I speak with women regularly, who are struggling. Struggling in relationships, with the connection with their kids, in social situations and even in their careers. Moreso, they struggle personally: Experiencing a profound lack of fulfillment, anxiety or a host of other emotional symptoms.
While there are several factors surrounding each individual’s struggle, one key factor that is universal is the need for Self-Care.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Good self–care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety, however the spectrum of options is wide and is highly subject to the individual. Depending on what is important to each person, will define the scope of their self-care practices.
Where do you start? Well, there are three golden rules:
- Stick to the basics. Over time you will find your own rhythm and routine. You will be able to implement more and identify more particular forms of self-care that work for you.
- Self-care needs to be something you actively plan, rather than something that just happens. It is an active choice and you must treat it as such. Add certain activities to your calendar, announce your plans to others in order to increase your commitment, and actively look for opportunities to practice self-care.
- What I often emphasize to my clients is that keeping a conscious mind is what counts. In other words, if you don’t see something as self-care or don’t do something in order to take care of yourself, it won’t work as such. Be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are.
Ways to Engage in Self-Care:
- Engage in nutritious eating. Meal plan, shop for fresh whole foods and engage in healthy eating.
- Get enough sleep. Adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise. In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. In line with the self-care conditions, what’s important is that you choose a form of exercise that you like!
- Use relaxation exercises and/or practice meditation. You can do these exercises at any time of the day. Meditation also increases mindfulness.
- Spend enough time with your loved ones. Connection brings us peace.
- Do at least one relaxing activity every day, whether it’s taking a walk or spending 30 minutes unwinding.
- Do at least one pleasurable activity every day; from going out, to cooking or meeting with friends.
- Look for opportunities to laugh!
- Cut yourself some slack. Be kinder to yourself and let stuff go.
- Create a “no” list, with things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do. Examples might include: Not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, not answering your phone during lunch/dinner.
Most importantly, make time for some self-care practices. You are worth it.