More than ever, we need self care right now. We are living in difficult times right now and I think it is crucial to remember that despite everything that could happen to us. We must make time to take care of ourselves a priority.
I know what you think : I do not have time to take care of myself! Well, I'm here to tell you that putting self care at the bottom of your priority list is what contributes greatly to your general exhaustion and low mood.
It is extremely important.
Take care of yourself, it does not mean going on a 6 month yoga retreat in India. It's the small everyday actions that can make a huge difference in your daily well-being.
All of that is fine, but concretely, how do you make self care a priority in your life? I've done my research and I've concocted 10 easy ways for you to take care of yourself as often as possible!
1. What is self care for you?
There are many misconceptions about the practice of self care circulating in our media. Self-care can be totally different from person to person. It's not necessarily a day at the spa and a massage for everyone. In fact, it is simply an action that an individual can take in order to take care of their mental, physical or emotional health. (ISF).
These actions can take the form of physical activity, hobbies, bodily and mental hygiene, nutrition, etc.
Basically, it's the basis of our health ! It is the grouping of activities that we can do in order to take care of ourselves before having to consult the other levels of our health system. It is a huge component to our overall health and if not taken seriously it can have huge consequences. Did you know that 70% to 95% of diseases can be controlled only through self care? This is why it is very important to understand the concept in order to take care of yourself properly!
So, now that you understand what self care is and its importance, what does it represent for you? What actions can you take (or are already taking) that do you good? What are you looking forward to doing on a daily basis? Who do you like to spend your time with?
It is crucial to do this introspection before establishing your self-care rituals. If reading isn't something that makes you feel good, why would you want to incorporate it into your routine as "self-care"? You have to know yourself well in order to be able to establish your priorities correctly, period.
2. Don't forget boring self-care
Make an appointment for your annual checkup with the doctor, do the dishes, take a shower, pay your taxes, renew your driver's license, pay off your debts, etc.
Does it hurt your eyes to read this?
It shouldn't! Staying rigorous in your daily tasks may seem difficult and exhausting, but really, you are taking care of yourself! Although you may not enjoy them, these tasks are important to lead you on the path to a balanced and organized life.
Think of all the problems and stress that would be caused if you didn't take care to do these chores?
So the next time you drink your glass of water or do your housework, think of it as self-care. Not a chore done only out of obligation! You will see, it will do you good.
3. Do your activities outside
It is proven, spending time in nature offers great benefits to our brain. Benefits that would even be comparable to meditation!
No need to hike 3 hours up the mountain to see the benefits. You can simply try doing some of your chores outside or just take a short walk during your lunch hour.
Besides, why not take advantage of our telecommuting to work outside a bit! Bring your laptop with you and spend an hour a day checking your email outside. It will do you great good!
You can also kill two birds with one stone by getting used to to exercise outdoors. Personally, I find that there is nothing better than doing my daily yoga practice outside. When the weather allows me, I try to do it as often as possible! Come on, get the dumbbells and the yoga mat out on the balcony, you'll thank me later.
4. Eat in a group (if possible)
No more dinners in front of the television! No need to make fancy dinners, but if you live as a couple or with your family it is very important to make dinners an integral part of your day.
Indeed, eating in a group refers to the feeling of sharing. It's a great opportunity to sit back, relax, eat well and decant the events of the day with your loved ones. Our lives move so fast, we don't always have the chance to take the time to stop and chat with those we love. What a shame !
I understand that it is not realistic to schedule time in the middle of your day to talk with your loved ones. But if you all live under the same roof, you have to eat well, right? Why not make this activity a moment of relaxation and sharing? It doesn't have to be long and you have to have supper anyway!
Personally, I was fortunate to be raised in an environment where supper was sacred. Even if everyone spent the whole day doing these things, without necessarily talking to each other. We always met around the table at dinner to relax and talk about our day.
I must confess that I am now addicted to this kind of supper. No matter what day of the week, I can't eat dinner without dim lighting and background music! "Call me crazy" but it's really relaxing! Try it, you won't be able to do without it!
I understand that this is not accessible for all due to this pandemic. On the other hand, even if you cannot currently do it, I strongly recommend that you implement this kind of supper in your life as soon as you can!
