Amy Crumpton - The Necessity of Self-Care
Amy Crumpton loves to help women take charge of their lives and lean into their strength and significance. She is a licensed counselor and certified coach, with a previous career in business. Crumpton loves books, red wine, words, silence, sand, saltwater, craft beer, coffee and CrossFit. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Me First in The Mornings.
Please give us a short introduction to what Me First In The Mornings is about.
At its core, Me First in the Mornings is about taking care of ourselves first, so that we can love and contribute from a place of abundance and joy rather than a state of lack, overwhelm and even resentment. But many of us, especially women, have a hard time seeing self-care as a necessity. Instead, we often see self-care as indulgent, so we feel too ashamed to try it. In the book I present the top 10 arguments women make as to why we "can't," then provide solid, practical reasons why we can. Then I propose how we can. With a super simple 6 step method that can be carried out regularly. In the book, we not only asking the tough questions, but answer them. Then making a plan to move forward into the lives we want to be living!
Was there anything in particular, an incident or something you read, that made you want to tackle this?
In my work with female clients over the years, I've seen the same pattern. Clients come in feeling anxious and/or depressed, typically stemming for feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. They have a have a general sense of angst but can't quite put their finger on "why."
As we dig deeper, we learn that they give and give until they have nothing left. Until they don't feel like themselves or don't even know who they are anymore. I've lived life that way too. It can feel endless, hopeless, purposeless, and oh, so lonely. We lose ourselves over time if we're not mindful to take special care of the one precious life we've been given. This book is a plan, not only to recover from that lonely, hopeless place, but to determine what we long for and go after that vision step by step.
Why, do you think, do so many women feel selfish when they put themselves first?
External and internal forces are at work. We've largely been taught by word and deed that everyone else must come first. Not to mention, many women experience a nagging voice that makes them feel guilty about pretty much everything.
If we were to only look out for ourselves, the voice of guilt might have a point. But in reality, putting ourselves "first," implies there is a "next." The love and compassion and care and contribution doesn't stop with us. As we get healthy, self-care actually gives us more fuel to participate in the lives of others.
You also included intimate stories from your own life in this book. Why did you take this approach?
The brilliant author Anne Lamott says, the best help we can offer someone is to say, "Me too." This book is my way of saying "Me too," to women everywhere who feel worn thin, wiped out, and alone in their problems. I have walked this out first hand and learned how to do life differently. I'm still learning every day. So I figure they best way we can get through this is to together- to grab one another's hands and keep walking.
How much of your experiences as a therapist and coach did you work into this book?
I've been coaching and doing therapy for 17 years. In a way, it's who I am. It's how I see the world. I love to help women get clear about what they truly want then create a plan to make it happen. I love to find solutions in seemingly unsurmountable situations. I love to find the silver lining. And there is always a silver lining if we look long enough and with a grateful heart. In essence, my experiences with my clients over the years is somehow woven into everything I write. Because, my clients amaze and inspire me. I have the best job in the world.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Secret skills, ha! That makes me feel like a Ninja!
I love that you wrote "skills," and not "talents." I develop skills when I get passionate about something. I put in the time and practice. If I look around at people who are especially "good" at specific things, I know they have put in the effort it requires. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who are willing to work long and hard for what they want. That being said, over the last two years, I have been working hard to build my physical training skills and my nutrition knowledge. I just became an L-1 CrossFit Trainer and I'm currently working on my Health Coach certification. This work is for my own self-care, yes. But because I've seen CrossFit and proper nutrition make such an incredible difference in my own life, I want to share it with others. I guess my secret skill is that I'm equipped to help the whole person- mind, body, and soul.
What has readers reactions to this book been like so far?
I've been humbled by the response from readers in the first few weeks of the book's life. One of the most treasured compliments I receive is readers thanking me for my willingness to be open about my own struggles but also light-hearted and funny about them. I am also deeply grateful that readers appreciate the larger philosophy behind the book and Me First method, which offer a practical plan for change. I do love a good plan!
Why is it so important to make time for yourself in the mornings?
I've got a few chapters on this in the book! But if I could narrow it down to the most important reason, it's this-
We tend to put first what we value. If we make a point to engage in stillness and self-care (even for a few moments) in the morning, we are essentially saying to ourselves and the world, "I am valuable. I am worth this."
What if you are not a morning person, and mornings tend to be a huge rush to get done in time?
I address this in the book too! The number one thing I'd say is this- That's okay!
Have compassion and patience with yourself. If you can't do it in the morning, do it when you can. Taking care of yourself in this way is paramount to your long term well-being and purpose in the world. In the famous words of Nike, "Just do it!!"
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
I definitely have a favorite concept. It's my favorite because it's been so life-changing for me personally.
I am hard wired to want to "fix" things. It's what makes me good at my job and inspires me to work on myself perpetually. But the line between "fixing" and "controlling" can get fuzzy. When I'm not mindful, I want to control people, events, decisions, situations, outcomes. This side of the coin can be a huge liability when I'm not self-aware.
So my favorite concept in the book is that-
People don't belong to me; people belong to themselves. And I belong to myself. My job in life is to be the very best "amy" I can be. There is always work to do on that front. It's not my business to make other people "better" according to my skewed assessment of what "better" is. It's my business to make myself better. This truth frees me to be with people openly, authentically, honestly. I don't need to change them. I can simply be with them and love them for who they are. It is a huge relief to realize I'm not responsible for other people. (As strange as that may sound ;)
In this book you’re dealing with so many difficult themes – as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?
Ha! I think I answered this question in the previous one. The responsibility I feel lies within me- to tell my story as honestly as possible and hope other people find solace and even inspiration in it. My work is to write it down and let it go.
Tell us more about your writing habits. What is an average writing day like for you?
I write something most days. It may be a journal entry or an article or fleshing out an idea of my next book. For me writing is therapy. It's how I connect with myself and God. And other people often times. I try not to get hung up on "what" I'm writing, as long as the pen is moving or the keyboard is clicking! Writing is an integral part of the 6 step Me First Method. I think it's important for everyone. So important, I designed the Me First Companion Journal to help people structure their morning time. It's my joy to share it. Anyone can get a free copy here.
What are you working on right now?
3 things come to mind-
1. Being present with the people in my personal and professional life. Soaking in the moments without letting them pass by unnoticed or not fully lived.
2. Incorporating the health and wellness aspect with my clients. I truly believe it all goes together. How we nourish and move our bodies is every bit as important as how we nourish and move our minds and spirits. They all work in tandem. The good news is, we can start with any one of the three!
3. I'm developing the outline for my next book. The theme is "organic time management for women." The top 20 time management books are written by men; men I read and respect for sure! Yet most men aren't faced with the same struggles or responsibilities as women when it comes to managing time. Neither being right or wrong- just different! And it's high time we took a deeper and more soulful look at original time management techniques that serve women well.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I'm so glad you asked! ;)
My home on the web is PurposeDweller.com. You'll find free goodies, articles, and a bit more about my work.
Thank you so much for these insightful questions and the opportunity to answer them! I appreciate your time.