SELF CARE: (IM)POSSIBLE
I was having a conversation with a friend about self-care. This friend identified all the ways that it was difficult to accomplish the task of self-care. When I listened to all the reasons that this friend could not accomplish effective self-care and they were all negative; MISSION (IM)POSSIBLE. I asked this friend-- what if your client told you they could not practice healthy self-care? The friend answered "I would tell them they have to in order to live a healthy and fulfilled life." I replied to this friend--WELL, then why have I heard at least five excuses why you cannot complete your task of self-care. After silence, the friend replied "I am making the choice to not take care of myself." BINGO! AH-HA! DUH! We do not practice self-care because we choose not to. Think of if you spent as much time recharged yourself as you do your cell phone.
Why are our cell phones and technology so HUGE in our society, yet, taking 20 minutes out of our day to be present and by ourselves (self-care) is so inconvenient? It is a question, I ask my clients, friends, and self regularly. One of the answers that I have come to is that our "fast-paced" and "successful" society has taught us that we need to work so hard that we cannot take time for ourselves. During the work day is the most important time to pay attention to our needs. However, even taking a lunch break where we are not incorporating work seems to be difficult. That "friend" up in the paragraph above was ME! WHAT? ME? Yes, you read it. It is a conversation that I had with myself. I am constantly preaching for others to take care of themselves, however, I cannot find the time to take care of me. If we do not invest in ourselves then we will not be effective in our lives, jobs or mindful. Are you at your best when you are stressed? Anxious? Overworked? If your answer is yes, enlighten me on your secret. If your answer is no, keep reading and maybe this list of strategies will make self-care MISSION POSSIBLE.
STRATEGIES FOR SELF-CARE
- Define what self-care means to you. Does is mean a walk in the park? Listen to music? Making your favorite treats? Reading your favorite books? How you invest in yourself and be present in the moment-- depends on you and how you choose to spend your self-care time.
- Build self-care into your work day. Smokers do a great job of building smoke breaks into their day... why should we not incorporate self-care. In my old job, I used to call them "breathe breaks" and I would walk around outside. It was my way of taking a break from stress of work and taking a break from stress.
- Create a self-care space in your home. This can be a little corner or comfy room that you can go to to do your self-care in.
- Schedule it. Yes, I said it. Schedule your self care in your calendar. Treat it like a doctor or dental appointment. If it goes in your calendar, you must do it, right? YES!
- Getting a mindfulness app on your phone. There are many great apps out there that you can download on your smart phone. A few great ones that I love are: headspace or stay calm.
- Eat mindfully. Whenever you eat, eat mindfully. Do not eat so quickly, take time at each meal. Eat a bite and slow down-- notice the smells and taste of the food. Be present in the moment with your family and friends.
- SLOW DOWN. We live in a fast-paced world and you can keep up, however, are you giving 100 percent? Are you being mindful? Joe Bezos, Founder of Amazon, explains in an NPR podcast that he only does one thing at a time because only 12 percent of the population can actually effectively multi-task. Do not take on the world because it will be there when you are done with one task a time.
- Be present. Have you have walked through life and felt like you are not fully present in the moment. Effective self-care requires you to be present in the moment so you can fully participate in your life.
- Be gentle and kind to yourself. Are you nice to others? Well, BE NICE TO YOURSELF. When you are mean to yourself, you are setting the expectations for how other people can treat you. If you can be gentle and kind to yourself-- self-care will be possible!
- Show gratitude. Be grateful for your self and be peaceful. Show gratitude each day by being thankful.
Self-care is compassion-care. It is crucial in creating a balanced life. Are you ready to make self-care: MISSION POSSIBLE?
Be You. Be Happy. Be Well.