In an age of social pressures to be better, go bigger, and taking a little time off or practicing self-care can be looked at as weak, wasting time, or not doing enough. All of those practices listed will give you more time, more ideas, more income, more passion, and more purpose.
For years I fell victim to the assumption that I had to keep going, that not going fast and hard was a sign of weakness, and even though I taught self-care, it was hard for me to practice it myself. I was burning the midnight oil 24/7, and it came at a cost. I was burnt out and disconnected from the very people that mean the most to me- my kids.
As an addict in recovery, I know first hand the need to practice self-care and put your health first. But owning your own business is not easy. It’s in my DNA to never settle, and since I was young, I knew that I am meant for more than what was served to me in school. It feels a bit uncomfortable to say, but I knew where I was going; I just had no idea how I would get there. And in the last several years, it has become apparent that no dream will be achieved without you.
It’s an exchange; when you give yourself time, you get more time.
When you practice self-care, you can better care for your business and the people in it.
When you take a time out, the time you step back in will be fresh, full of energy, and ready to achieve greatness.
I believe that it is about the little things, the small moments throughout the day that add up to your sanity by day’s end. Big empty promises will drive you nuts. And (at least for me) the idea of a 2 hour Morning Routine is crazy talk when I sleep, my kids getting off to school, and coffee are among my morning must-haves. I may not have 2 hours, wait, let me rephrase that, I‘m not willing to give up 2 hours of sleep to spend two hours doing something that takes me 5 minutes to do each morning. I”m practical, real, and motivated to do what it takes. I’m not as willing to spend more time on things than is necessary to get the same results.
Self-care is essential, but it shouldn’t take you hours a day, and it can be as simple as 1 minute here, three minutes there, five minutes over here throughout the day, every day. Because when your self-care routine starts stressing you out, it needs to go out.
Here are ten things I do every day to practice self-care, keep my body and mind healthy and my business blossom.
- Drink a full glass of water each morning. Before you even think about it, chug it down. Each morning I wake up and reach over for a big 10-20 ounce glass of water and down it before I can even think about what my day will be like. I wake up, sit up and put my feet on the ground and drink it all down. Starting your day hydrated will only lead you to more hydration. Did you know that dehydration is a symptom of depression? Doing this every morning helps me in that no matter what happens, I at least drank 20 ounces of water. And that’s a good thing.
- Hug a real human every day. This global situation has got us all social-distancing like the plague, and the trade-off is real human connection. Did you know that just 10 seconds of hugging someone can boost serotonin in the brain? When is the last time you hugged someone? Like full squeeze mode? I make it a point to hug each of my kids every day and hug my husband. That connection has been vital to our health on all levels. Who can you hug today?
- Massage your feet. Every day I use my acupressure ball and roll out the bottoms of my feet. It May sound a bit odd, but our feet our connection to the earth. And we all wear shoes way too much, disconnecting us from what grounds us, and well, when your feet hurt, it can just about ruin your day. I keep my mini acupressure ball underarm my desk, and I travel with it wherever I go. A quick rub on my feet, and it’s incredible how much better I feel. And then after don’t forget to use some natural pain relief to leave you feeling great!
- Take a deep breath. I’ve had a panic attack more than once and know how scary that can be. Many people in todays world are walking around stressed out, in a panic, and having an out of body experience, but not in the way you think. Breathing can help bring us back into our bodies and help us get out of our head and into the moment. Deep breathing is simple. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and take a deep breath in and feel your belly expand, and your chest rise. Briefly pause after your inhale and then exhale and feel your stomach deflate and chest collapse down. Work to get all the air out and repeat this at least two more times. Breathing not only brings more oxygen to your body and brain but also shifts your mind off whatever is stressing you out and gives you space to regroup and refocus.
- Get outside every day. It’s winter and currently -1 outside. But I make it a point to step out for a few minutes to feel the fresh air and sun (or clouds, rain, or snow). There is a feeling of being alive that happens when I do this and has become a real game-changer when I begin to feel the heaviness of the midwest winters weighing on me. That timeout outside also helps me shift my focus when I’m having a stressful day back to nature and back to feeling alive.
- Get up and get moving. I’m not going to tell you to exercise, but you do need to carry every day. Can you find one, two, or three pockets of time to get up and stretch, walk up and down your stairs a few extra times, squat in the bathroom, twist in your driver’s seat or chair? This all adds up. Instead of empty exercise promises, how about you focus on adding more moving into your everyday life. Then if you happen to make it to the treadmill, gym, or yoga mat (join our online mindfulness and yoga studio for just $9.99 a month!)- it’s a bonus!
- Tell yourself something positive about your efforts. Every day I self-talk (Read 12 Nuggets of Advice That Have Changed My Life Blog). For years a negative internal dialogue took me down a path I wish on no one. And I discovered that your biggest enemy and critic is often sitting right between your two ears. Talk positively to yourself; what are you doing well? What has gone right? Look how far you have come. For some, this dialogue may not come naturally, but it’s one conversation you might want to have anyways. I recognized a few years back that I’d get so far, and then I was the one sabotaging my efforts because I didn’t believe I deserved success. Kicking that habit was the best thing I ever did.
- Visualize your success before you go to bed. Your subconscious replays the last things you think about, read about, and watch while you sleep. Every night before I go to bed, I visualize my success. If I can’t get thoughts out of my head that is negative or stressful or tells me that I”m not successful, I pop on my headphones and listen to meditation to shift my thoughts and mind and drift off to sleep. This has been a game-changer for me and one that has borne much fruit. Plus, it requires little to no effort on your part but can be the cherry on top.
- Eat good food. You’re foggy, and you’re tired, you’re irritable. Did you ever consider how you feel might be because you aren’t feeding your body good food? Food is fuel, and if you’d ever even considered putting questionable, cheap fuel into your car because you know the consequences would be expensive and could leave you carless, why do that to your body. If you are still reaching for quick fixes to change your body, may I suggest an apple? A salad. A something that didn’t come out of a box. I”m not trying to be rude, but somewhat real. You are a living being, so you need to eat living food. Start small, how about that apple? Your body craves junk food because it is searching for real nutrition, and you aren’t feeding it any. An apple a day really can do more than just keep the doctor away.
- Offer gratitude. Every day I find ways to show appreciation. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your stuff, and I believe you get what you give. You don’t have to give money if money is tight. You can give your time, your love, your compassion, your support. I try to remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and has their stuff going on and if I can spread a little hope, a little cheer. Then I’ll do it. Because one day I may need that too.
I use to tell myself that it needed to be the perfect time to do X. And it was a way for me to stay where I was. Safe, but stuck. Happy in my unhappiness. All the empty promises I gave myself only left me more defeated. All the programs that promised me better health, more happiness, and a profitable business were a bust because it was too much. I wasn’t ready. And what I discovered is I needed to start even smaller, and that so-called self-care was not mean to be this big hill or crazy routine I was to add to my day (which, mind you, only gave me more anxiety when I thought about it). It was about the little things that kept nudging me forward towards the next right decision.
The results… It’s working. My suggestion for you today, start small, pick one of the ten I listed above, and do it until it’s like brushing your teeth ( and if you don’t brush your teeth, maybe start there). You will be amazed at what comes from a simple small action like this!
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