If you have traveled at all, you have most likely heard the flight attendant tell you in case of an emergency to place the oxygen mask on yourself first before anyone else. Why is that? It’s because the only way you can help care for someone else is if you’re able to breathe yourself. As a mother of two, I know the best thing I can do for my children is to care for myself first. I know I am better able to be more attentive to them if I engage in self-care for me. Some would think it’s indulgent or selfish, but it isn’t – it’s a necessity.
Information is coming at us at breakneck speed these days and can result in information overload to the point where we get consumed with social media and news more than quality time with our loved ones. If all this information comes first (because it’s almost unavoidable) and quality time comes second, then you can guess where self-care comes in as a last resort after burnout. There are so many things that occupy our mind before we stop to think and take care of what’s important – ourselves. We can have a fear of failure that comes in and steals opportunities, and then we can have a fear of success that is the thief of enjoying the fruits of our labor. However, it’s always best to shine your light from a place of compassion for yourself which requires self-care. You can achieve more once you are a priority. It’s more like addition by way of subtraction. You can add even more to your life the more you take away.
Carve Out Some Time
Carving out time for yourself will enable you to deal with all professional or personal situations in a more effective way. And I’m not saying it’s to the exclusion of all other things but in tandem with them. Time for you first and then time for your loved ones and colleagues second.
Connecting with yourself will give you the respite you need to be more present with others. The only way we get to peak and optimal condition emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually is to make room for ourselves in our schedule to ensure we take care of those things. There is such a rise in numbers of burnout and breakdowns from lack of self-care. Don’t be a statistic.
Some Self-Care Strategies
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good start. Plus, I list some reasons for each.
- Get more sleep. This one is more obvious, but it’s first on the list because it is usually the last thing for people to do. You can get more done and are more productive with better sleep.
- Peak performance comes with the right fuel, so proper nutrition is a must.
- Make exercise a part of your routine so that you have a healthy body and you can combat stress more effectively.
- It’s important to process through your emotions, so you don’t take them out on the people that are most important to you. Reach out to friends for support. Venting, consulting and getting guidance as well as being vulnerable are central to wholehearted living and learning.
- Do something that you love. Hobbies help you appreciate life and experience it with more joy.
- Maintain a spiritual practice. Doing so will ensure you have the inner space to connect to something you feel is greater than you. Whether that be the universe, God, or something else is dependent on your beliefs of course.
- Spend some time alone. When you’re engaging in some relaxation by yourself and enjoying some self-reflection, sometimes your problems can get worked out on the backburners of your mind.
- Get outdoors and get some sunlight. It’s proven by research to help elevate your mood, and it helps your body produce vitamin D.
- Engage in a gratitude practice. When we are grateful for the precious things in our lives, we live life on a higher level.
Your inner guidance system and intuition work best when caring for yourself first and foremost. Circumstances come as they always will, but don’t let your self-care take a back seat. Ask for help where you need it, so this can become a way of life for you.
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