It’s so important to make sure you are taking care of your body, mind and soul every day. Practicing self-care isn’t always easy and is usually the last thing on our agenda. Most of us are crazy busy with taking care of our kids and house, stressful jobs, or consuming too much technology that we don’t make time for ourselves. And the worse thing about it, we feel guilty about taking the time to take care of ourselves! That’s why self-care can be so challenging.The good thing is, there are so many things you can do to engage in self-care. Here are 5 things I think are very important when it comes to self-care.
Take 5 Minutes To Decompress Every Day – It’s important to take time to breathe. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as easy as simply putting the phone or any other device a way for five minutes and just sit in your own thoughts. I personally like to take a 5-10 minute break from my desk each day, and go for a walk outside. It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to conquer my next task. I also take time to be in my own thoughts as I commute to and from work. It gives me time to reflect on the day and think about how I want to show up as a leader, mom and wife when I talk through the door.
Move Your Body – Make it a point to engage in physical activities you enjoy every single day. Changing your physical state from sedentary to active is a fulfilling way to take care of yourself. It can be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break, running, swimming or attending a yoga class. The most important thing when choosing a form of exercise is make sure it brings you some level of happiness. You should not make yourself run if you hate running. I personally love getting up early in the morning and getting my workout done right away. It makes me feel awake and energized and sets my day up for success, also there is no time for excuses to be made. If I wait to do it later in the day I tend to find a million excuses not to.
Say “No” – Learning to say no is really hard, many of us feel obligated to say yes. It can be rewarding to have a full calendar, but it’s also important to know when to say “no.” If you are feeling run down or spread thin, grant yourself some downtime. By taking the necessary time to recharge you will be able to return to your regular schedule with increased energy. When deciding if you should do something or not, ask yourself if the request or activity is aligned with your values or will it bring you happiness. I recently heard at a conference if it’s not a “Hell Yes!” it’s a “Hell No!”
Eat Healthy – When thinking of self-care and food you might envision treating yourself to cupcakes, chips or pasta. While I certainly encourage you to treat yourself once in a while, you should think of self-care and food in the form of more sustainable foods that will make you feel energetic and strong. Start thinking of food as a way to fuel your body, and how it can directly affect your mood and energy level and also your quality of life. Personally this is something that I struggle with, but in the last year as I am trying to perform at high levels I am realizing how important my diet is to making me feel energized. Let’s work on this one together!
Sleep – A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel both emotionally and physically. Some tips for a better night sleep include: reduce blue light exposure two hours before going to bed, don’t consume caffeine late in the day, reduce long daytime naps, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, take a relaxing bath or shower and find time to clear your mind by listening to relaxing music or reading a book. I was really struggling being consistent with my night time routine, so I set an alarm on my phone to go off every night at 8pm because my goal is to be asleep by 9pm. This has helped tremendously! In the last hour I eliminate all blue light exposure, read a book then practice a visualization exercise of my dreams and goals.
You must schedule your self-care time, and guard that time with everything you have. It can be hard to find the extra time, but it’s extremely important we regularly schedule our self-care time. Look for small ways to incorporate it into your daily life; for example, wake up an hour earlier to have time to yourself before the kids get up, or block off time during your lunch break to exercise. You could also ask your spouse to take the kids to the park, while you take a bubble bath and read a book. Or even ask a friend to watch your kids while you go get a massage or pedicure, then volunteer to watch her kids while she goes shopping at Target. Be creative in how you get it in, but just make sure you do. You will be a better parent, spouse, employee, leader if you take care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish activity – it’s a way you can better position yourself to help others.