We're living in a fast-paced world doing our best to juggle the demands of work and family. It’s a struggle to get it all done. We often feel tired and depleted, but we push on.
Self-care is about choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors. It’s not about pampering (although this certainly has its place) or self-indulgence. It means different things to different people because needs are unique. Self-care includes developing healthy habits, making healthy lifestyle choices and knowing when you should seek medical treatment.
The cornerstone of self-care is to make yourself a priority. You need to give yourself the gift of ‘me time’ and be uncompromising about it. Doing this will help you recharge physically and mentally, leaving you with more to give in other areas of your life. Self-care also provides other benefits such as preventing and managing disease, improving your quality of life and increasing your confidence.
Here are some ideas to get you started in developing your self-care plan. Don’t try to do everything at once or it’ll feel like another pressure. Incorporate a couple of ideas and build from there.
Sleep, Eat, Exercise
These are your self-care foundation blocks. It may be difficult to eat three square meals a day plus snacks but make sure you get adequate nutrition. Get to bed early enough so that you get your zzz’s. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Go to the gym, play a sport or go for a walk. Just do it!
Schedule Personal Time
Schedule time for yourself. Don’t ever double book. This time can be for whatever nurtures you. Play with your kids or grandkids, read, watch a movie, go fishing, sit in a garden, knit, meditate, walk, run….you get the idea. It’s your time to relax. It’s all about diverting your attention from the pressures and cares of the day.
Turn off your phone, computer and tablet. Allow yourself the freedom of disconnection. If you can’t do it for a day, give yourself 8 hours. The world won’t stop without you online.
Develop Daily Rituals
Simple practices can help you ease into and wind down from your day. Start your day with your favorite hot beverage, soft music and candlelight. Don’t rush to check your phone or start answering messages. Give yourself time to reflect on the day ahead and breathe in that fresh morning air. Do the same in the evening.
Accept your life on its terms. It’s natural to vacillate between feelings of acceptance and resistance. Acceptance isn’t a sign of apathy or giving up. It’s a recognition of the reality of the present.