Practicing self-care is not always easy, and I understand. Most of us have busy, demanding, and stressful jobs. We have numerous responsibilities at home that leave us exhausted at the end of the day to even think of ourselves. Or we put others before ourselves. All this usually leaves me-time last and unchecked on our agenda. And in some cases, we even feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves. That being said, we must recognize the need for self-care (use this self-reflection to recognize where specifically you are lacking self-care). Implementing the following strategies into your regular routine will boost your well-being not only today but forever.
To best explain self-care strategies to my clients, over the years I have created a self-care triangle. Triangles represent stability, balance, enlightenment, and the union of the mind, body, and heart. Sounds awesome already!
Each corner represents a different aspect you must focus on (all part of your “me-time”), each as important as the other, and without one the triangle is left incomplete, meaning your care is left incomplete.
Physical activity stimulates your brain, boosting your positive emotions and reducing your stress and anxiety. Leaving you feeling more energetic, happier, and relaxed. To name a few activities: yoga, walking, jogging, running, cycling, weightlifting, following a workout routine, and swimming. The exercise you choose depends fully on you, listen to your body, do what seems fun and change it up. Maybe sometimes you want to exercise outside, with a friend, in the morning, before bed, following an instructor, listening to music or in quiet.
Learn to say enough to your work and responsibilities so you can devote 7-8 hours of your night to sleep. But more importantly, this is not just 8 hours of laying in bed, rather good quality of sleep. In order to get good quality sleep, make it your priority, follow a consistent sleep routine, avoid media and devices at least one hour before bedtime, try to resolve conflict and stress before your sleep hours, and create a cozy and relaxing ritual that you can look forward to. Along with dedicated sleep hours, allow yourself to take breaks throughout the day when required. Listen to your mind and body and give it what it needs.
Remember your food is your fuel. If you want to have energy, feel good, and have an optimistic look at life, good nutrition is key. Try to pack your meals with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients required but also have fun with your meals. You can try cooking with your family, learning new recipes, and making your dishes colorful. To learn more about nutrition, visit this website.
In the lines that lead to those specified “me-times” practice the following strategies throughout your day, to check-in, reflect, be mindful and rejuvenate:
- Learn to say “no”. While you may feel obligated to say yes to your loved ones or coworkers, you must also conserve your energy and time for self-care, or else it can lead to irritability and burnout.
- Get a journal and dedicate it to your emotions and feelings.
- Make lists and write down what is bothering you. And then analyze each item and reflect on what is in your control, act on things that are in your control, and let go of things that are not.
- Make a list of things you are grateful for.
- Write down all your goals and things you wish for.
- Take deep breaths. Close your eyes, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to notice the sensation of the air flowing in and out.
- Even better, use the 3-step coping strategy: take a few deep breaths, drink water, go to the washroom.
- Stay in the present
- Listen to your heart and abide by its needs.