As humans, especially those of us who are women, we spend a lot of time taking care of other people: our children, our spouses, our aging parents. The one person who often comes at the bottom of that list is ourselves.
In order to care for others, however, we must first care for ourselves.
The first thing you must do is make sure your basic needs are being met: are you eating enough, getting enough sleep, well hydrated? Have you been taking care of your basic hygiene needs? Are you moving your body, even if it’s just a short walk around your house a few times a day? Sometimes when our lives spin out of control, we neglect to care for our most basic needs, and when we start to take care of items on the checklist of basic needs, we realize that right away we feel better. It’s amazing what a shower and a good meal will do for you when your stress levels are high, or how a good night sleep will rejuvenate you at the end of a long week.
The next thing to consider are your emotional needs. This looks different for everyone. Perhaps you need to spend some time hanging out with your best friends. Maybe a date with your spouse is in order? Sometimes it helps to keep a journal and chronicle your thoughts and feelings. Maybe you have a couple of friends who you regularly correspond with and you are due for a lengthy letter or email.
Quiet time is another great way to indulge in self care. This can come in the form of meditation, or breathing exercises. You could go for a walk in nature, by yourself or with another person. You could do yoga or other stretching exercises designed to focus on your body and gentle movements, which meets several needs. You can go to a quiet spot in your house and just sit for a few minutes, either with your eyes closed, or enjoying the view out the window. You could go to a place of worship or somewhere quiet and pray.
Leisure activities are another form of self care. It may seem selfish to take time for hobbies when you have deadlines piling up, and demands on your time going unanswered. That is when it is most important. Set a timer if you need to and work for 25 or 50 minutes, and then spend 5 or 10 minutes doing something you enjoy. Block out an hour on a weekend afternoon for leisure activities. Make a date with yourself to spend an entire afternoon once a month doing only fun things that you enjoy, and then don’t break it.
Join the Email List
Subscribe to get my latest content by email, and I'll send you FIVE things to consider when caring for yourself: because you can't care for others if you don't care for yourself first.