Starting Your Self-Care Journey
Some people view self-care as self-indulgent. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” Audre Lorde.
Self-care is anything you can do that will help you to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Self-care empowers people to take their health and well-being into their own hands, giving them the incentive to improve their quality of life.
What self-care is for you will likely be different for someone else so it’s important to try things that you feel will work for you.
Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.
Here are some tips to help you get started with self-care:
Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. Small amounts of exercise add up, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at one time.
Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. Also, limit caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks or coffee.
Make sleep a priority. Stick to a schedule, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Blue light from devices and screens can make it harder to fall asleep, so reduce blue light exposure from your phone or computer before bedtime.
Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Schedule regular times for these and other healthy activities you enjoy such as journaling.
Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of things you are grateful for. Be specific. Write them down at night, or replay them in your mind.
Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
Stay connected. Reach out to your friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help.
What Is The Purpose Of Self Care?
Taking time out of each day to nourish every part of ourselves to help us live healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Isn’t that what we are all striving for?
Why Is Self-Care So Important?
It strengthens our belief in ourselves. When you truly believe in yourself there are NO limitations.
"Be so completely yourself that everyone else feels safe to be themselves, too." —Unknown.
Self-care becomes self-belief which in turn leaves us with less anxious moments, while reducing anxiety and stress.
To bring our true happiness level to the point where each and every day is embraced as a blessing.
To uplift us, improving our spiritual awareness.
Self-care helps to balance us out emotionally, which then makes it easier to deal with the stressors and challenges of each day.
Self-Care Practices Can Lead To A Much Happier And More Fulfilling Life.
Here are a few ideas to lead you into your self-care journey.
Start small. Can you take a few deep breaths on your way home to unwind before going into family mode. Slow, deep breathing can do wonders for your spirit and energy. It can cleanse your mind.
Do what works for you!
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman.
Remind yourself that rest is self-care. If your body is truly telling you that you are tired and it needs rest, it needs rest. Self-care is not always doing something, sometimes it is doing nothing. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Stay positive. That is not always easy but with a little practice and persistence, it becomes almost natural.
“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Never give up.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich.
Starting small allows you to celebrate the small wins which leads to confidence. Gaining confidence leads to trusting yourself. Remember, you don't have to tackle everything all at once.
“Every time you make a commitment to your own self-care, self-love, and self-respect and then follow through, you build trust in yourself.” – Miranda J. Barrett.
Self-care is not always an easy process. Self-care may require us to step out of our comfort zones and do things differently. That’s why starting slowly is so important.
Play some music that lifts you up, brings a smile to your face and brings back some happy memories.
Exercise is critical but be careful. Starting out slowly will reduce the risk of injury and will gradually build confidence and reassurance. Those two things lead to true motivation and a belief that you can make changes.
Sweat is a good thing. Helping improve your mood, reducing your risk of heart disease, at the same time improving your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. A sleep mask can be a great help if falling asleep is an issue for you.
If you are walking at a park and are going through a wooded area, please DO NOT wear headphones or ear buds! First, it is unsafe to not be able to hear anyone near you, especially if you are a woman and walking alone. Secondly, nature is trying to talk to you. All you have to do is listen.
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”- Edward Stanley.
What Are The Benefits Of Self Care?
The many benefits of self-care involve becoming the best person that you can be.
Improved confidence: Making time to take care of yourself may help increase not only your confidence in yourself but give you a more positive outlook on life in general.
Physical health: Certain forms of self-care focus on improving physical health, which may subsequently aid mental health. A physical self-care regimen may help you increase your physical strength as well as your emotional strength.
Less stress, anxiety and mental fatigue.
Better relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
What Are Some Obstacles To Self-Care?
While self-care may seem straightforward and easy, there are many things in your life that can make this challenge overwhelming. Be persistent. Persistence can overcome almost any obstacle.
Life can be so hectic, and practicing self-care is often put at the bottom of your priority list.
"Carve out and claim the time to care for yourself and kindle your own fire." Amy Ippoliti.
Change is Hard. Making changes is not easy: To adopt self-care practices, you will have to make some changes to your life. This is not always an easy thing to do.
"When things change inside you, things change around you." —Unknown.
Take it day by day, hour by hour if necessary. Start your journey!
“One day, you'll look back and thank yourself for not giving up.” Unknown.
Guilt is what we feel when we try to make time for ourselves and instantly remember our never-ending to-do list.
“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first.’ It means ‘me, too.” ― L.R. Knost.
Procrastination. Don’t you think you’ve put off things long enough? It is time to take control and change. Start the process of becoming you. The real you. The you you’ve always believed you could be. It’s time to change.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou.
You can overcome anything! Just believe!!!
Finally…. After doing a lot of reading and self-reflection, I have begun my own self care journey. Educating myself on what I think might be the best for ME.
I don’t have time to walk a half marathon, but I am making time for 30 minutes to walk outside and enjoy the trees and cool, fresh air. Watching young children laugh and play is always calming to me.
Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast (oatmeal with raspberries and blueberries) or simply an egg gives my body the fuel it needs to simply face the day and ALL of its challenges.
I drink water all day and so should you. Staying hydrated is key. It is also a way to avoid those afternoon headaches that everyone takes Advil for. Sometimes the cause of a headache is simply being de-hydrated, especially after a night of too much celebrating.
I can find 10 minutes, and so can you, to rest my head down and put a cool, soothing eye pillow over my eyes to truly relax and clear my mind. Sometimes those 10 minutes make all the difference in the world, giving me renewed energy and a positive outlook!
Gratitude is something that costs nothing but makes such a difference, not only for yourself but for those around you. I love the word and what it represents.
Take the time to value and appreciate the things and people in your life. Too many times those people and those important things are just taken for granted.
“The toughest part of any journey is the first step” - Michael T. Clarke Sr.
It’s time to start your own journey!
You’ve got this!