I learned several years ago that self-care is imperative for me to be an effective person in life. Afterall, if I am not well, how am I going to be good for my friends, my family, or my work? Whether you find yourself dealing with a chronic illness, at the peak of stressful situations or just struggling to keep up with the day to day chaos of society today, finding time for self-care and learning to not apologize for it can be life-changing.
Self-care can be very difficult for people who experience guilt, feel selfish, or don’t know how to say no. It is important to remember that putting others needs before your own discounts your value. If you don’t prioritize your self, you will likely be more moody, run down, resentful, and disconnected.
There are hundreds of ways to actively engage in self-care. Below are some simple tricks that are not costly, not time consuming and easy to implement.
• Surround yourself with positive people –Negativity can be an emotional drain.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
• Eliminate clutter – Have you ever felt like your car drives smoother when it is clean? Ok, maybe that is just me, but having your environment free of disarray can make a huge difference in your mindset. Keep your living area a place where you love to be.
• Start the day off right! – Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get where you need to go. Have a set routine that rejuvenates. Wake up with positive thoughts. Whether it is morning meditation or a gratitude jar, a morning coffee, or affirmation statements, do not start off with “I don’t want to get up”! Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day.
• Pleasure – Make a list of the top 10 things that bring you pleasure. Cooking, naps, reading a book, mountain climbing, dancing. Whatever your flavor, make a note to spend time doing these activities more often. Integrate them into your priority or to-do list.
• Stress Management – Stress will wreck havoc on your hormones and cause metabolism to come to a screeching halt if you don’t manage it. This means both physical stress and emotional stress. Take a minute, (literally, a minute will have an impact) 2-3 times a day simply breathing in and out, paying attention to your breath. Spend 5-10 minutes a day mediating. Whatever brings you calm and joy (think about your pleasure list!)
• Sleep – This should be a priority for everyone of every age. Lack of sleep will leave you vulnerable to all types of negative effects, both physically and mentally.
• Learn to say no – Practice saying no! Learn to stand up for yourself and defend your time and energy. This will require getting comfortable with the prospect of disappointing others. You cannot possibly make everyone happy all of the time and still do what is right or best for you. If you have to be what someone wants you to be in order to keep them happy, you ultimately sacrifice your self or someone else in your life.
Begin with this hit list. Add these mini goals to your priorities and start to see a brighter, happier you! You don’t have to try to implement them all at once, but practice and you will see the resulting impact that it has on yourself and the people around you.
Please share one thing do you do for self-care that could help someone else “lighten the load”?