4 Ways to Implement Self-Care Throughout Your Day.
Self-care isn’t selfish. In an airplane, there’s a reason they tell you to put your air-mask on before you help others. Things don’t change when we step-off the airplane, but during the busy holiday season it can be easy to get wound up in our to-do’s and forget to take care of our mental and physical health.
You can’t pour from an empty bowl.
Recently, a woman who attended a Seek United workshop shared that if she doesn’t workout everyday (and I mean every-single-day) she can’t be the mom or partner she wants to be, because (self-admittedly) she’s a grump. She needs time immediately after work to burn off the stress so she can show up as the best version of herself.
It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that, “Isn’t that great she has the time. I’ve got a much busier schedule!”
A large part of how we spend our time is our decision. (Although, not all of it!) And it can be easy to conflate real restraints with imagined ones. Taking time for self-care should be a priority for all of us, no matter what our schedules.
Here are 4 ways you can foster a little self-care throughout the day, regardless of your schedule.
Know what you need.
If you don’t know what you need, it’s going to be hard to prioritize it. Some people need an hour of vigorous exercise. Other’s need 20 minutes reading their favorite book, and a walk around the block. You might need to chat with a friend as you drive home, to watch a funny youtube video, or make a meal from scratch to get your creative brain moving. Or maybe it’s as simple as 30 minutes of uninterrupted time before you go to bed so you can meditatively process the day. The point is, knowing what you need and making that time a priority isn’t selfish. It’s self-care (as long as you’re not drinking 12 beers in one setting.)
Research also shows that when we show up for ourselves, we’re happier and more productive at home, and at work. So really self-care is a win for everyone.
2. Be Aware of How You Talk to Yourself.
We can be pretty mean with our inner dialogue. A little pressure goes a long way, and negative self-talk isn’t self-care or tough-love. It won’t help you reach your goals any faster, and it is probably making you (and everyone around you) miserable.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Try implementing a 2 minute daily meditation practice. It is proven to help you to become more aware of negative mental chatter and be more compassionate toward yourself and others.
3. Make space for fun.
No one wants to be on a slow march toward death. We work to live, not live to work. Having activities to look forward to — and prioritizing those activities — is a form of self-care. When we’re ultra-stressed at work, it can be tempting to cancel plans that seem superfluous, like spending time with friends, exercising, eating healthy, or simply going for a walk. It’s these moments, that are actually the best at helping us to recharge .
Reminder: Friends can be great sounding boards for stressful situations, but don’t spend your entire evening venting about all stress you have at work. Find a fun activity to do instead, you might go bowling, see a movie, check out a new Virtual Reality Lab, play a game, or go for a walk.
4. Turn Daily Activities into Mental Rituals.
For the most part, stress is self-manufactured. (Yup, I said it!) Stress starts with the thoughts and emotions we give priority to, and feeds off the attention.
Tuning into the present moment, instead of ruminating on past events or playing out future scenarios is detrimental to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Work on becoming more present (and more grateful) during daily activities. When you take a shower, appreciate your body and all that it does for you. When you wash the dishes, be grateful that you have healthy food to eat. Admire the way the light shines through the leaves as you walk into work.
Scanning our environment for all the things that are going right — all the things we take for granted— helps us to be more optimistic and content about where we are in life.
Self-care isn't selfish. Taking the time to care for your mental and physical health is an essential way to fill our proverbial punch-bowls so we can show up for who and what matters most.