5. Create a daily self-care ritual
If you want to take a step further in your self care process. A good idea would be to create a mini daily self-care routine. No need to be long. A little 10-20 min ritual that you can repeat morning, evening or whenever you feel like it!
It should be a routine that you look forward to doing every day since you will associate it with relaxation time.
For me, my morning yoga is my sacred little ritual. I can't wait to do it, since I know it's a meditation for me and I love the feeling of physical and mental relaxation it gives me.
For you, it may be something else. For example: reading a few pages of a good book, lighting a small candle and drinking a good tea, listening to your favorite show. Anything ! It's so simple, yet so powerful.
6. Plan self-care into your schedule
We can't be sure Latte Blue without talking about planning. ;) Yes, planning your self care rituals in your to-do list will go a long way to making it a priority in your life.
Treat it like any other task on this list: it has to be done! If you're like me and you're addicted to diaries and planners, it will be all the easier to fit everything into your schedule! It's a great way to get a visual reminder of what will give you the little kick in the ass you need to take care of yourself.
Start by planning your basic self care elements and gradually you will be able to implement your daily ritual and more!
7. Don't associate your self-care as a chore
Although I tell you to put it on your agenda as part of your to-do list. Self care should never be seen as a chore.
Let's say you had something self-care scheduled on your schedule like putting on a face mask or writing in your journal, but you're way too tired to do it. Simply don't do it!
In cases like this, not doing this action and going to bed or taking a nap will be an act of self care in itself.
Be indulgent with yourselves! Remember that taking care of yourself should always feel good. Not the opposite.
8. Take a break from social media
Okay, this one is obvious. Even though we'll probably never get rid of our social media. It is important to detox it once in a while.
Not only will taking a break benefit you, but it will also help you live more intentionally and enjoy your present moment.
Also consider changing your use of social media. Over time, we tend to accumulate a lot of subscriptions that no longer look like you in our subscription lists.
Clean up! Instead, follow accounts that make you feel good and the content reaches you. You will be in a better position to interact a little more with these accounts and have a much more positive view of your social networks.
This will have a direct impact on your well-being. It's a real act of self care!
You are not selfish if you take care of yourself
Some of you will certainly find yourself in this. Especially those who, like me, always think of other people's feelings before their own. You don't neglect others by taking time for yourself. On the contrary, you are doing them a favor!
If you constantly put the needs of others ahead of your own, you will burn out. Feeling stressed and burnt out, there's no way to be fully present with your loved ones and gift them quality time with you.
I understand. I am the same.
However, you must understand that it is impossible to be 100% productive all the time. It's just not sustainable. You have to learn to let go. Otherwise, you will wear yourself out until you are unable to complete any of your precious tasks. Take a breath: It's okay to take breaks. Even they will do you a lot of good and help increase your productivity in the future!
Don't wait until you're at the end of your rope to take time for yourself. You are your number one priority. Treat yourself as such! Scheduling recurring drive time will only bring you benefits. So, what are you waiting for?
10. Let your emotions guide your actions
The last thing on the list, but not the least. Your emotions, let them go! It is extremely bad for you to bottle up your feelings. Indeed, there is a correlation between the stress caused by the suppression of emotions, cardiovascular diseases and several autoimmune diseases.
As discussed in my article on the importance of following your intuition. Your resentments are excellent pieces of information to guide you towards the actions you really want to take.
By taking the time to slow down and listen to ourselves, we leave room for introspection and listening to ourselves. All extremely important components of self-care. We will be able to better understand our emotions and recognize them when they arise. You can also begin to identify tools to better manage them and thus achieve important well-being in your life.
Your emotions also give you very important information about your needs when it comes to self-parking. For example, if you had planned a date with friends to relax, but you really feel that you need to stay home and have a movie night. Listen to yourself! Don't force yourself to do things that you no longer feel are right for you.
So slow down and take the time to feel. You will find healthy ways to release the pressure.
Implement self care in your life, for good!
With the end of this pandemic which seems to be pointing the tip of its nose. I would like to invite you to make a long-term commitment to your journey to a balanced life. Please don't stop taking care of yourself because you are no longer confined to the house!
You will see the benefits even when life resumes. By using these 10 ways to make self care a priority in your life. You won't have any reason to put it off any longer!