Self-care. Self-love. Self-talk. Self-actualization. Some of my favorite words start with “self.” In the overstimulated rat race that this journey can become, it’s so easy to neglect the holism of the person running the race. Exhausting time and energy into anything other than your inner world is easier and safer than the scary and often unchartered plain of self-introspection.
Taking care of yourself is the most significant thing you can do to impact the world, to give yourself the opportunity to impact the world, and yet it’s also the most forgotten. Some of us have such a high tolerance for discomfort in our lives that we rarely ever pause and think, “am I really okay? Beneath the surface, how do I feel about this situation?”
Self-care isn’t something you can do once and check off your to-do list. It’s a process that you have to stay on top of, the same as taking care of your body at the gym or implementing healthier food choices into your diet. Start a routine using a few or all of the ideas below, and enjoy your journey as a well-rounded human being. Implement little self-care habits to regularly include a bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul to your everyday life.
The following ideas are tiny self-care concepts or activities that you can fit into any busy schedule.
1. Monitor your self-talk. The way you speak to and about yourself, internally and out loud, is often overlooked in a discussion on mental health and general holistic personal upkeep. Making the intentional decision to speak to yourself with kindness and love is just as important as putting on deodorant in the morning: it’ll stink up your whole day if you don’t.
2. Build your tribe. Surround yourself with people who are going in the same direction as you, those who can inspire you and help you along the way. Having a healthy support system in place can make difficult situations much less stressful and overbearing. Appreciate these people and cherish their role in your life.
3. Work on increasing your self-awareness. We all have blind spots and idiosyncrasies, but we don’t have to live with them forever. Give yourself the opportunity to learn more about you; your natural tendencies and habits. This is a necessary step in becoming the person you want to be.
4. Learn to appreciate solitude. Carve out an allotted amount of time that is just for you. Time dedicated to enjoying space and time by yourself and recharge. What you do with that time, whether it’s reading, lifting weights or painting, is completely up to you.
3. You’re allowed to just say “no”. Say no to the things that don’t serve you or your overall purpose. Don’t get caught up in busy work that may not be apart of your plans or goals just because you’d feel bad if you didn’t. Saying no is healthy for your spirit, and making sure people respect your boundaries is essential for your soul.
4. Discover your passion(s) and invest more time in that. We all have something that makes us feel alive, something that resonates with who we are inside, something to fight for; invest yourself into those things. Most of us are busy with obligations that don’t really inspire us, get busy with things that actually matter to you.
5. Have mini-meditation sessions. Take ten minutes of your day to focus on awareness of your thoughts and emotions. Three minutes to focus on your internal feelings, and sensations; three minutes of focused attention on breathing techniques; and three minutes of awareness of the body as a whole.
6. Cut out negativity, or at least cut it down. Don’t be the person that you wouldn’t want to be around, energies are contagious and what you put out will eventually circle back to you. We could all be better, but the first step is to actually try.
7. Ask for help when you need it. We all need support and encouragement at times, this is what your tribe is for.
8. Service the people around you. Try to always find ways to be of service. To people, to animals, to the environment, whatever floats your boat. Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker. Find ways to give and keep giving. Ways that inspire you, that speak to you, that fill your heart. No matter where you are in life, there is always someone or something who could benefit from what you have to offer.
9. Be open to new adventures. Allow yourself to be willing to take risks. Though it’s hard to step out into unknown territory, you’ll find it’s more rewarding to stretch yourself and grow in ways that may be unimaginable to who you are now.
10. Put down your phone and go outside. Take some time away from your cellphone, computer or tablet. Comparison is the thief of joy, but it’s also a natural byproduct of seeing people and characters on line that seem to have it all. Unplug from the superficial virtual world and tune into your reality.
11. Give yourself the gift of freedom: the gift of being able to let go and move on from people, places and things that don’t better you. Everything has a purpose in your life, and every situation is a learning lesson. Once you accept that everything that is happening, isn’t happening to you, but for you, letting go of past grievances and moving on will become second nature.