Self-Care: Make it Work for You!

Self-Care is not a four letter word (or rather two words), its not some crazy new fad either. Self-care is a part of life that many people take for granted. They may think, “sure, I’ll take care of myself! (right after I take care of the hundred other things on my list!)”. But is the that the right place for self-care? At the bottom of that list? Today we’re going to take a look at some things you can do to move self-care up on the list and start making it work for you!

  1. The first thing to do is to understand what self-care is. It may seem obvious, but self-care is taking care of yourself! Self-care is about identifying your personal care needs and following through on them. There are lots of things that we can do to be our best selves that we end up putting off or deeming unimportant. Self-care can be different things for different people. For some people it may be eating healthier foods or exercising more. For others it may be seeing a health care (or mental health care) professional, or spending more time with friends and family. Figuring out what self-care means for you is the first step in making it work for you. Take a minute to think of some things that you would like to do for yourself in ideal circumstances.
  2. The next step in making self-care work for you is understanding how important self-care is. If you take time for yourself you will feel more refreshed, satisfied and better able focus on other things. One way to envision this is to think about the old saying ‘You can’t pour from an empty pitcher’ This is so true! If there is no water in the pitcher (love, patience, time) how can you give it to others? You need to fill yourself up first. Why do you think all those big tech companies encourage their employees to play ping pong or go on bike rides during work hours? They know the secret to success is to have a full pitcher to pour from. Schedule some time for self-care today and test it out for yourself.
  3. Okay, now that we understand the importance of self-care let’s talk about how you can get it done. Usually it starts with dedicating some time to yourself. This may seem impossible when you feel overwhelmed or like your schedule is too full, but this is actually the most important time to prioritize self-care. Think of that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off or the yoga class you never seem to make it to. You probably spend a lot of time thinking about ways you would like to care for yourself. Now is the time to plan it, to actually block off that time (whether its 15 minutes or a whole day). Set the intention, put it in your schedule. You are a lot more likely to follow through if it is written down somewhere in black and white. What exactly are you going to do? When? and for how long?
  4. Accountability- how to make it stick. A lot of times people come up with lofty goals but when it comes to follow-through have a hard time sticking with it. There are a few things you can do to help improve your staying power when it comes to self-care. One thing is to spread the word, let other people know what you plan to do so they can help hold you accountable by checking in (or include them in your plan!). Another thing that helps is starting small, taking a few small steps and experiencing success will have you ready to take on bigger challenges. Finally, don’t let set-backs keep you down! Everyone has days where they don’t get as much done as they had hoped. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t let that stop you from trying again!

Good luck on your self-care journey. Hopefully you have learned how to make self-care work for you and your life. Remember that there is only one you, and you only get one body and one mind so take care of them! If you start to feel selfish taking time for yourself, just remember that if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to care for anyone else!