Self What?! Self-Care

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”  —Audre Lorde

We often measure our success in the things we accomplish and the to-do list we complete. On occasion doing something for ourselves is last on the list, if we are even on the list at all. Self-care is a concept lots of people talk about and few actually participate in. The following 6 self-care tips are ways you can easily put yourself on the top of the list.

#1 Make time:

If you are like the rest of the world you are a woman on the go. Schedules to manage, appointments to make, juggling the various roles in life and often times the day can come and go, leaving us left to wonder where could I even find the time to take care of myself. I’m here to tell you that self-care can be done in minutes or hours. It’s all about making the commitment to yourself. The following options can be done in less than 10 min or if you find the time can take an hour. It may be better in the beginning to try to commit to small increments of time to hold yourself accountable and follow through on the most important part your often hectic world – you.

#2 Turn off the critic:

Often times when we schedule time for ourselves it is followed by critical thoughts and second guessing of what else you “should” be doing. Don’t should on yourself. The whole point to self-care is to pay attention to your needs. The same way you often pay attention to the needs of others. When your partner says they need help you do not criticize them but rather figure out a way to be helpful. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. If you want to head to your local bakery and enjoy that pastry on your lunch hour then do it! Don’t judge it. If you want to turn off your phone for 30 min to enjoy a television show then allow yourself to. It is only rejuvenating if you can enjoy it and not feel guilty while enjoying it.

#3 Connect:

We are creatures drawn to connection. This means we need to allow ourselves the time to connect to the people who ar3e important to us. This can include family, friends and even ourselves. Schedule a date night with your partner, or a girls night out, a play date with your children, or a yoga class for yourself. Make sure that you participate in an activity that fills you up rather than drains you and calls for recovery time. Again this can be a quick cup of coffee with a friend, a movie with your husband or a day at the zoo with your family.

#4 Get Active:

When we are active we get to physically release stress and increase our endorphins naturally allowing us to feel happier and healthier. This can be a 10 min walk on your break, or playing in the park with your kids, as well as participating in an exercise class. However much time you can give yourself, do it!

#5 Pamper yourself:

Whether you have an unlimited budget or are someone who has to account for every dime nickel and penny there is always a way to pamper yourself. This can be as simple as taking a bubble bath or lathering up with lotions and essential oils before bed. Soaking your feet and giving yourself a pedicure and if it’s in the budget having one done professionally. It can be a 15 minute chair massage or an hour full body massage. These activities allow you to calm your nerves and relax leaving room for you to be more present and engaged in your day to day activities.

#6 Let it out:

This is one of my personal favorites. There is nothing better than just letting it all go. If you are in the mood for yelling you can ask someone (a friend, partner or your therapist) to just listen so you can get it off your chest. If you feel like that is not something you can ask of another than I suggest time alone to scream into a pillow. (I know this sounds ridiculous but there is something therapeutic to just screaming when you feel the need to). This might also be a time when you just need to vent or cry and asking for and allowing yourself the space to do this is not only therapeutic but can improve our health. It has been said that crying linked to stress can release toxins in your body as well as reduce your overall stress.

Self-care is difficult especially when a day can be full of responsibilities and other to help. My favorite metaphor for self-care is the oxygen mask speech we hear on the airplane before our flight. The stewardess tells us to always place our own mask on first before assisting another with theirs. This is because if you are unconscious due to not having oxygen you can help no one! Same goes for taking care of yourself. The truth is, if we are not treating ourselves with kindness how can we show up authentically and fully engaged with others? We can’t.

Take care of you because there is only one of you.