SELF-CARE 101: 7 Simple Steps to Get You Started
What is it that flight attendants say about oxygen masks: If you’re traveling with someone who needs assistance put your own mask on first and then help others. You probably know the logic behind this counterintuitive instruction – if you don’t help yourself, then you can't help anyone else.
The idea of helping yourself – Self-Care – includes anything that rebalances, recharges, refuels or nurtures your body, mind or spirit. Self-care might seem like an option, an elective or something you can tend to when you’ve cleared your calendar. But the truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to manage any of your obligations.
Here are some simple steps to get you started.
Step 1: Learn
Take time to educate yourself about self-care, since the more you know about it the more likely you are to pursue it. When you make self-care a priority – when you show self-respect – you inspire others to follow suit.
Why is self-care important? Maintaining a healthy outlook on yourself will help you live a healthy lifestyle.
What are some benefits of self-care? Self-care can increase your self-esteem, help you manage stress, and improve your relationships with others. Self-care can boost your professionalism at work. I can go on and on – the benefits can be endless.
How can I incorporate self-care into my life? First, you have to figure out what self-care means to you. What helps me rebalance, recharge and refuel my body, mind and spirit might be different from what helps you. Self-care can start with something as simple as eating, drinking or sleeping, but once you’ve gotten those first three under your belt, you have to move on to the next level. Sure you’re eating, but what? Are you drinking water or soda or energy drinks? How many hours of sleep are you getting out of each 24? Remember, the ultimate level of self-care is not just doing it but doing it right. So let's get going!
Step 2: Diagnose
It’s easy to get distracted, put others first or let things obstruct your self-care goals. Take a look at the list below and write down anything that might be sabotaging you from caring for yourself. Figure out what might be causing you not to make time for self-care.
I don’t have time for self-care because I have to …
I don’t have time for self-care because I’m …
Can you relate? Of course you can!
Now write down 3 to 5 things that can help you clear the obstacles that might prevent you from incorporating self-care into your daily routine. For example: Are you wasting time searching the web, looking at social media or emails, or watching TV? All of these can deprive you of precious sleep, me time, or time with loved ones. It can also build anxiety or make you depressed.
What steps are you willing to take right now to decrease the amount of time you spend doing these specific things? How about scheduling a specific amount of time every morning to spend on the web? If sleep is an issue, create a sleeping routine where you turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime. Take a bath, or read for an hour before going to bed.
Step 3: Identify
Figure out what self-care looks like to you. Take a look at the list below and highlight ideas that resonate.
Step 4: Set Goals
Now that you have your list of personalized self-care goals, write down 3 to 5 things you pledge to do right now. What do you enjoy doing that can rebalance, recharge, refuel and nurture your body, mind and spirit?
Step 5: Commit
Make a commitment to start incorporating these new habits into your life.
Step 6: Educate
Educate your family and friends about self-care – you want all the encouragement you can get. Ask your friends and family to become part of your team – to support you, cheer you on – maybe even enlist them to take the journey with you.
Step 7: Follow Through
No excuses! Investing in yourself is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and for your family.
Finally: Make Allowances
Be easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall back into old habits. It will happen. Refer back to this blog and what you wrote down to get you back on track. I know you can do this!
Have questions or comments? Feel free to post them in the comment box below.
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