We are all affected by what is in the news and what others are talking about. Many of the people I work with have been triggered by recent events. When triggered self-care is hard. Even women in their 90’s can remember deeply buried events. Each of us has an obligation to listen, believe, help others process and let go of what happened to them, even if it is 70 years before.
An important question that each person any gender or age has to answer no matter what is going on in the news – Do I really take care of myself?
Do you take good care of yourself?
America has a National Women’s Health Week. Why? Because when a woman is unwell then the whole community is not thriving. Whether you’re in your 20s or your 90s, National Women’s Health Week has you covered not just for a week but the whole year.
If asked the question “Do you take care of yourself”, can you honestly say yes?
Of course, we’d all liked to say “yes, I do take care of myself”, and sometimes we honestly think we do take care of ourselves. However, the level of self-care you practice may not be adding to a long and healthy life.
Some lifestyle choices that can lead to premature aging are well known: Any sort of addiction including addictions to work, gambling, social media, etc; self-medicating through drinking and drugs, poor nutrition, and stress.
Self-care is a priority
This week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life. But it is just as important for men as it is for women to empower their self healing.
First of all, you need to make yourself a priority. The bottom line, if you do not care for yourself, then you can not care for anyone else.
How to Make Time for Self-Care (Even if you’re Super-Busy)
It can be hard to find time for self-care, especially if you work a full-time job and have other family commitments to deal with. But, it is crucially important that you find a way to make some time for you. Self-care is important for both your physical, emotional and mental health. So, here are some ways you can make time for self-care, even if you are very busy.
Get up earlier, even just by 5 minutes
Recall the Ben Franklin quote of “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” One great way of making more time for self-care is to get up earlier. I know, a few extra hours of sleep sounds too good to pass up; but, once you get used to waking up early, you will be glad you did. Waking up early allows you to create a good morning routine. To pray, meditate, stretch, to take a walk, to sit and read, eat a healthy breakfast, get in a good morning workout, or do a variety of other self-care activities. Of course, this means making sure you go to bed early enough each night to get enough rest!
Set a schedule and stick to it
One of the biggest reasons people feel like they don’t have time is that they don’t bother budgeting the time they have. If you make a detailed plan, then you will find that you can squeeze in some self-care, even at the busiest times. It’s all about priorities.
For example, look through your calendar and find your next day off – literally write some self-care activities into your calendar. This will stop you from being tempted to let work or chores run into your personal “me time”.
Ditch the distractions
It can be tempting to just zone out and binge-watch or check Facebook or all the other social media but if you do it too much it’s not going to do you much good. Instead, use this time on something that nurtures your mind instead. Give yourself a goal before you turn on the computer or television. For example, you could pledge to yourself that you’ll do 10 minutes of meditation before your favorite distraction.
Focus on the little things
It can be difficult to make time for things like full-blown workout sessions, but it is much easier to make time for a small 15-minute walk or jog. If you are struggling to make time for self-care, try setting aside time for very small self-care activities. Instead of reading or listening to a whole book, try just reading a chapter. Instead of exercising for an hour, try and find time for a quick 10 to 15-minute workout session or just stand up regularly from the computer.
Once you have set up the time for self-care then check out a fun quiz about your health. What is your health score?
Notice what habits you have
Oftentimes habits can blind you to suboptimal care. In many cases, self-care can even be regarded as neglect. Yes, circumstances may force you to spend less time on yourself than you would like, and there are usually dozens of reasons why.
However, before you can make a conscious effort to improve the level of care you give to yourself, you need to realize the areas you are deficient in. Self-care may be eluding you if you find yourself doing any of the following things:
1. Judging Yourself and Others
Humans tend to slap labels on almost anything, therefore judging something to be good, bad, black, white, up, down. In reality, nothing is just one label. It is all a question of perspective.
Having to be perfect is stressful. If you procrastinate at work
because you are a perfectionist or worry about getting judged, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect; It just something that you are proud of and completed by your deadline.
