Everyone knows the importance of self-care however most people do not practice it on a daily basis. They may be participating in self-pampering or self-indulgence, but these are temporary fixes to a chronic issue. With the holidays approaching, it is important to remember that unless you make a conscious effort to put yourself first, you will continue down the path of stress and feeling overwhelmed. You must have a clear intention to take steps to nurture yourself in order to support others. As women, we tend to fall into the automatic role we have created for ourselves. This then leads us to placing others first, whether it’s our children, spouse, friends, or family members. It is not until we end up physically ill, fatigued, depressed, or frustrated that we take that moment to stop because we have no choice.
Well the choice is yours. You can choose to allow yourself to believe you come first and not feel guilty about it. You can choose to see yourself as important enough to refuel and reenergize in order to give what you have to offer to loved ones. Trust me, they will be thankful for it. We all feed off each other’s energy, so if you are moody, upset, or unhappy, those energies will have a domino effect to those around you. To change this dynamic you must accept your significance not just within your family and yourself but also in this life. Practicing self-care on a consistent basis improves overall health, makes one a better caregiver, and reduces stress.
What can you do to take better care of yourself? Well, first make the commitment to incorporate a self-care strategy at least once a week, and then slowly work up to a daily practice. Some strategies are:
• Meditation/Mindfulness- you don’t need to sit still for 20 minutes while listening to calming music. You can simply be mentally present in every activity you engage in throughout the day. This helps to focus the mind, which allows you to enjoy the moment and relax.
• Journal Writing- writing can give us clarity and organization to our thoughts, which leads to a more focused, less overwrought mind.
• Practice Self-Compassion- be kind to yourself; love yourself; accept your imperfections because that is what makes you perfect!
• Just Say No- you do not have to accept every invitation and be everyone’s go to person. For some it may be difficult at first to say no, however it becomes much easier when your realize the pressure has lessened and you have extra time for more enjoyable experiences.
As you integrate these strategies into your life people will begin to notice a change in you and some honestly will not like it, because they have become accustomed to how things are and change is not always easy for people. However, those who truly and unconditionally love and care about you will accept the new you and maybe follow in your footsteps.