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Undeterred: Self-Care Amidst Chaos

Updated: Jul 6

I am an early riser. Even when I am the only human in the house, I crave those quiet moments before the house wakes up—usually around four in the morning. It is like my little haven. During this time, I meditate, express my gratitude, say affirmations, journal, and set intentions for the day.

These routines are the ultimate expression of my primary love language, quality time—with and for myself.

I care for myself this way because as soon as I open my bedroom door, I feel like I am stepping into Narnia—the chaotic battlefield parts, not the serene ones. There are meetings to attend, clients to see, board meetings that all seem to fall on the same day, projects that require fine-tuning, and these days, those pesky logistics I have been writing about regarding relocation. Not to mention animals who require food, walks, and potty breaks.

Most days, I greet this chaotic scene with a bright smile, feeling grateful to the heavens above for the work I get to do and the magical companionship of these furry creatures. But then there are those days—oh, those days—when I stumble upon a puddle of cat vomit outside my bedroom door, barefoot, no less, or mistakenly delete a 60-page document I had been working on for over a week, losing it forever and having to start all over.

In those moments, all the zen I have cultivated evaporates instantly, and I must find a way to return to my center.

A Different Set of Circumstances

You might have a different set of circumstances. Maybe you have young kids or adults who depend on you to fulfill their every need. Perhaps you are a parent to teenagers, and to you, I say, this too shall pass—I love teenagers, but do not miss those years when my three kids were at that developmental stage.

You might hold a job outside the house, or your job might be raising a family as a stay-at-home parent. Or you might be doing all of the above while returning to school and looking for career advancement.

Being there, done that, all of that.


As a young mother and wife, I remember telling my then-husband that my happiness was critical to our children's happiness. I did not have the education, experience, and knowledge I have today and could not articulate why. Still, I always knew how vital a caretaker's happiness is in creating the conditions for the happiness of others. He never understood the concept. Hence, the title of "then-husband".

I have learned to give from the overflow—putting myself first. My happiness and well-being will create the overflow that will bring joy to those I love. Yet, this week, I have struggled to stay the course.

I invite you to read on as I reconnect with my breath. Together, let's explore and create space for self-care amid our unique conditions.

Give From The Overflow

Taking care of ourselves first sets the tone for creating magic in our lives. It tells our brains and those we serve that we are essential. Giving from the overflow means:

Prioritizing Self-Care

As you read above, my morning ritual is about going within before stepping out into the rest of my house and the world.

For years, I have stopped for a massage every Friday after work. I turn off my phones (yep, two) and go in. They call me by my name when I walk in, no matter what city I have lived in. That's how devoted I am to this element of my self-care routine.

When I could not afford a complete massage, I opted for reflexology. All I wanted was to train my brain to recognize the importance of actively caring for myself and, in the process, create the need and want for more.

But that is me. Let's talk about you.

I feel as if I am hearing you complain. I get it. You are super busy and broke; your wants and needs are inexistent because you must fulfill those of others first. Your well is dry.

Consider this: by understanding your needs and creating space for them, you are creating the conditions for everyone in your life to become the best version of themselves. Maybe you are in a position of influence where showing up and demonstrating healthy self-care and boundaries benefits everyone around you. And how awesome would it be for your kids to learn self-regulation and self-care from the master that is you?

What's that? Money is tight these days? The air we breathe is free. Take a few deep breaths and tune into your body for 30 seconds. There you have it—cheap, short, and to the point: self-care.

Do you need a vacation but cannot afford it? Create a spa in your bathroom and declare Spa Tuesday instead of Taco Tuesday. Why wait until the weekend? You are stressed out today.

If a facial mask from Walmart is all you can afford, get it. While you are at it, get a hair mask, bath salts, and some tea lights. Depending on where you live, you are looking at $6 or $8 in total. I also get it if you cannot afford even that amount of money for those items.

What's in your pantry? If you go on YouTube or Pinterest and look for homemade spa ideas, you will be amazed by what you can create with a couple of tablespoons of raw sugar and honey.

Become unavailable to your family for 30 minutes. If that is impossible, slap the masks on them (gently, please), make it a family spa day, and make some hilarious memories.

Enjoying Your Days Off

A few years ago, a manager in one of my teams reported me to human resources because I would not support her decision to call me about work on her days off. I lack the imagination to make this up.

I did it because rest is vital in pursuing top performance. By inviting this person to enjoy her time off, I asked her to show up at her best, rested, and ready to tackle our mountain of work. I did not doubt the quality of her work until her calls about things she "forgot to mention" became the norm and not the exception. Her behavior signaled more significant problems.

Also, you have sick and personal days if you are employed with benefits. Take one or two, take the kids to school, and stay home watching movies. If you feel guilty for these transgressions, pray for self-forgiveness and let it go. If you are a responsible parent, employee, and human being, nobody will care about these perceived transgressions but yourself, hence the self-forgiveness.

If you are a leader or manager, set the example for your team that taking some time off is not only okay but also a requirement of the job and being on your team. These simple practices will replenish your cup and, in time, create the necessary overflow for you to give to others.

A Recent Example

Nothing happens without you. Be present for your needs, place them front and center, and share them with people who care about you.

I recently led a team of female managers and had a team meeting every Tuesday to discuss the state of the projects, their needs, and the staffing problems they were facing.

On this particular Tuesday, true to form, I had my agenda and notebook in front of me and was ready to go right into business. While we always had a couple of minutes for check-in during each meeting, this time around, I asked, "Tell me how you are really doing."

I will only say that that day, tears rolled down all their faces as guilt and raw emotions found expression. None of them had maintained their commitments to their kids due to being so busy at work. They were all at a breaking point. Their desire to do right by me and the projects had taken priority over their physical and emotional well-being.

Right there and then, I sent them all home to their families. They had team members who could take over what was left to do that day. The following day, they all arrived smiling, sharing tales of their time with their kids the day before.

Seeing how putting the agenda aside and being human with them positively affected their lives and our relationship was amazing. But why did they wait for permission to take care of themselves? You will have to ask them.

If I were to take a shot at guessing, I would say they were deterred by fear of appearing weak, uncommitted, and frail. Whereas, from where I was sitting, their tears and vulnerability made them even more valuable to me and the company.

Be Undeterred in Your Self-Care

Show up for yourself, dear sojourner. It is easier than we make it to be. Be undeterred about your love and care of yourself, and train others to recognize your divine right to do so. Lead by example, especially your kids. Show them that being a responsible adult also means being loving, kind, and present with oneself.

Tell me, how do you take care of yourself?

Until I see you again on these pages or a discovery call, be safe, my dear sojourner.

Neidy Lozada, MATP, ATCC, CSIC, is an adaptive integrative and spiritual integration coach. She brings over twenty years of experience in transpersonal practices, coaching, and business to her work with individuals from all over the globe. She founded Soulful Sojourners following her long-held dream of building a company to provide top-notch coaching services to women, men, and organizations undergoing a profound transformational process. Neidy continues to serve non-profit organizations in the Bay Area through her work as a board member. She is a proud mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and devoted caretaker of furry companions.

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Mar 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I laughed out loud (cat sick!) at points during this thoughtfully written blog, and also felt the heart pangs when reading about your female managers who were at breaking point and in tears. I feel so many live this way as society doesn't encourage us to take care of and express our needs. Thank you for encouraging us all to fill up our well first. Emily

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