5 Powerful Self-Care Actions That Level-Up Your Life
What will you do today to prioritize your own health and wellbeing?
It’s no surprise to anyone that 2020/21 has been an incredibly tough year. We have all suffered to varying degrees. Whether it’s losing full-time employment, gaining weight, or taking a hit mentally because of a Covid lock-down.
Though I was lucky enough to keep my full-time career. There were challenges in daily life — work-related study, dealing with grief after my wife lost a loved one, as well as trying to develop my writing skills. Trying to give them the time I thought they deserved was much harder than I expected.
I felt exhausted. Staying up late. Drinking more than I should have. Eating what I shouldn’t be. It was a recipe for self-sabotage. I was lacking the self-respect I needed to do anything about it. The consequence of my actions was the risk of burnout but ultimately, a waste of my time and potential.
Prioritizing self-care was the recipe for success. Learning new daily healthy habits was the goal. Having a plan in place by choosing a couple of self-care routines that would become self-care non-negotiables helped me shift my mindset to create a greater me.
The results were astounding and far easier to implement than I expected. I felt a weight being lifted off me, helping me see with the clarity I needed to gain back control of my life.
I focused on one at a time, choosing just one essential tip that was the easiest to implement before moving on to the next.
Weave these 5 self-care tips into your daily routine and start making YOU the priority again.
1. Put yourself first
When was the last time you put yourself at the top of your priority ladder? It’s yourself you’re responsible for. Putting other people ahead of yourself ultimately leads to sacrificing your own happiness.
“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” ~Dodinsky
There is nothing selfish about putting yourself ahead of anybody else. I’m not saying you should not care about anyone else. There is honorability in being selfless, which brings a sense of pride and accomplishment. I’m talking about when you have reached the point where you are neglecting the things that make you tick. Things that pick you up and make you whole. Exercise your mind, body, and soul.
It could be as easy as devoting a portion of the day just for you. Quiet time away from the demanding pressures of everyday life can quiet the mind. Learn a new skill. Spend a weekend away, just for yourself, or with a loved one. Spend time on your body, Exercise, and nutrition. Not because you must, but because you want to. Exercise the soul. Mindfulness when done right can be of tremendous benefit. We begin to see ourselves for who we are. Treat your soul to some love, respect, and patience.
2. Surround yourself with people that lift you up
There is a saying, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Ask yourself. Who are these people? What if they were dragging you down? Are they supporting you to be the person you want to be?
I believe that the image you project is the image you reflect. If you project a positive image of yourself, then you are more likely to attract people that have the same positive attitude and outlook on life.
Success loves company. Surround yourself with people from who you can learn. People who will lift you up. Be the person you want to become and be around.
3. Always speak to your inner self positively
Most of us are familiar with that voice in our heads. The one that greets us in the morning when you look in the mirror. It Tells you-you are not attractive enough, or too old. When you are at work, everyone is better than you. You know nothing. Your inner critic is more than happy to bring you down, demoralize you. Make yourself feel a far lesser person than you deserve.
It’s hard to ignore your inner critic. But acknowledging when it rears its head is half the battle. The trick with the other half is knowing how to keep it in check. Look for truthful evidence from your friends and colleagues. Your inner critic is telling you things that are not a reflection of reality.
In the book Playing Big, Tara Mohr talks about giving your inner critic a character. Whether it’s the perfect housewife or a grumpy stern old professor. Adopting a character will make it easier for you to identify when your inner critic surfaces Helping you shut them down. With practice, your character will refrain from revealing itself. Helping you become more confident, reassured, and proud of yourself.
4. Self-care non-negotiables
I asked a friend the other day who was feeling under the weather, what he was doing to look after himself. He told me he always made sure he got at least 7 hours’ sleep. Eight or nine hours if he could manage it. He also made sure he drank at least 2 liters of water a day. I said that it sounded like he had a few self-care non-negotiables.
He wasn’t thinking of his daily routine in that way. He just felt that they were something he did, which helped him feel good.
Most people have self-care non-negotiables. Maybe they don’t even know it. It’s just something they have a habit of doing every day. These could be not consuming sugar, walking for at least 30 minutes a day, or calling a friend or family member at least once a week.
If you want to add to your list of non-negotiables. Make sure they reflect your own values and principles. If they don’t, it’s going to be harder to keep to them. They must also come naturally to you. They must feel like a natural extension of your being.
Having a few self-care non-negotiables lets you lay a foundation for simple, healthy practices that you commit to daily. Leading to a fuller, healthier lifestyle.
5. Quick-fire self-care essentials
Surround yourself with plants
Studies have shown a remarkable connection between daily contact with nature and the perceived decrease in stress and generalized health outcomes. Plants clean the air, help reduce stress, and help increase productivity amongst many other benefits.
Lead a minimalist life
Remember when your mum demanded you go tidy your room? Maybe there is something in that. I’m not suggesting you go all Marie Kondo on yourself. I’m talking about the small things. Clearing shoes and bags from the floor. Put the dishes away and spring clean the house. A tidy house equals a tidy mind.
Refill your water bottle
This one is easy. Drink more water. Have a go-to water bottle. Heck! Have three. One for work and one for home, and one for the car. Have them within easy reach. Make sure they are kept full. Water is everything. Water is life.
Looking back, the realization that I had to change was staring me in the face. Every morning I would look in the mirror and give myself a talking to. I needed to exercise some self-care, show myself some self-respect, and prioritize myself over others.
Identifying the areas that I needed to focus on, I created a plan. I felt tremendous. I have so much more energy and I am feeling like my concentration levels have gone to the next level. My only regret was I didn’t do it sooner.