Ritual Musings ~ with Cat Sanz
by Jacqui-Maree Bailey
Cat Sanz has created her own approach to self-care that’s based in the real world. She’s incredibly dedicated to her community on Instagram where she shares her successes and learning’s while navigating the ups and downs of managing a career and small business alongside family life and relationships. The last time we saw each other, I was taking Cat through a prenatal Pilates session and she was nearly full- term. It was a little surreal and such a pleasure to catch up a few months later to hear how life had changed since having baby Sanz number three.
When we sat down to chat about her #fiveminutesofmine daily goal, I mentioned to Cat I’d read a book a few years ago that helped me manage my anxiety and make positive life changes through a framework of reflection, positive self-image, goal setting and achievable, good habits. It also helped shape elements of my vision and the philosophy for Nurture Nature Collections.
I explained ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’ was written by Dr Maxwell Maltz in the 50s and claimed to be the original self-help literature referenced and borrowed from by generations of inspirational speakers, psychologists and personal growth proponents that followed. Maltz abandoned his successful career as a plastic surgeon when he found inconsistent results for his clients and wavering correlations between merely changing physical aesthetic appearance and finding lasting happiness and contentment. He recognised that rewiring our brain to take on a new self-image couldn’t be purely underpinned by changing how we physically look, but required changing what we think about ourselves, our inner dialogue and how we act everyday. Maltz spent the rest of his days strongly advocating for his method of changing the self-image and curating habitual behaviour. He was adamant deeper 'self work' was where the real magic happened.
Cat talked candidly about her own journey and realisations that led to starting the #fiveminutesofmine daily habit. Being all too familiar with the signs and her personal triggers for anxiety and post-natal depression, soon after having her third baby, Cat realised she needed to make time to look after herself. Initially, Cat recognised that whatever came to the surface internally when she looked in the mirror of a morning seemed to greatly influence how she actually felt and even had a flow-on-effect to relationships, actions and productivity throughout the day.
“I really believe the way you see yourself affects the way you feel about yourself and how you go about your day... So my self-care actually started with getting eyelash extensions – it was my way of finally allowing myself some down time and the eyelashes made me look more awake, improving how I thought about myself and changing how I felt. But, importantly, I was able to chat about life, doze off or do what I felt I needed to during that 'me time'.”
In a new world where personal growth, self practice and taking care of ourselves more compassionately and holistically is becoming widely accepted and applauded, maybe we ought to listen up and figure out how to prioritise this daily. Perhaps finding our individual take on self-care and sticking with it can be the ticket to changing our self-image... to finding more useful habitual behaviour... to grasping that seemingly elusive Maltz magic.
Cat knew her self-care routine needed to be more frequent and non-negotiable. Something she felt was achievable, knowing her husband travels a lot and with little time between juggling three kids and running a business.
“I realised, if you don’t build on this notion of 'me' time as a habit, you forget about it. If it’s not part of your daily routine to focus on yourself, forget it. A week will go by and you’ll think ‘whoops – I was supposed to do that’.”
We talked about three main points behind #fiveminutesofmine that really set Cat up for continued 'me time' success and helped carry her through one of her most vulnerable, make-or-break life junctures.
1. Make your goals honestly achievable and become accountable
Goal setting is incredibly helpful if you’re honest about keeping it realistic and achievable. As Cat pointed out, when you make the challenge too big and too difficult it won’t happen.
“I thought - what can I do daily to say, ‘well at least I did something for me today’. And I decided that five minutes was a snippet of time I could definitely achieve with intention, without guilt and no interruption. Even with the kids playing nearby, I just focus on that being my time. It’s become completely non-negotiable and by putting it out on social media, I’ve made myself accountable to that daily goal.”
2. Go for consistency over lengthy duration or intermittent acts of grandeur
We often put-off starting a new, good habit for so long that when we finally decide to set a goal and make a change, we feel it needs to be one big act – as though it will undo all the inaction. Cat completely agrees that simple, consistent action is better than a grand, sporadic act. The beauty of setting a goal and achieving it consistently is that it naturally becomes a regular habit. You hit the sweet spot of attainability and your new behaviour becomes the norm.
This is exactly why Cat advocates for just five minutes daily, rather than aiming for the extreme and getting disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
“Sometimes an indulgent hour or weekend away is a possibility but your level of self-care is not determined by your bank balance and spending. It’s not materialistic. Go outside for a walk or sit down with a cup of tea and make that time yours.”
3. Acknowledge you DO deserve it and celebrate what you DO achieve
Cat’s big advice is to label the five minutes you set aside for yourself as being well deserved, non-negotiable and something to celebrate when you do achieve it.
“No matter how small it seems, give yourself a hi-five and do a little happy dance.”
Join the #fiveminutesofmine daily habit and make yourself accountable by tagging @catsanz on Instagram.
Know of a Ritual Muse we need to talk to? Get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org