As a life coach, I often hear my clients talk about their exhaustion and not being able to set or meet goals because they have no time for themselves. I am a huge proponent of self-care, so in most cases, that is the first issue we tackle together. Self-care, simply, is taking time to nourish ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In doing so, we are then in a healthier place to focus, prioritize, get our needs met, and be available to others to meet theirs.
I have been a fairly disciplined person all my life (thanks to my dad) and I have established some habits for self-care that I thought I would share, in case you are struggling with exhaustion or just don’t seem to be able to move forward. You may not agree with the order of importance I have set for myself, but these are habits of self-care that work for me:
Set aside time, every day, preferably at the same time each day, to spend with your Creator. This may involve prayer, meditation, thanksgiving, listening to worship music, or some reading, but take at least a half hour to get centered, and start your day off right. If you don’t have time in the morning, perhaps you can spend the last half hour before your head hits the pillow, by doing this. I truly believe if you practice this type of self-care, your spirit and your attitude will be positive throughout the day and better help you face your challenges.
Our bodies are a temple. They are aging by the day, and we must take care of them. This includes paying attention to what we eat/drink, how we exercise, and if we get enough rest. Everyone has a different idea of what healthy eating looks like, and there is no “right” diet to follow, but perhaps you need to do a weekly evaluation of what your meals look like. You might want to increase the amount of water you drink, drop the diet sodas, skip the happy hours, and set a plan for exercise 3-4 times a week. This can and should include a variety of things – walking, running, dance class, yoga class, swimming, and weights. Do not try to do it all or you may injure yourself. Just try a bit of everything and be sure to mix it up so your body gets the full benefit. Also, get outside. Vitamin D is great for your health! Sitting on a couch with a remote is not. Finally, I cannot express enough the importance of rest. 8 hours a night. If you don’t have to pull a college all-nighter anymore, or stay up to watch videos on your phone, or check Facebook, don’t do it. Your body will pay later. Rest will help you focus and meet your challenges throughout the day. P.S. Get the annual check-ups….all of them!
Take time to evaluate your state of mind. Are you happy? Depressed? Lonely? Have healthy relationships? Many, many people cannot set or meet goals or get beyond today because they struggle emotionally. Some will definitely need professional help, or medication, or both, to stay balanced. This might include the help of a licensed counselor or coach. If you are lonely, join a group. Look at churches, community, meet-ups, and your own neighborhood. If you are struggling in a relationship (any type), consider setting boundaries. Boundaries are healthy in marriages, in parenting, at work, and in our friendships. If you have a relationship that is toxic or suffocating you, end it. Now. Sometimes happiness is not the goal, but contentment is. What makes you content? What are you passionate about? Dig deep in your soul search and start seeking the people, places and things that will bring you that contentment.
Be sure to feed your mind. The saying, “Garbage in, garbage out” is true. Pay attention to how you exercise and challenge your mind. What do you read? Watch? Listen to? How much time do you spend on social media, or playing video games? When is the last time you read a book? My goal is to read one per month, and I don’t count People or Us Weekly magazine. My grandmother and my mother both worked crossword puzzles daily, and I am sure it increased their knowledge and vocabulary. Neither went to college, but my mother wrote and published a book. If you find yourself bored, or with little to no time left to get all your goals accomplished, it’s probably because you are not taking care of your mind. Turn off the TV. Turn off Facebook. There is so much to explore and your brain will love you for it.
Self-care. It’s a simple concept, but so very few people pay attention to it. I hope today is the day that you decide you’re going to start. You’re worth it. Write and let me know if and when you incorporate these self-care habits and how it’s working for you. Be blessed