Self-care has become a buzz word that you most likely have heard. In our lives of ever-growing demands on our time, work and family obligations, and navigating the changes we are seeing in our world, it makes self-care more important than ever. Self-care is like a cup. You have to keep your cup full because life is constantly emptying your resources. Stress happens, your cup gets emptied. What are you going to do to refill it, to keep yourself operating at your best?
Physical Aspects of Self-Care
Make sure you get enough sleep – 6-8 hours is average
Try to avoid refined sugars, processed foods and limit alcohol
Go for a walk, ride a bike, move your body
Self-care is basically parenting yourself. There are physical aspects to self-care. Making sure you get enough sleep. Some people require less, some people require more but around 6-8 hours is average. Eating a balanced diet. Avoiding refined sugar, energy drinks, processed food. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit alcohol use. Get outside and get some fresh air. Now is the time. Soak up some vitamin D. Exercise. Just move your body. If you are able to walk or bike instead of drive, do it. Yoga, stretching, swimming, hiking with the dog.
Mental Aspects of Self-Care
Limit bad influences and those that don’t build you up.
Surround yourself with positive influences that help build you up.
Find Someone to Talk To
Everyone needs help from time to time.
There are mental health aspects of self-care as well. Set boundaries with those individuals who you know are not good for you. People who are a bad influence, who tear you down instead of build you up, or don’t respect you and your needs. Yes, it’s ok to set boundaries with family members also. Identify and surround yourself with people who build you up and support you. This helps keep your cup full. Find people you can trust so you can talk about how you are feeling. There is value in being able to release what you hold inside. You don’t have to handle your problems on your own. Seeking a counselor is a sign of courage. Everyone needs help from time to time and sometimes you need an unbiased person to help you navigate what’s going on in your life, a fresh pair of ears to hear you and give you a perspective you hadn’t thought of before.
Feed Your Soul
Find the things that feed your soul. Part of self-care is making time to do the things that you are passionate about. Are there things you love to do but don’t feel you have time anymore? Make the time. Are there new things you always wanted to try but you never felt the time was right? Stop dreaming and do it. Finish the beading project you started 12 months ago. Read the book you have sitting next to your bed. Take your children or grandchildren fishing. Take yourself fishing. Learn a new skill. Quilting, wood working, gardening, kayaking, horse riding. Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and journaling, but it can be those things too. Find the things that feed your soul.
Find time for hobbies you enjoy, whether that’s reading a great book, fishing or beading. Set aside time for activities you are passionate about.
Good self-care is about moderation and balance. Balancing all aspects of your life. Draw a pie chart on a piece of paper and divide according to where your daily or weekly time is spent. The visual of this can be quite enlightening. If work time is the biggest piece of pie and your self-care is a sliver, it might be time to reevaluate. Work is important, don’t get me wrong, but you have to have a balance between all aspects of your life in order to keep your cup full.