Think about the safety speech you hear every time you’re on a plane. If you’re traveling with other people who might need your help in case of an emergency, the flight attendants tell you to be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before tending to those in your care. Why? Because if you try to help others without ensuring your own safety first, you might pass out.
The same logic can be applied to your everyday life. Have you invested in taking care of yourself? Many people shy away from the term “self-care” because they assume the notion is founded on ideas of selfishness or a lack of caring about others. On the contrary, self-care is essential to our lives. When you’re able to care for yourself physically, emotionally and mentally, you become better able to pursue your goals and enrich the lives of the people around you.
We often overlook our physical health when discussing mental and emotional health, but the mind-body connection can’t be denied. When your body feels healthy and strong, your mood soars, and when you’re in a great emotional state, it shows in how you move your body. Make it a point to regularly engage in physical activities you love. Whether it’s going for a run, swimming or attending a yoga class, changing your physical state from sedentary to active is a simple and fulfilling way to take care of yourself. It can even be something as simple as going for a walk with a coworker during your lunch hour.
It’s hard to feel fulfilled when you’re constantly focusing on the negatives in life. Say you’re at a restaurant on an incredible date with someone you’re deeply interested in. Everything’s going well until your waiter mixes up your order and you end up getting the wrong dish. You decide to eat the incorrect order but are secretly fuming about it. When you look back on the date, you can hardly remember your connection with your date, but you still remember receiving the wrong order.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, learn to adopt an abundance mindset. This is perhaps the most life-changing self-care practice you can incorporate into your life. Reframing your thoughts is a deliberate practice that takes time, but if you’re able to accomplish it, you’ll experience greater joy and fulfillment in all areas of your life.
When you think of self-care ideas as they pertain to food, you might envision treats like cupcakes, chips or mounds of savory, rich foods like lasagna or a juicy steak. While it’s certainly alright to treat yourself once in a while, you should envision self-care in the form of more sustainable foods, like leafy greens, alkaline foods and items that will make you feel energetic and strong. Instead of viewing food as a reward, try to reframe it as fuel for your body. Reward yourself with activities you enjoy, like giving yourself an hour to read or checking out a new fitness studio. When it comes to food, treat yourself by going to a local juice shop and finding a smoothie that calls to you or try cooking a healthy new recipe at home.
Between work and your personal life, it feels like you’re always saying “yes” when people ask you for something. It can be rewarding to have a full calendar, but it’s also important to know when to say “no.” If you’re feeling run down or spread thin, grant yourself the ultimate luxury: downtime. By taking the necessary time needed to recharge, you’ll bolster your energy and be able to return to your regular schedule with increased energy and gusto.
Self-care doesn’t have to involve making major changes to your lifestyle – it can be as simple as finding a few minutes to reflect each morning. Instead of reaching for your phone or hitting the snooze button when you wake up, try a priming routine. This 10-minute exercise requires you to become conscious of your breathing, practice gratitude, visualize what you want and focus your newfound positive energy on accomplishing goals that are important to you. Creating a morning routine can help you to stay on track and centered throughout the day.
Never forget that self-care is personal. Find hobbies you enjoy, be it indoor rock climbing or knitting, and make the time to luxuriate in them. Whether you find yourself reading a good book in a bubble bath or going on a 10-mile run, know that the way you engage in these self-care tips is yours alone. Incorporate these acts of self-kindness into your normal routine so you can continue feeling energetic and excited about your goals.