What Are Your Essential Needs?

Since we’ve started sheltering in place I’ve been going on an early morning walk almost daily. Two to four miles, rain or shine. No music, no podcasts. Just me, the rising sun, the waking birds, and a few neighbors from afar.

The solitude and peace have been quite glorious, honestly.

Then, a couple of days ago, I slept in later than usual. When I woke up I just wanted to get the day started. I missed my walk and jumped right into “homeschooling” and housekeeping and work-from-homing.

It wasn’t pretty.

I was grumpy. A little mean even.

My attitude and energy affected my kids and they were whiny and resistant and clingy.

There were tears (from all of us). We were all off.

That’s when I realized, these morning walks are one of my essentials. A non-negotiable. Mommy’s self-care.

They don’t make everything perfect but they certainly help get my attitude and energy in a better place so I’m equipped to handle the hard stuff.

As we face the many levels of uncertainty and fear of the coronavirus pandemic, we all have different experiences and needs.

One thing is highly likely. Our needs are becoming more basic. More essential.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which says we first need to have our basic physiological needs met — food, shelter, rest, movement. Then there is the need for safety and security. When those needs are met, then we can more easily move up to the needs of belonging, relationships, and love. After that, self-esteem and accomplishment. Self-actualization is the icing on the needs cake.

So is it any wonder that if you’re not sleeping well you feel more anxious and just about everything feels off. If you’re feeling scared and stressed then your relationships are probably more strained. Or, if you’re feeling disconnected and lonely, it’s tough to feel motivated or creative.

All of that is totally normal at a time that’s anything but normal.

The question becomes, what is essential to my well being, right now?

The answer likely looks totally different than two months ago, so I invite you to let go of self-judgment or comparison and be a curious explorer instead.

Here are some questions to think about and journal on to help you uncover your essentials. Many of these prompts from my dear mentor conscious-parenthood expert, Carrie Contey

What energizes me? What fills my cup? What brings me a sense of well-being?Think about the different realms of well-being, physical, emotional, spiritual and relational.<

Think about a recent time (or start noticing) when things were flowing well. What were the elements of that experience? What made it feel good? What led up to that? What needs were being met?

Conversely, when things felt stressed and difficult, what were the elements of that experience? What was happening around you? What were the ingredients that made it challenging? What needs were not being met?

As you look over your answers, what stands out to you?

List three to five of your most essential needs.

Now that you have an awareness of your needs, think about how you can make sure those needs get met. How can you make them non-negotiable and help your people support you?

How can you meet those needs on a regular basis? What are the different things you can do in small moments, daily and weekly to meet your needs?

What might get in the way of doing those things? How can you plan for that?

What does support look like?

Why is this important to you?

In the spirit of sharing and connection, here are four of my essentials at the moment:

  1. Sleep
  2. Movement in nature
  3. Connection to my family through play and fun
  4. Being fully present in an activity

What’s surprising to me is that besides sleep, these would probably look pretty different if we were not sheltering in place. As I’m now aware of these new essentials I can make choices about how I want to spend my time and what’s nourishing to me and my family. I can see continuing to cultivate these experiences even after quarantine.

At the best of times, when our cups are full and our own needs are met we feel more satisfied and able to give energy and support to those around us.

Now with our normal life turned topsy-turvy, it’s so easy to skip over our own self-care but now is when we need it the most.

I’ve been clinging to my essential self-care like a lifeline.

I encourage you to start being curious and noticing what feels good then get intentional with how you care for yourself. Go back to the basics and know that by meeting your most essential needs you will be able to show up for your people and to this challenging time.

And just think, you will have those essential elements in place in your life as we move forward.

What is feeling essential to you right now? How has that changed (or not) since the pandemic? What will you keep as we move forward? Share in the comments below.

If you want support figuring out your essential needs and how to meet them, schedule a coaching discovery session and we’ll talk.

It is possible to meet this challenging time feeling a bit more aligned, a bit more resourced, and that helps everybody.

Published by allisonburch

Hi there! As a Gottman Certified Educator, I love helping new families navigate the transition to parenthood and supporting them as they create a life they love. I get to live the dream in Austin, Texas with my big-hearted husband and two extroverted boys, where we get to put Gottman's techniques to use daily.

2 thoughts on “What Are Your Essential Needs?

  1. I’m so glad! You are such a sweet giver, remember to replenish yourself too. I need to remind myself frequently about the importance of meeting my own needs. xo


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