Excited to share this Guest post by Brad Krause of http://selfcaring.info as we are huge fans of self care and know the essential role it plays in overall health and well-being. Hope you enjoy and check out Brad’s site!
You have a lot of responsibilities. You have to take care of your home and your family, and you have to be there for your friends and your coworkers. There’s so much to do every day that sometimes you forget that you need looking after as well. This is your wake-up call: you can’t take care of other people if you’re not taking care of yourself. The key to becoming a healthier, happier person is to ensure that you are meeting your own needs. Let’s start with the basics. We all need food, rest, and shelter to survive.
In our everyday lives, we often are so rushed that we forget to feed ourselves properly. We are eating lunch in our cars, in the drive-through lane at the bank, or in the pick-up line outside our kids’ schools. But this is ruining more than our waistlines; it’s damaging our health and happiness. Make a commitment to feed yourself better at least once a day. Consider making a lunch date with yourself. Take time to sit at a table and eat real food off of actual dishes. Examine your eating habits and look for ways you can improve them. Reward yourself with healthy food rather than junk. Make choices that nourish you fully, that both taste good and are good for you.
As busy adults with careers and family responsibilities, we often short-change our sleep schedules. We put off bedtime to do another load of laundry, run the dishwasher, or get a few more minutes of work in before morning. Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation may actually trigger physical illness and emotional disorders. Make the commitment to allow yourself a full eight hours of rest every night. No matter what still needs to be done when bedtime rolls around, those eight hours are non-negotiable. Additionally, allow yourself time to rest your mind as well as your body. Set aside periods for meditation and reflection. You can do this at home, but it is sometimes better accomplished by getting outside. Schedule long walks to give yourself time to breathe in fresh air and take in the sunshine.
Shelter is more than just a roof over your head. You need a space to feel safe and nurtured, a nest of your own. This is your personal space, whether it is a bedroom, an office, or even a bathroom or closet in your home. When setting up this space, eliminate things that make you feel uneasy or unhappy. Remove physical and emotional clutter from your life. Make a rule that you will not bring ugliness in here; whatever you are fretting about or worrying over, it does not come in with you. This is where you will go to think, meditate, and find peace.
Sometimes, we can confuse self-care with self-harm. We reward ourselves with the wrong things and indulge in vices, and this can lead to dependency and addiction. For people who are struggling through the difficult process of substance abuse recovery, good self-care practices are crucial. Ask yourself, does this action promote health and healing in the long run? Your choices should be focused on maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional well being. Manage your environment to reduce exposure to triggers and negative influences. Spending time with friends builds social connections, but not if they lure you back into unhealthy behavior patterns, so choose to spend time with people who support your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Eliminate exposure to stressors, including places where you indulged your habit. For example, a recovering alcoholic should stay out of bars and the houses of former drinking buddies.
Self-care is a deliberate action, a conscious choice to prioritize our own mental, physical, and emotional well being. Take care of yourself by learning to recognize your own limits. Don’t let yourself become overcommitted. Learn to say “no” when you need to, like when you do not have the time or the emotional resources to spare. Prioritize your own health and wellness. Make healthy choices to support your lifestyle. You cannot pour out of an empty vessel. Self-care is the method by which we fulfill our own needs, so that we can attend to the needs of others.
So what did you think? Do you agree with Brad? Find this helpful? Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know!