When most of us think about self-care, we think about taking ourselves off to the spa to be pampered or reading a good cup with a hot chocolate to relax at the end of a busy day, but self-care isn’t always fun. Sometimes, taking better care of ourselves is about doing things we may not enjoy so that the rest of our lives can run more smoothly.
With that in mind, below are some aspects of self-care that might not immediately inspire you or have the fun factor but are equally as crucial as doing yoga or learning to meditate.
Here are a few things to consider when looking at the less fun side of self-care
Attending medical appointments
Most of us don’t particularly enjoy going to the doctor’s office, but if you want to take good care of yourself, you need to ensure you book your flu vaccine in time for the winter season or have a regular check-up to ensure you are doing okay. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.
It is not always easy to set boundaries, but doing so is one of the best ways to protect your mental health. For example, you may need to give up friendships that drag you down more often than they lift you, or you may need to learn how to say no to various commitments that suck your tie but give you a little reward. Boundaries protect your health and well-being, so they are a big part of self-care.
Pexels – CCO Licence
Fixing your diet
You are, as they say, what you eat, so one thing that will help you to improve your self-care is fixing your diet. Eliminating junk food and any dishes that cause you to feel sluggish and bloated after eating is an excellent place to start, but eating clean most of the time is even better. It’s not always easy to eliminate the bad stuff from your diet because that is often the stuff you love the most, but nourishing yourself with healthy food is one of the greatest acts of self-care there is.
Taking time out
Suppose you are the kind of person who loves to keep busy, whether pushing yourself at work or always being busy around the house. In that case, it can be hard to let go and do nothing for a whole, but taking time out is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind, which is why it is sometimes considered a less fun form of self-care. Of course, there are those of us who love nothing more than to relax too!
Fixing your finances
Drawing up a budget and working on fixing your finances so you don’t have to worry about money, can be time-consuming and complex, but it removes at least one stress point from your life.
As you can see, self-care is about taking care of your whole life, making things as easy as possible for yourself, and often this means tackling tedious or complex tasks, so be sure to factor in the less fun side of self-care too.
Image Pexels CC0 License
Do you wake up every morning wanting to hit the snooze button and feeling exhausted before the day has even begun? Maybe you find your energy levels are flagging around mid-morning, and by early afternoon, you are ready to take a nap. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you likely regularly feel lethargic and lack the energy to live life to the full. Feeling like your energy levels are low and you are constantly tired can make it hard to get maximum enjoyment from every day of your life. You may also find this lack of energy impacts your motivation to exercise or participate in social activities, like meeting friends for dinner in the evening. Reclaiming your power and feeling refreshed is a fantastic feeling and one that you can achieve with a bit of help. If you are ready to start feeling energized and refreshed every day, these tips will show you how this can be achieved:
Find Your Ideal Sleep Pattern
While there are guidelines on the recommended amount of sleep adults should get each night, everyone is individual, so the amount of sleep you need may differ slightly. Many people struggle to get enough sleep, which can leave them exhausted and in a bad mood the following day. Conversely, getting too much sleep can also be a problem and potentially cause some severe illnesses and leave you feeling lethargic. So, finding a sleep pattern that works for you and helps you to wake up each morning feeling refreshed and energized is invaluable.
Nurture Your Skin
Feeling energized and full of vitality happens on the inside and outside. Nurturing your skin with rituals such as a regular facial treatment or body massage can help you to feel refreshed. The cleansing effect of a facial is an especially powerful tool in helping you feel refreshed as areas of congestion are eliminated and dead skin cells are removed, leaving you with nourished skin that feels new. Making facials and massages a regular ritual to support your wellbeing is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits in the long term and will make you feel refreshed after every session.
When your energy levels are low, it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise. But, exercise is vital to providing your body with an energy boost and helping you to feel vital and refreshed. Whether you love sport or hate it, finding a method of keeping fit that you enjoy is essential. If playing sports is not your thing, reconnecting with yourself through yoga is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of movement combined with the positive effects on your wellbeing. Yoga has the unique ability to make you feel refreshed and energized while at the same time deeply relaxed. Discovering the benefits of yoga for yourself and how it can make you feel is an excellent way to increase your energy levels every day and stay refreshed.
Unsplash – CC0 License
Do you sometimes feel that you’re getting mixed messages about conducting your relationship with your partner? You’ll often hear the culture screaming something in your ear, but your instinct is saying that you should do something different.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. It turns out that there is some pretty toxic relationship advice out there. Here are some examples:
Spending Long Time Apart
Spending a long time away from your partner is usually a sign of a serious problem in the relationship – or, at least, that’s how many people see it.
But does it have to be that way? It turns out that spending time apart is actually quite a healthy habit. It gives people time to process the irrational beliefs about their partners and see them more fully as human beings.
In many cases, we can allow ourselves to be consumed by the person we are infatuated with. It is an intoxicating experience and can lead to sleepless nights. All we want is to be close to them.
Unfortunately, when you take this approach, your personality changes. You become somebody different from who your partner fell in love within the first place. Eventually, one person begins to feel suffocated.
Feeling Attracted To Somebody Outside The Relationship
People get into a lot of trouble for feeling attracted to people outside of the relationship. We want to believe that we only have eyes for our partners and never look at anybody else. And the same works the other way: we want our partners to only think of us.
