Where do you put yourself on your list of priorities?
As women, we prioritize being great partners, wives, mothers, members of families, employees, business owners. We prioritize everyone's welfare and often neglect our needs. At recent events I attended, self-care has been a reoccurring topic. The urgency and need to have open conversations about self-care is imminent.
This past week I had a routine check-up with my doctor, and she reminded me that while I try to be there for everyone in my life, I need to prioritize self-care. We can only be our best when our self-care is on point. This blog post is an appeal for you to prioritize self-care and a personal reminder for me. I like the way HBR put it: "At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self.
What is self-care?
Let’s start with some definitions of self-care:
Benefits of Self-care
When you prioritize self-care, you reap many personal benefits such as:
Six self-care Tips
Some simple ways to start practicing self-care today include:
Discover your definition of self-care
Firstly, it's essential to find out what self-care means to you. During my research for this post, I came across very different interpretations or recommendations for self-care. Not all of them necessarily resonated with me. I realized that my definition of self-care differs from others. For example, learning is part of self-care for me, as it provides me the sense of fulfillment that I need. Spend time with yourself and discover what works for you. How do you take care of yourself?
A key self-care pillar is appreciating who you are, where you are today and celebrating your achievements. Acknowledging the wealth of skills, strengths, talents, knowledge, and experience that you already have empowers you. It is more natural to dwell on what you don't have or don't do well. That practice drains out your energy and is not an effective way of caring for yourself. How different would you feel if you build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down? Start valuing and celebrating yourself now.
Guard your resources
You have valuable resources such as your brainpower, energy, time, money and others which are limited. What are you doing to protect your limited resources? Are you applying your resources towards beneficial activities and avoiding waste?
I always thought I had no problem with saying "No" to requests that are not beneficial. After feeling overwhelmed with all that was happening in my life, I started learning that I wasn't saying "No" enough to the big things that impacted my life negatively. Once I started saying "No" to the right things I felt free of the commitments I made that weighed me down. Putting myself first and knowing how to guard my limited resources, freed up time to concentrate on what mattered more on my journey.
Enjoy the simple things
Have you been waiting for that big vacation or big event that will bring you joy? Consider going back to the small things that made you happy. If you enjoy reading, cooking, traveling, exercising, handcrafts or more - make time to do them.
Recently in a conversation with my friend I was telling her about how I missed doing some of the little things I enjoyed. I could not remember when last I saw a movie because I wanted to. So, I took the step and watched one of my choice. It might sound really small but to sit and enjoy the moment helped me feel refreshed for my week ahead.
Maintain the connections that matter
When last did you connect deeply with the people that matter in your life? We need the people in our lives. In our world where we communicate mainly through social media, we think to like a picture someone posted shows them we care. Do you know what is going on with your real friends and family?
I recently started reconnecting on a personal level with my circle. It's been life-changing to share our real experiences with one another, not the superficial things we share on Facebook or Instagram.
Schedule time to check in with yourself regularly
How is your relationship with yourself? Typically, when we get overwhelmed, it is a sign of us not being in touch with ourselves. Feeling stuck is often a sign that we have failed to evaluate what we need and cater to our need. How often do we get to spend quality time with ourselves? Make it official - schedule time with yourself to reflect on where you are, where you are headed and what you need on your journey. A few months ago, I started making time on Sunday evenings to order my thoughts. It has helped me get in touch with myself and identify areas where I need to re-adjust.