We truly are in some ambiguous, uncertain times. Now, arguably more than ever, is an important time to really focus on taking care of our emotional and mental health. I am so passionate about ALL facets of health and wellbeing and this certainly does not stop at the physical. Contrarily, our physical state is compromised when we are not doing well emotionally. We need the mind and body working in unison to be experiencing optimal health all-around.
“Self-care” is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. No one is going to look out for us and take care of us the way we are going to! We have to protect our mental spaces with care and diligence. It’s often argued what exactly self-care is or looks like in practice, however, what has been accepted by the masses is that we need some form of it in our day to day lives.
Keep it Simple
Similar to diet, exercise, night-time routines, etc., taking care of one’s self will look different for everyone as we all have unique needs, circumstances, and resources available to us. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do, just that you DO something that places an emphasis on your emotional wellbeing, protecting yourself from burnout! It is SO much easier to put preventative measures in place to maintain a healthy, happy emotional wellbeing than it is to recover from being burnt out and having an empty emotional gas tank. Because, again, our minds and bodies are so connected, if we get to the point that we are burnt out, it is likely this will be manifesting itself into physical symptoms such as exhaustion, headaches, gut issues, etc.
I have compiled a list of ways to put yourself first that I hope can be helpful to anyone, regardless of their unique situation. And no, the list does not involve bubble baths, though those can be great if you love them!
- Wake up half an hour earlier; if you’re in the habit of rushing out the door (or into your home office) in the morning, this can be a less than relaxing way to begin your day. Instead, try waking up 30 minutes earlier and having some time for yourself. Maybe this means you can have a tea and read. Perhaps you like to meditate and this is a good time to do that.
- OR, is sleep your biggest concern right now? Find ways to limit the amount of time you need to get ready in the morning so you can keep that extra half hour. Perhaps you can lay out your clothes before you go to bed, make/pack your lunch the night before, or simplify your make-up routine!
- Unplug! Though technology has so many amazing benefits, it can become exhausting to be overly connected to the news, or social media websites where you know what everyone else is thinking 24/7. It’s OK to disconnect for a few hours a night, or perhaps on the weekends, in order to feel refreshed.
- OR, if you are feeling disconnected and in desperate need of socialization, utilize technology wisely! Schedule a wine night via zoom with some girlfriends. Plan a live sports-viewing night with some of the boys!
- Create a bedtime routine for yourself. If you have ever raised a baby or know a bit about babies, you know how important it is to have a set routine every evening so the baby knows certain things (ie. bath time) are associated with going to sleep for the night. Funny enough, adults are not that different, we just don’t realize it! If you implement a few steps every evening that your body and mind can begin to associate with going to sleep, you won’t regret it! This is a great way to sleep better, which in turn will absolutely make you feel better. These steps can be diffusing lavender oil, journaling, having a bath, reading, dimming the lights, etc. Like I’ve been stressing, it is whatever works for YOU!
- Become OK with saying no. As busy adults, it is easy to find ourselves stretched way too thin. Life can demand a lot of us, and we often WANT to say yes to everything. But when we are overwhelmed and have too many commitments, two things happen, 1) we are not able to say yes to ourselves where we need to, and 2) we usually aren’t giving 100% to the 10 things we did say yes to because we’re running on low fuel.
I hope you found a few things here that you can take away and begin to implement in your own life. Treating yourself to a latte or shopping spree might be nice, but what is sometimes needed is stepping back, taking stock of how our day to day is going and how it leaves us feeling, and re-evaluating what that should look like! No matter who may be relying on you for x, y, and z, you will find you have the capacity to show up in a more meaningful and authentic way if you first care for your own needs. As the saying goes….”It is hard to pour from an empty cup”.
Decide today to do something to fill your cup!