We know from our own experience, though, that this isn’t realistic. Everyone is capable of finding multiple people attractive, regardless of their relationship status.
The trick here is to process these feelings healthily. Don’t bottle them up. Instead, accept the fact that you are attracted to somebody else and then let it go. Try to avoid suppressing feelings or anything like that. And have a conversation with your partner about what you are experiencing, and you might be surprised that they are feeling the same way now and then.
Having The Ability To End It
Unsplash – CC0 License
In our romantic culture, we believe that relationships should be as permanent as a vasectomy. They are for life.
But this approach leads to all kinds of problems. For one, it eliminates fear in the other person. If they think that you will stick with them forever, no matter what, they won’t worry if they treat you badly. They may behave terribly, knowing that you will stay by their side.
But if they think that you have the power to end it, they will “behave themselves,” and the hope is they start to work on themselves. Self-awareness is a powerful thing and sometimes in a relationship the partner is the one to help push them in that direction. Becoming more mindful and watch what they say and how it affects you. And hopefully, they will make every effort to improve their lives so that they provide you with value. This is healthy empowerment. We get comfortable from time to time, and having someone there to push us even on a relationship level can be a good thing.
Allowing Conflicts To Go Unresolved
Lastly, we believe that we need to resolve every conflict in our relationships to succeed. You shouldn’t go to bed on an argument – or so the saying goes. But it turns out that just letting go of conflict is okay too. You and your partner can disagree on things. You don’t have to agree on everything. Many of the most successful couples allow conflict to rumble on for decades. But don’t forget to manage that conflict in healthy ways rather than let it fester. Think about what matters, and when it comes down to it, not having a picture-perfect relationship doesn’t mean you don’t have a good one. Even a great one.
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!
Check out My Meditations Custom Crafted just for YOU with music by Dennis Hawk >> HERE Click on MEDITATIONS to grab yours!
Yoga is an opportunity for self-reflection. Self-reflection means purposefully paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviors. It enables us to make meaning of all of the great and not so great experiences we’ve had in our lives.
Just like a yoga pose, self-reflection is challenging and requires us to be open and honest with ourselves.
When we, as yogis, are unwilling to self-reflect, we project. We project those things that we are reluctant to turn inward, sit with, and change.
Change Is Hard
Change is hard but change is a necessary and pivotal part of life. When I think about all the different ways to discuss or even label change, several ideas come to mind: growth, transformation, letting go, and acceptance. All of these things require us to go within ourselves and do some sort of work–some kind of self-reflection. You can’t grow from your experiences if you don’t understand them. Once you understand the why behind your decision-making, you can make changes based on what you’ve learned.
I spent a big part of my life projecting so that I wouldn’t have to deal with my core issues. Everything was everyone else’s fault. Everything that was happening to me, around me, and within me, was always the result of someone else–at least in my mind. It was a defense mechanism to protect and preserve the only thing I knew and the only thought process and outlook that I was comfortable with accepting.
How Yoga Forced Me to Dig Deep
When yoga came into my life, it was both liberating and frustrating. Yoga gave me the freedom to feel but it also forced me to see myself for who I was. I had to look at what I was doing instead of pushing the blame onto others. I had to take a real look at myself and the real reasons behind my actions.
I say to my students each day that yoga is a mirror reflection for our everyday life and that reflection is available for us to see when we finally decide to see it. I will be the first to attest that the reflection will not always be quaint and pretty. It will most likely be uncomfortable and even sad at times. However, that is how growth happens.
Growth happens when we let go of our expectations on people, situations, and life. Letting go of our expectations does not mean that we no longer hope or desire anything from life anymore. Rather, it means that we come at our life (our mat) in a way that opens the doors rather than lingering in the doorway, just waiting for it to close or prove others are wrong.
Merriam-Webster defines compost as “a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter.” Compost is used for fertilizing and conditioning land. Your compost is a mixture of your stuff, your baggage, your mindsets, your hang-ups, your habits, and your ego. When you practice self-reflection, you take your compost and use it to fertilize your life and the conditions of others. You take the mixture of your life, your actions, and your situation, and you compost it.
My yoga practice has taught me a lot about my compost and digging dip into my own “mixture.” It has allowed me to get real with myself. Moreover, once you are genuinely able to see the mess you are in, only then can you begin to transform.
When things don’t go my way or are not to my liking, I first ask–Why? I then take a step back to reflect so that I can see how much of my compost is altering my experience. Coming from a place where I took everything personal in my life, once I realized how my compost was affecting what I was doing, I was better equipped to let others off the hook for my shortcomings. Seldom is it ever really about others but rather how we received those experiences and how they reflect upon us.
Don’t Give Up
I urge you to keep coming to your mat, keep getting uncomfortable, and keep taking classes and stepping into poses that ruffle your feathers. Resist the urge to roll up your mat those five minutes early in the hopes of avoiding discomfort. Instead, sit in those poses as your mind stews–allowing your mind to sift through your thoughts, emotions, and reactions to truly get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do.
From my heart to yours, from my soul to yours, from my compost to yours, and from my mat to yours, Namaste.