S2: EP 17 – How to Get Out of Survival Mode

Living Fully Alive Podcast available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Youtube


It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.
— Brianna Wiest

Today is the first episode in this month’s topic of SELF CARE. Are you feeling burnout and exhausted? Are you living in survival mode? Join Mary in a conversation about learning how to make self care a non-negotiable so that you can learn to thrive instead of just survive. As women, we are expected to be able to juggle it all…work, family, beauty routines and everything in between. We’ve been taught that taking care of everyone else makes us a good person. But what about ourselves? Where do we fit in the mix of it all? Tune in today to learn how to give yourself permission to prioritize YOU.

Typically I see that people have some pretty powerful blocks to allowing themselves to prioritize self care. And I want to dive into why we have such a hard time embracing it.

3 Blocks To Self Care

  1. We don’t have an identity outside of our contribution to other people.

    Most of the time we lack a sense of our own self. Our own independence. Our own individuation. We only know of ourselves through our role of taking care of other people and making their lives more important than our own. How can we practice self care, when we don’t know how to care for our SELF? It’s much easier to take of other people because it’s clear, we know what they need. We can see it. We hear it. So we step in to help everyone else. Plus, it gets us that hit of affirmation and appreciation so it makes us feel like we’re being a good person. But what about OUR person? OUR heart? OUR needs? Who are WE? Part of self care requires that we slow down to get to know ourselves. We get to know our needs. We get to learn what WE love to do. What fills OUR tanks back up. So that our identity includes more than just people pleasing.

  2. We say yes, when we mean no.

    “Radical self-care means that I gently bust myself out of the desperate lifelong need to please, and it means that I start to say no as a complete sentence.” -Anne Lamott

    We’ve fallen prey to the society norm that saying YES will eventually give us a life that we love. But in reality, it often times takes us away FROM the life we love. And the result = burnout. Our modern day epidemic. Causing all kinds of symptomatic issues including the deterioration of our health, our marriages, our bodies, our relationships – basically our lives except we might keep our careers. If you haven’t read the book THRIVE by Arianna Huffington, I highly suggest that you pick up a copy. It was such a gift to me as I was learning how to redefine success. But she says. “Marie Asbern, professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, describes burnout as an “exhaustion funnel” we slip down as we give up things we don’t think are important. Often the very first things we give up are those that nourish us the most but seem optional. The result is that we are increasingly left with only work or other stressors that often deplete our resources, and nothing to replenish or nourish us, and exhaustion is the result.” We can’t keep saying yes when we want to say no, when we don’t have any more yeses inside of ourselves, and when our personal self care is being sacrificed.

  3. We don’t believe we deserve it.

    Somewhere we were fed the belief that self care is selfish. That everyone else’s needs should come before our own. That somehow being a woman means we take care of everyone first and then ourselves. That is why they literally have to tell you out YOUR oxygen mask on before assisting other people and children. They HAVE TO TELL US THAT. Because what would we do if we weren’t reminded of that? Haha… yep you guessed it. Put it on everyone else 1st. We have to begin to shift and see self care as the most selfless thing we could ever do. When we take care of ourselves 1st, then we have an overflow to offer others if we so choose.

So let’s check in…..How often do you find yourself in survival mode?

Scale of 1-10.

1 being not at all, 10 being you’re barely hanging on.

We have to get clear about where we are, before we know where to come in a meet our own needs.

Let’s take a look at self care as the antidote. 

I want to define what self care means to me:

Or maybe I’ll start with what it is NOT.

It’s not another way to numb and check out of a life that you hate.
If you are drinking a glass of wine, taking a bath or eating chocolate cake as a way to escape feeling miserable. That is not what I would call total self care. I mean sure, all of those things are wonderful and I love them all and indulge regularly, BUT… that’s not really going to make up for real burnout.

Self care isn’t just about “treating yourself” It’s not just buying yourself new stuff, getting a pedicure, or binging on Netflix so that you feel like the rest of your life is tolerable. 

It’s not a temporary fix to just get you through. 

It can include those things on occasion, but real radical self care is deeper than that. 

Here is what I believe that it is:

Self care to me is about making the hard decisions that nurture your soul in a way that eventually creates a life that you love.

At the end of the day it’s about being a good parent to yourself. It’s about making choices for yourself that give you a life that you really love vs one that you feel like you constantly have to escape from. It’s about taking care of your SELF. Your whole self. The emotional, mental, spiritual and physical SELF. The holistic self. It’s not giving yourself a reward or numbing out from your hard day. It’s truly taking CARE of yourself. It’s tending to the soul. To the little girl inside of yourself. It’s making decisions for your long term wellness. 

It might look like having good boundaries, saying no, disappointing people. Sometimes good self care looks like letting yourself be human. Letting your house stay messy, not doing the laundry or the dishes, sometimes it means going to bed early vs sedating yourself with more netflix. It might mean letting yourself cry in the car and decide you can’t go into the party. Sometimes good self care means letting yourself skip the workout, sometimes it means having a cookie, sometimes it means having a salad, sometimes it means having a glass of wine. 

Self care does not have to look like an impossibly expensive spa day or running away to join an ashram, although that doesn’t sound so bad. It’s saying no to one more obligation, it’s letting the dishes sit and reading a book for a few minutes. It’s a tiny bit of whatever makes you feel more like the you in your favorite version of yourself.
— Lisa Page Rosenberg

Self care to me is a spiritual practice. It’s a pause. It’s a tuning in. Self care allows us to be present. It allows us to take care of others in a way where we don’t get resentful, or angry, or burnt out. It really helps us live a life where we foster our well being. 
So my dears, what are going to your self care non-negotiables. Let’s pause to intentionally decide on ways that you are going to take care of yourself. Jot down 5 ways you can radically take care of yourself.


All the URGENT things will take precedent, and we’ll wake up 5 years from now being so miserable and unfulfilled. 

THRIVING REQUIRES INTENTION, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT. Having a life where you feel fully alive requires that you prioritize self care.

One of my favorite quotes:

Settling for crumbs doesn’t keep you fed – it keeps you starving.
— Danielle Laporte

I don’t want to starve. I want to live a rich life. One where I have energy and vitality. One where I can out of a place of abundance enter into my relationships with love, grace and reserve. A life where when I say YES, it’s a HELL YES, and I enjoy the Yes. I’m in. And I’m glad to be in. A life where I get to pour into my work with inspiration and not stress. A life where dinner can go for 2 hours. A life where I can listen and be present in my conversations with those people I  love. This is only possible with good radical self care. This is only possible with uttering a lot of “nos.” This is only possible when I take time to nourish myself. This is only possible when I rest. This is only possible when I have strong boundaries. And oh is that a life worth living. Are you ready?


Each month will be a deep dive into a topic that supports you on your journey to living more fully alive. 

November’s topic will be on SELF CARE. 

Make sure to check out all the episodes from this month’s topic.

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