We live in the “me” generation. We spend endless hours trying to maintain a lifestyle, a career or relationship, and sometimes, the important “me” gets swept under the rug. I know, we’re all busy. Finding time to take care of ourselves gets harder every day. But we must find the time to carve a personal care niche into our daily routines, otherwise, we will be exhausted and functioning in a semi-fogged state of being. Once you reach this state, it becomes difficult to care about anything or anyone, including your all-important self.
Self-care is a touchy subject. Most people view self-care as selfish and indulgent, or they believe that 30 minutes at the gym satisfies the care requirement. Nope. Taking care of your whole self, mind and body, not only makes life more fulfilling, but your wellness will extend beyond you to other people. Cheryl Richardson, life coach and author of The Extreme Art of Self Care, states that “when we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others…in a healthier and more effective way.” She explains in her book that we all make our life choices from a place of love and compassion if we are mindful and conscientious. If we are overworked and overrun, we make our choices through guilt and obligation, and find no pleasure in day to day existence.
Reiterating, self-care IS the act of loving yourself. An act of self-care will nourish your mind, body and spirit. Do something nurturing to create a better relationship with yourself. Think of your body as your home, and self-care is taking care of all the rooms within. Self-care is learning to please yourself, which means if you take time for a pedicure or a nap, there are no excuses. You feel no guilt or shame in indulging yourself every now and then. It’s about creating a holistic balance for your overall well-being. If your home was a mess, you would declutter, take out the trash and scrub the counters, making it beautiful and comfortable. Nobody on the street can see inside, but you feel a sense of pride when everything looks and feels right. So to with nourishing yourself from within.
The first thing you need to do is to figure out where in your life you feel deprived. Once you have that in mind, you will have a good idea on how to approach your own self-care rituals. Ask yourself what you need more or less of in your life. Be very specific, if you are overwhelmed and need time alone to detox in a long bath or to have a coffee with the girls, know it, own it. Then do it, no guilt, no strings.
Second, find your own routine. Having a set routine gives you stability, security, safety and serenity. Cheryl Richardson suggests asking yourself this one powerful question: “What one routine could I put into place this month that would improve my life the most?” She suggests writing it down where you can see it, every day, and schedule it into your daily life for 30 days. After this trial period, see if you don’t feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed. It’s a lifesaver, I promise.
Habits are key to self-care. The repetition and routine will soothe you and make sure to keep you at top performance levels emotionally, mentally and physically. By implementing tiny self-care habits into your day, you will shed some love and attention to your mind body and soul. Following is a short list that you can fit into your already crazed schedule. Choose one from each category for each day. Your inner home will thank you.
Make a compliments file: note the great things people say about you to read later.
|Give yourself 10 minutes of mindful attention: Sit quietly, meditate or use the body scan practice.||Be your own best friend: What would you tell yourself right now – look in the mirror and say it to yourself NOW.|
|Unplug: Give yourself up to an hour without the constant buzz and interruption of social media and e-mail.||Bathroom Boogie: Grab your favorite upbeat tunes and dance around while you’re getting ready. You’ll feel energized and happy.||Indulge & Splurge: Buy yourself a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself. Yes, a piece of Godiva counts.|
|Fix a small annoyance: Sew on that button, reset the DVR or clean that shelf in the fridge. Feel accomplished.||Shine on: Get outside in the sun for just 15 minutes. It has healing powers.||Help someone. Hold open that door or carry groceries for an elderly neighbor. Be thoughtful.|
|Leave your comfort zone: Talk to a stranger in line at the store. Feel friendly.||Make smart food choices: Pick new, healthy meals for the week and rotate them.||Get some positive feedback: Ask 3 close friends what they love about you.|
|Be selfish: Do one thing today just for YOU because it makes you feel good.||Laugh. Find something silly – for me, Calvin & Hobbes or old BBC reruns of Mr. Bean. You’re oxygenating 😊||Write out your thoughts: Free write for 10 minutes, just let it all out, the good, bad & the ugly. Then crumple it, burn it or toss it. It’s cathartic.|
|Get rid of a “cling-on” from your to do list. Feel empowered.||Power nap: Just 20 minutes reduces sleep debt & rejuvenates. Feel Refreshed.||Take a “Self” Date: Spend some time alone doing something that nourishes you – a good book, visit a museum, enjoy a long walk on the beach.|
Now it’s time to take back the ME in our “me” generation. With a little attention to your own self-care, you will feel better about yourself and more connected to the world around you. Delight in the little things and keep yourself tuned up. By incorporating these simple habits into your daily routines, you’ll keep your total self in tune. Now the only question is which habit will you try first?
Helene Furst has written many poems and short stories, both fiction and nonfiction. She has been published in several literary magazines, most recently in Wordhaus and in The Australia Times. She writes a positive psychology blog and is almost certified as a Life Coach. She lives in sunny Florida with her husband, three amazing kids, a schizophrenic maltipoo and two crazed cockatiels.
Please visit often at https://www.morningbeansblog.com/