If you’re one of my clients, you are probably rolling your eyes right now because you know it’s coming….self-care. But here’s the thing: You still don’t get it!
Maybe you think you do it already but chances are, you’re wrong. You work harder than you sleep, eat more than you burn, play less than you stress. You aren’t hearing me.
Stress is a proxy killer. Stress is connected to heart disease, high blood pressure, colitis, sexual issues, strokes, diabetes, insomnia, migraines, depression, alcoholism, suicide, irritable bowel syndrome, panic disorders and so many more. It’s time to take control of your health, decrease your stress and take care of self.
This is going to seem basic but most of you are not even addressing your most basic human needs (rest, nourishment, movement, sustenance). There is no one-size-fits-all plan for physical health but we know the basics. Start drinking more water on purpose. Start taking the stairs on purpose. Start going to bed without the TV and lights on. Start adding a vegetable to your meals. Make the commitment to yourself. You are the engine that keeps things moving, without you, you bottom out!
This is a tough one. You’re already managing stress somehow. It may not feel like it. First, you have to identify what you’re doing to manage stress now and assess if it’s working for you. Maybe it’s food or alcohol? Maybe it’s lashing out at your kids? Maybe it’s withdrawing from your spouse? You must first identify those things that you are using to survive your stress in order to replace them with more positive, more effective means of stress management.
Honor Emotional/Spiritual Need
You may not believe it but this is the one that people miss most. This can be done in many different ways and I would encourage you to create your own outline but begin by following these basic steps:
- Enjoy Moments Alone: You may be the type of person who doesn’t like being alone. Discover a way to love to be with yourself. This may be investing in a book or meditating but try to enjoy something about being alone. Challenge what you believe about yourself and don’t worry, self-nurture does not mean selfish.
- Try developing a positive mission statement for your life that you can claim every day. As an example: “I am a beautiful person and I have a lot to share. I will self-nurture so that I may pour into others, that my world would be in balance. I will uphold my truth. I will love myself deeply. I will love others deeply, I will serve my purpose as _______________ today. I have a right to be happy, successful and loved.”
- Discover faith: The American Psychological Association tells us that there is duality to religion and spirituality–that they can be a vital resource of health and well-being, but they may also be a source of distress where individuals feel shame in re-framing their faith as they adjust in crisis. In this same article, we understand that there is ample empirical support for spirituality as a strength in the context of crisis. Side step the shame in exploring your faith by discovering a faith in something bigger than you. Faith in God. Faith in Humanity. Explore your faith and what it means. Ask questions and find answers.
Self-care can be largely outside of yourself. Rediscover old friendships, make amends, foster new relationships. Perhaps, you have lost relationship with yourself. Maybe you have drifted away from family or maybe you need to. Re-evaluate your friendships. Teach yourself how to say “no” and put up boundaries where they are needed. Be accepting and kind of the new people you meet. Having a solid group of friends and supportive family increases feelings of positivity when crisis strikes.
Balance Personal & Work Life
A great way to create work life balance is to develop a Mastery (or two!) in your personal life! This is simply developing a new knowledge or skill. Maybe for you it’s learning a new language, taking a class or learning to knit. This mentality does several positive things for the human mind:
- It develops patience: New skills take practice, you have to be in a willing mindset to take on something new. It promotes deep thinking, requires devotion and demands focus.
- It allows for mistakes: We need to learn to be okay with making mistakes. Mistakes are life’s greatest lessons and making them helps us develop our truth. We have to swallow our pride, be taken down a peg and become humbled.
- It’s ours: We may mess up, screw up or even give up but the point of Mastery is that it’s YOURS. You create it. You do it. You own it!
So as you can see, self-care isn’t just going to get your nails done. It has facets and layers. It takes time and dedication. But you deserve it!