I love the way you say it. It sounds much more official when I say it. Well, awesome. As always, Tim, I appreciate your insights. Gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Remember, we’re in your corner. We’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.