We very rarely consider taking care of ourselves as a priority. In fact, many times we perceive it as being a reward that should only be experienced when we deserve it. The truth is that self-care is an important, necessary component of being human. When we choose to neglect self-care, we put our overall health and wellness at risk and threaten to upset our relationships with those closest to us.
Self-care is not a reward. It is an attitude that recognizes that we are responsible for our well-being and then being determined to fulfill that responsibility. Here are some quick steps you might consider in creating an action plan for your own self-care.
Step 1: Recognize it is okay to take care of yourself
This week I attended a great self-care seminar that detailed how self-care not only helps prevent burnout, but it also reduces the negative psychological and physical effects of stress on the body. When first learning self-care, or accepting to have it be a regular part of your life, you may find that scheduling time to tend to your personal needs is necessary. You may find that a ten-minute or twenty-minute break a couple of times during the day is exactly what you need to recharge. In fact, a simple break for self-care is known to improve your overall productivity during the day.
Step 2: Take time before you need it
Life throws us a number of curveballs, but there are plenty of slow pitches coming our way in which we seemingly ignore. In other words, we generally know when a stressful situation is about to occur and we do little to prepare our bodies mentally, physically, and spiritually for life’s little hiccups. Whether it is a difficult conversation, a meeting, a discouraging doctor appointment, disciplining our children, talking to a collection’s agency, confronting an employee, or some other challenging event, we can pinpoint times during the week where stress may peak. It would be an excellent idea to take time to take care of yourself prior to these events. You will find that the mental and physical impact will lessen significantly as a result.
Step 3: Choose your remedy
Identifying what works best comes naturally for some while is challenging for others. Be certain to respond to yourself with compassion and understanding as you find the best means for self-care. To be honest, many of us were not given the opportunity to explore self-care techniques as children. You should feel free to explore unique, creative options without judgment. You may enjoy doing push-ups, journaling, watching videos of cats, meditating, or simply experiencing nature. Here is a list of 45 ideas.
Step 4: Be honest with yourself
Sometimes we respond to our stress by engaging in negative activities that cause more harm than they do good. This could include running to social media (Reddit, Facebook, etc.) and scrolling through the drama, seeking alcohol or other substances for a quick bandaid, expressing negative emotions, and more. You likely know what these habits look like better than we could detail in a quick article. Consider how you might change or replace these behaviors with something that improves your mood and overall wellness. If you would like to explore options or learn more about how to improve your body, mind, and spirit integration, please check out our practitioners and services on www.lifegrove.org.