When you think of self care, you may think of getting a massage or a mani/pedi. That is alright, there is nothing wrong with getting those things. But, what self care means is taking care of your mind, body and soul.
Learning to take time out when you need it, is the core of self care. In today's world everyone is busy. You are driven to work more and do more. If you keep up at this pace, you will end up feeling depleted and empty inside.
Take better care of yourself, now.
Unfortunately, practicing self care isn't always easy. I have found that a lot of people feel guilty when they put themselves first. Even when this means they are exhausted. Which means you are going to burn out. This can lead to many other problems.
This puts both your emotional and physical health at risk. But, it's not until one of those is at risk when people begin to do something.
Here are 10 tips to help you take better care of yourself:
- Exercise daily as part of your self care routine. I see a lot of people neglect this one. Exercise helps you physically and mentally. I think a lot of people know this, but this is the first one you remove from your calendar. If you can't get to the gym everyday, then go for a walk. If you can get fresh air, even better. Try a yoga class. This incorporates both mind and body. Start to make time for exercise, you won't regret it.
- Eat nutritious foods for self care. The food you eat can keep your mind alert. Not to mention it is good for your body. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Stick with a low carbohydrate diet. You don't want to eat high sugar snacks or food that will weigh you down.
- Take a self care trip. Getting away for a weekend can help you disconnect and relax. Even if you aren't feeling particularly stressed out. Make sure you spend within your means. It doesn't feel good to get back and realize you have a bunch of debt from your weekend getaway. Visiting with family or going camping can help cut costs.
- Take time to get outside. Getting outside can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and help you be more mindful. If you go for a walk, slow down. Actually feel your feet hit the ground. If there are trees or flowers around, stop and look at them. Notice any small details they may have. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night.
- Let a pet help you with your self care. Your pet will give you unconditional love. Make sure you spend quality time with your pet. Hug your pet and enjoy spending time with your pet. They have actually been known to help decrease depression and help with the symptoms of PTSD.
- Get organized to help your self care. This means organizing the space you live in. You want to be able to find your keys and wallet easily. You don't want to have a lot of clutter around. You will feel weighed down. When you bring new things in, clear old things out. This is good for your mind.
- Make sleep a priority. This is one I see people cut a lot. When you don't get enough sleep you are more forgetful, and it is harder to focus. Start by taking a close look at your night time routine. Are you drinking a lot of liquid before bed? Are you drinking caffeinated drinks or eating high sugar snacks? How about electronic gadgets? These need to be shut down an hour before bed. Make sure your room is dark, and that you have darkening curtains over the windows. This way you won't be awoken by early morning sun.
- Plan regular self care time. This may sound impossible right now. If that's the case, then start small. You can schedule 10 minutes for yourself in the morning. You may play with your pet, or sit down and drink a cup of coffee while writing in your journal. Spend time with friends watching a movie or a comedy. Just take time for yourself regularly.
- Set boundaries and say no to others for your self care. This means stop saying yes when you mean no. I know this can be really hard for some people. You may feel like you are letting others down. The truth of the matter, is you are letting others down. But, if you don't start saying no today you will end up feeling resentful and burnt out. It may take a little practice, but after a while it will feel natural.
- Stay engaged in your self care plan. There are many ways you can stay engaged in your self care plan. Begin by making your self care plan a priority. Have a friend or family member keep you accountable. You can also read about self care strategies.
When you start your self care plan, you are starting your happiness journey. Right now, self care may seem like a new concept to you. This is something you can learn. How did you learn to bake your first cake? You read a recipe. How did you learn to solve a math problem? You took a math class. A self care plan uses the same logic. This is something you can learn and get better at over time.
If you like what you read, there is more in Taking Care Of Yourself. There are many tips that can help you start your self care plan today.
Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.