Is there anything that produces better results in our lives than self-care? In my experience it is the best way to begin to address any challenge we face, by taking care of ourselves first. Once we offer ourselves some genuine kindness, the difficulties we are dealing with seem much more manageable.
Today we are fortunate to have a guest author whose name is Brad Krause. He’s engaged in coaching and writing about self-care because this was his journey too. He approached me about sharing one of his articles on my blog which I am happy to do. He has a great message that perhaps we can all use as a reminder to take time for ourselves. Is there anything more important? Here is his website and email address, http://selfcaring.info/ & firstname.lastname@example.org
What Is Self-Care? A 4-Step Approach You Can Start Today!
Though we know it’s important for our mental and physical health, most Americans put self-care at the bottom of their to-do lists. We push aside our own needs when we feel pressure at work to meet deadlines or to help with requests from friends and family. Our to-do lists are so long, we rarely get the chance to check-off more than what we put on. At the end of the day, self-care might seem selfish, like putting ourselves before others. But how can we ever excel at caring about our work or about a friend if we aren’t caring for ourselves?
This kind of lifestyle leads to burnout. More than 80 percent of Americans report feeling stressed on a daily basis, and that kind of constant pressure often results in high blood pressure, fertility issues, insomnia, depression and an increased risk for obesity, heart attack, and stroke.
Suddenly self-care seems a little less selfish now, doesn’t it? Self-care can be as simple or as complex as you make it. You can set aside special time for it, or sneak it into your daily routine. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Eating Healthy Meals
There is a direct link between physical and mental health and nutrition. Many people say they simply don’t have time to cook healthy meals—that the preparation and planning take too long. However, using a meal delivery service can cut down on the time it takes to plan, shop, and prepare healthy dishes. Plus, meal planners at these companies give you diverse and healthy options, so you don’t have to worry about growing bored with your diet choices. This variety also increases the likelihood you’ll sustain the healthy self-care habit in the long-term. Cooking healthy meals and eating as a family can help you unwind and reconnect at the end of the day.
Getting Good Sleep
Sleep is your body’s way to recover, both mentally and physically. When you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, you’ll notice a change in cognitive ability, irritability, and inflammation. When you make sleep a self-care necessity, you make both your nights and days a priority. Start a bedtime routine at the same time each night to signal to your body it’s time to rest. Good sleep helps with focus, attention, healthy weight, and less stress.
Saying No From Time to Time
Saying no is always hard—we hate the feeling of letting other people down. But a big part of self-care is knowing that, when we are overwhelmed with commitments, the quality of our work suffers. If you say yes every time you are asked to help, you’ll never be able to make your deadlines on-time. Plus, when you do turn in work, it’s not likely your best. The same thing applies to your commitments to family, friends, and even yourself. When your plate is full, give yourself permission to say no or, at the very least, “not right now.” You can also try to connect the requestor with someone more capable, so you don’t feel like you are leaving them in a lurch.
Devoting 30 Minutes a Day to Yourself
It sounds like such a small amount of time, but to some, 30 minutes a day of R&R seems surprisingly hard to squeeze in, which is exactly why it’s so important to try. Self-care can become a daily habit by scheduling a half hour for a simple relaxation break. Maybe you take a good book outside or soak in a hot bath. Work in a garden or listen to a podcast while out on a stroll—any activity that helps melt away stress from your mind and tension from your body.
Self-care is a powerful way to reset and recharge. When you take time for yourself, you find you have more energy for others. Self-care allows for opportunities of reflection, so you can recommit yourself to the things that matter most, and take the time to appreciate how strong, determined, and dedicated you can be.