Text by Ramona Kossowan, Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach, Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner, and Fitness Trainer

Photos by Claudia Tecuceanu, Creative Portrait Photographer

You’ve heard the holiday single “He’s making a list…checking it twice…”, right?

I bet you’re juggling some lists of your own this month between work, family and extra holiday commitments. Just running out for groceries requires skillful planning to avoid peak crowd times so you can grab your milk and bread without becoming a Grinch!

I often separate my never-ending to-do list into two parts.

The “nice to haves” and the “must haves” are separated so I keep focused on my top priorities. If I have any extra time or energy, then I’ll tackle the “nice to have” list.

The “nice to haves” take a back seat until the “must haves” are taken care of.

Do you do something like this?

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I have a question for you, hard working women.

Are YOU on the list at all? By this I mean, is your self care considered in your priorities?

Is your wellbeing on the “nice to have” or the non-negotiable “must have” list? 

As a woman, you’ve likely received the conditioning that a “good girl” or “good woman” centers others’ comfort first, and you’re the side dish.

Your childhood experience may have reinforced that, with the pressure to please, placate, be an emotional caretaker or suppress your will when it resulted in pushback or exclusion. 

Here’s a good way to tell, if you’re not sure how to answer that question.

  • You often feel guilty, resentful or in some way not good enough.
  • Your body is an afterthought, other than what’s necessary to sustain life (maybe even then debatable).
  • You’re not consistently moving toward what you deeply desire. Some women find this uncomfortable, or they have a hard time even getting clear on what they truly want vs what’s expected of them.
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Does this resonate with you?

I love to help women turn this around and this is exactly why I wrote this self-love guide series.

How do you do that? 

How do you energize your body, empower yourself emotionally, lift the fog of survival mode and truly revitalize your life?

Guess what, it doesn’t necessarily start with strategy, goals and action steps. 

HUH? 

Isn’t that what you’ve been told? Set the goals, make a plan, and go-go-go?

Truth is, if you’re still having a hard time making your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing a non-negotiable priority, the action steps need to come AFTER step 1.

Trying harder is not the answer.

At least not at this point. There’s an unconscious pattern happening, and it’s pointing to an opportunity to HEAL vs TRY HARDER. I love helping women heal years or decades of self-neglect, with an inside-out approach that’s like a breath of fresh air.

As a trauma coach, I know that feeling safe is fundamental to healing. Your body needs safe, sustainable actions that you can build upon over time vs an “all-or-nothing” guilt-driven approach that jacks your nervous system and cranks up the anxiety.

The first step in this guide to self-love is a change in perspective.

You matter, always, you amazing human.

Let’s use the metaphor of a toddler, ok?

If you’ve ever looked after or spent time with a toddler, you know their basic care needs to be met so they don’t fall apart and wreak havoc like the Tasmanian devil.

  • Sleep.
  • Hydration.
  • Nourishment.
  • Downtime.
  • Affection & connection.
  • Play.
  • Movement.

Are these needs being met for yourself on a consistent basis?

If not, you’re in survival mode. You’re not alone in this, and it comes up  * all * the * time * with my coaching clients, until we work with their nervous system and emotions to release this unconscious pattern.

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Even if you don’t have children, you’ve been a child.

The foundation of emotional safety is having caregivers attuned to your needs and responding lovingly. Women I’ve supported with the Gentle Trauma Release Method were often missing this, and it can result in compulsive need to caretake and perform at the expense of their relationship with themselves and their bodies.

Even if your parents did their best with what they knew, if you grew up feeling dismissed and invalidated, or worse shamed, for expressing your needs, guess what?

You learn that you’re not worthy of having your needs met. A pattern emerges of people pleasing and abandoning your needs to keep everyone else comfortable, and to be acceptable and loveable. 

This is something I help women to gently dismantle by working with your unconscious nervous system and sense of self, no matter how long you’ve been surviving this way. 

How can you realize your dreams, feel fulfilled, have confidence in your body, and maintain supportive relationships when you’re missing the bare minimum of self care?

No guilt.  I’ve been there and still have to remind myself to come back to the basics when life gets hard.

YOU are a must have woman, not a nice-to-have runner up!

So…back to step 1!

Attune and Respond

Attune to your basic needs (like a parent tunes into their toddler’s needs) and RESPOND.

YOU are now the caregiver of SELF. You get to lovingly care for your needs.

You get to show yourself respect and kindness. This is now your job.

This might look like:

  • Take an honest inventory of the toddler list and make that your bare minimum.

If you’ve neglected these things regularly, start with small, do-able steps that you can implement without overwhelm. Repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes automatic. 

No need for perfection here, just keep course-correcting when things go sideways.

  • Schedule downtime, play and fun purposefully to enjoy your life

That’s right! 

Somewhere along the way, we lose sight of the basic need for play, fun, pleasure and the open space of unscheduled time. Enjoy your life, loved ones and your amazing body that does so much for you.

Your creative mind will open up, and you’ll see more creative solutions to other parts of your life with regular downtime and play. If you don’t schedule this, it probably won’t happen.

Let’s be real. I know you’re busy and can’t luxuriate in endless leisure, but if you make this a priority it helps to break the manic energy and get you back into your body and what it’s telling you it needs.

What if you pick just one of these to attune & respond to for the next couple of weeks, to get started?

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Get yourself on the list

Let’s get you on the non-negotiable list that says:

  • You have needs.
  • You are worthy of tuning into those needs and responding lovingly.
  • It’s literally your job to see to it that your needs are met.
  • Attune to your needs, and respond.

Use these suggestions if you’re just getting started.

Alright, go love yourself with action.

If you’re stuck, don’t worry this is where my expertise comes in. You’re not meant to figure out every little thing on your own.

With some guidance, you can shorten the path to revitalizing your life and body instead of trying to D-I-Y it.

Shoot me a message or jump on a no charge ask-me-anything call to see how you can move toward feeling confident physically, empowered emotionally and focused mentally with a customized approach.

About The Guest Blogger

Your life is your choice. 

Will you live by default or by design?

Acclaimed fitness professional and personal empowerment coach Ramona Kossowan has walked the talk. Intentionally taking control of her life at a point when she felt directionless and disempowered, she left behind that familiar place of exhaustion and self-sabotage, transforming herself into the strong, confident leader she is today.

It’s never too late to make that change.

Ramona Kossowan, Calgary women's coach

Now, as the founder and CEO of Ramona K Coaching, Ramona is passionate about helping others make that same profound difference in their lives. Your ultimate well-being is her priority, and the results are real and readily accessible.

Certified in the Gentle Trauma Release Method, Ramona compassionately guides you to heal any debilitating feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness holding you back from the vibrant, limitless life you deserve.

You will reconnect with your truly amazing authentic self and feel fabulous in your own body again.

It’s time to reclaim your power!

Connect with Ramona

Book your empowerment session with Claudia today!