3. Clock watching
Clock watching is unhealthy. If you are constantly waiting for time to pass, you miss living in the moment. If you focus on anticipating the next event and what could happen, you can put yourself in a state of anxiety. Trust that there is only so much you can do to prepare; the rest will take care of itself. Additionally, do not be a slave to your schedule. Leave time for things that will rest and rejuvenate you, including things that you love, and savoring those things in the moment.
4. Doing not Being
Are you constantly doing instead of being? Constant doing – you know, the list: helping the kids, cleaning, working overtime, etc. On those rare moments when you have free time, you end up watching TV. Always doing slowly drains energy, reduces health and emotional wellness.
“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
5. Living in the Future
Do you spend all your time chasing after the future you want? Are you living in the future, instead of living in the now? This can cause a build-up of anger and frustration to build. Making money for the down payment on a dream house could easily be the reason for you getting frustrated and feeling like a giant hamster running in a wheel all the time.
Go with the flow. Not to worry, most people have trouble going with the flow, living life moment by moment and taking life as it comes. But all effort going against the flow will be exhausting as well as stressful as you try to hold everything together. Feeling like your life is out of your control can be overwhelming. Add a mindful practice to your life to help ease the need to fixate on things you can’t control.
If you find yourself putting the needs of every single person ahead of your own, you are exhibiting a classic sign of self-neglect. By prioritizing the needs of everyone in your life and putting yourself last, you find yourself being burnt out or resenting doing anything altogether. Though nobody likes a selfish hog, let’s be realistic – you have to put yourself first sometimes. You may end up unable to do anything for anyone if you continue to constantly put yourself last, not to mention resenting all the people you out ahead of yourself. It creates a completely unhealthy cocktail.
If you feel guilty for spending time on your appearance, again, self-care may be eluding you. You have the right to spend time on yourself if that means indulging in a bubble bath for an hour, or moisturizing and doing weekly pedicures, do not feel guilty. It is a necessary part of your overall care and personal mental health.
Take some time every weekend to arrange your work outfits for the coming week. This involves picking out accessories, shoes and ironing your clothes if needed.
Not having a small circle of closely knit friends is another obvious, however sometimes overlooked, symptom of poor self-care. Whether this is your choice (or excuse) or something forced upon you by family, it is not healthy and ultimately affects your wellbeing. Good friends are not only there through the good times, but to also help you through the bad and can be an invaluable part of your well-being.
Feeling Unfulfilled – Go get it
You may be grown, have a home and money in the bank, but still have the sinking feeling that you have achieved nothing or not enough in life. This could be the result of personal un-fulfillment. Perhaps you never got the chance to complete your education, pursue a passion, or maybe you simply do not find your career to be rewarding. Well, guess what- there is no better time than now to get up and go after whatever it is that would fulfill you. What needs to be kept in mind is the fact that no other person can achieve this for you. Go get it!
Movement – Exercise
Sitting all the time is one of the more serious symptoms of poor self-care, as it directly affects your well-being on an emotional and physical level. Lack of exercise may cause fatigue, can negatively affect health, reduce the quality of life, and harm your appearance. Exercise performed just a few times a week can help you maintain healthy body weight and body composition, and is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
notice when Life Is A Chore
Another symptom that could sum up the disdain you have for yourself could be a lack of joy. You can experience this when living simply brings you no real pleasure. When you are just going through the motions of life, without truly finding joy in the day-to-day moments. If you don’t stop to take in the views on your way to work or you don’t experience joy from the little things your kids or grandkids may do or only look forward to going to bed. Feeling as if life has no real purpose can be not only sad but starts a cycle of negativity that can spiral into depression.
This is a behavioral red flag to change something in your life
Self Care is Self Love
Self-care is what is needed now. For some self-care comes second nature, but for many of us, we have trained ourselves into not making good self-care choices. Over generations, these human self-care instinctual behaviors have been replaced with “politically correct” habits and a robotic pursuit of daily living.
You may need to be more selfish with your time and lifestyle choices. Think about yourself in the long term. Remember the prayer “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Meet your needs and desires through taking care of yourself. It can only serve to make you happier, healthier and more content.
In truth, self-care is community care. Empowered Self Healing
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