Author: Becky Sizelove
Put a spot of tea on, get your favorite cookies out and dive into a little discussion of self-care with me, if you will. Throughout most of my life, I've been the type to push myself to the limit and go full-steam ahead with a specific goal in mind. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I started to recognize this in myself and realized that I need balance. Everything in life requires balance. Taking on too much while not investing in what fills your soul with comfort makes one very burnt out individual. And that results in lack of creativity, passion and gumption. The opposite effect you're going for!
I've read many an article that claims millennials are obsessed with self-care, and suggest that is a bad thing. I disagree. I work for a hospice and we always stress the importance of self-care to caregivers. You can't pour from an empty cup. By investing time in yourself, you'll be better able to care for others. Being pregnant has taught me a lot about self-care. I think about self-care as a two-part practice: both investing in becoming a better person and improving oneself, and then also doing things like taking a bath to relax or spending some time in nature to clear your mind. These past eight months, I've essentially been forced to take care of my body - to stop work and eat a good meal or make sure I drink plenty of water and get enough rest. I am doing it for the sake of my growing son but I think it's important for everyone to do. I'm not perfect at practicing this balance, but I have a few suggestions to share that might help:
Find A Weekly Activity That Feeds Your Soul
Love nature walks? Or taking a bath? Carve out time every week to do an activity that relaxes you and feeds your soul (and that doesn't require technology). Unplug. Walking my dog at my favorite local path always clears my mind and refreshes me. I can breathe and just be with my thoughts. Maybe that's not your thing, but find an activity that rejuvenates you and stick with it!
Tune into what overextends you and set boundaries to prevent yourself from doing too much. Don't feel guilty for having limits, you're entitled to have a stopping point. If you respect what you need in relationships, work, etc., you'll be able to give the better part of yourself.
Invest in You
To be human is to be subjected to continuous training and reforming; to be incited to find both individuality and a social sense of self, to be a never-accomplished project. Always take time to work on being the best you. It's part of self-care! Be the person you're proud to be. It's never too late to try that thing you've always wanted to try, change careers or work on fixing a bad habit.
Prepare for Things That Upset You
This might not fall under self-care, but it's something that I think honors your feelings, which is part of caring for yourself. Throughout my pregnancy people have made comments that I look bigger than I should. Whatever that means! It kept making me feel awkward and also upset. I felt like I looked just as I should and always felt put on the spot with nothing to say back. So, I came up with a couple statements to reply with. It made me stop dreading someone asking me how far along I was. It made me more confident. If there's a situation you know always bothers you, get proactive and find a solution before it happens. It will smooth out the situation.
Be Kind to Yourself
Say nice things to yourself, give yourself some credit. Remember what you're grateful for. Treat yourself to your favorite food or activity. Take a day where you do all your favorite things. When you're stressed and can't see the end of the tunnel, stop. Go outside for a walk or get gelato. Give yourself permission to unwind. Refresh.
Don't be Afraid to Make a Difficult Decision That Falls to Your Favor
When choosing between a rock and a hard place, go with the option that honors what is best for your life. Stay true to what you need.
So that's my list. I hope it helps! If you have any handy self-care practices to share, comment below!