The world is moving at an extremely fast pace! These days, most people are caught between chasing dreams and maintaining relationships. Between the two of those things, there’s rarely enough time to stop and ask yourself how you’re really doing. This year, I realized just how important self-care is. It became apparent that the world is never going to stop for me and so I need to continuously check in with myself.
Self-care is a continuous journey that begins with loving yourself. You can only truly give love or care for others when you love yourself. I think self-care has been overlooked for way too long but I’m glad it’s slowly being brought to the limelight and more people are realizing how dangerous it is to neglect the person who should be a priority in your life – you! It doesn’t make sense to keep on hoping that one day you’ll be in a position to ‘take care of yourself’ when you can start now.
So how do you practice self-care? Here are a few tips that have worked for me:
1. Get over your guilt: We’re so afraid to say no, but saying no isn’t always a bad thing. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not being at that dinner party if you’re exhausted and in need of me time. You shouldn’t have to apologize for your need to rejuvenate. I think more people need to take ‘ME TIME’ to think, reflect on goals, create amazing work or simply rest. It’s okay to say no! Set realistic boundaries that give you time for yourself. Unplug from social media if you find it distracting. This has been a struggle for me and I’m sure it has been for many others. We never want to miss out on what’s going on, but saying no to unnecessary distractions can go a long way to help you focus on the things that are most important.
2. Do something you enjoy: When was the last time you did something for you? It could be as big as taking a solo trip or as little as getting your favourite ice cream. Identify the things that make you happy and give yourself a treat! You don’t have to go with what everyone else enjoys, take a step back to figure out what YOU like to do.
3. Be intentional about physical self-care: Physical self-care is all about the care you give to your body – eating well, exercising, taking baths, sleeping etc. This might be difficult but it definitely has its benefits. Whenever I dance or exercise, I feel energized and ready for the day; can’t deny that I need to do better with eating right and sleeping but I’m working on it. The more effort we put into physical care, the healthier and happier we’ll feel.
4. Let go of all that baggage: This should have been number one on the list! Letting go of the things that hold us back or wear us out is where self-care begins. This year, I learnt the importance of letting go. What I realized was that it’s not always about you – people will treat you in a certain way not because of who you are, but because of their choices. If someone has hurt you in the past, understand that it’s not always because they set out to hurt you, sometimes it’s simply because they have unresolved issues of their own to deal with. Count it as their mistake and not your inadequacy – forgiving and letting go will be much easier when you realize this. Remember, it’s never that deep! Nothing is too important to hold on to. If it makes you bitter or unhappy, put it in the trash pile and let it go.
5. God Time: A huge part of my self-care practice is taking out time to listen to what God says about me. Nothing makes me feel better about myself than seeing all the beautiful promises that God has made me. The more time I spend with God in prayer, the better I feel about myself. I’m learning to set specific times in the day when I pray and study the bible. I can honestly say that this has been a blessing because my spirit feels so energized. Since we were created by God, it’s so important to spend time with him so he can fix us up. Just like every car needs to be serviced, we need time with our maker to put us back in check.
The fascinating thing about true self-care is that it doesn’t make you self-absorbed; if anything it makes you happier and gives you the ability to care deeply for others.
Got other tips on how to practice self-care? Would love to hear it!