May 22nd, 2020

Episode 27 - Sharon Charlton Thompson

Radical Self-Care

Those of us working in the coaching space right now know that many parents are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and depleted as our expectations of ourselves are through the roof. We’re supervising learning at home and many of us are working from home too; we’re getting the kids off electronic devices and coaxing them to take some exercise; we’re sorting out sibling squabbles and getting them to make their beds and put their clothes in the laundry basket, while also cleaning, shopping and cooking, all in closer proximity to our partners than usual. Never before has the phrase “For better, for worse, but not for lunch” had such great meaning! 

So this is a great time to be talking to Sharon Charlton Thomas about self-care, radical self-care. You probably know that it’s a good idea to care for yourself, don’t you? But do you prioritise it? No? Why not? Do you think it’s indulgent? Do you not have time for it? Yep, me too. Well Sharon gives you some very strong reasons for changing that thinking. One of those compelling reasons is that we are modelling for our kids how to be kind to themselves. (see TPP’s module on Setting up for Success) Imagine a future where your now-adult child rings you up, distressed because they had made a mistake at work; wouldn’t you want them to show themselves the kind of compassion they would show someone they cared for? 

Sharon has been an executive coach for over 20 years specialising in working with working parents. She is a partner in The Working Parent Company, an organisation the Parent Practice has done a lot of work with, that believes parents are remarkable. (We agree.) She offers a blend of coaching and psychotherapy and mindfulness.

She is a mum to two adopted children aged 12 and 15.

Listen to this episode with Sharon if you want to learn:

  • What self-care really means, given that the term is so overused
  • Why self-care is so often neglected and how that is a reflection of the busyness and productivity that we value and reward in our society
  • How radical self-care is so different and such a controversial idea for parents who are used to self-sacrifice, being programmed to be a nurturer or provider
  • Why our relationship with ourselves is so critical and how self-exploration is at its core
  • How this reflective capacity can be encouraged through mindfulness
  • About the six steps of self-care:
    1. Knowing that caring for myself fundamentally impacts how I treat others, so self-care is in service of something bigger
    2. Looking inwards –what do I think about self-care right now? This is examining our beliefs about this –is it self-indulgent? What stops me from making a larger commitment to myself?
    3. Checking that our basic physical needs are being fulfilled rather than stuffing more into our day
    4. Think about what tires and what inspires your soul - sometimes it’s ourselves, our inner critics, that tire us
    5. Practice compassion toward yourself
    6. Make self-care a habit to reinforce an identity of who you want to become; focusing on that long term outcome helps form the first steps to forming habits
  • How to be guided by a belief that self-care is a good thing rather than being guided by your inner critic, acknowledging your inner critic rather than trying to get rid of it (which you can’t do)
  • How important it is to reinforce good self-care habits in our children and not placing too much value on busyness 

Radical self-care is about learning who we are and what our needs and limits are and learning self-compassion; it is about learning to treat myself as I would others that I love. 

And as usual we finish with our SUMs. We are celebrating some Surprising Uplifting Moments, some good things coming out of this crisis. Sharon shares a story about the Head of her children’s school sharing with the school community in a way that was vulnerable and inspiring. That authenticity was an inspiration. 


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Posted in: Self Care




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