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Welcome Annaliese from @Lovelylifebylaylay.
When was the last time you put yourself before anything else on your to- do list?
With trying to balance chores, errands, meetings, work and just daily life, it just seems selfish and impossible. Personally, I feel guilty at times putting myself first when there are other responsibilities in my life that seem more important. It’s always what we put on the back burner or save for a rainy day. Bad habits are formed from this and we almost convince ourselves that it’s acceptable.
This is exactly the problem! We have it so backwards, instead of putting ourselves first we put ourselves second. YOU should always make time for yourself (mind, body, soul). Think of your body as your car getting you from point A to point B. By taking the time to care for yourself, you are going to be able to be more successful in getting to your point A to point B. Even though it seems almost impossible at times, there is always a way.
I love the expression “You must put your health and happiness first before you can be of help to anyone else”. It really puts things into perspective. If you don’t take care of YOU (mentally & physically), how do you expect to give it your all when it comes to other people in your life and other responsibilities like our careers, education and personal relationships.
SELF-CARE: WHY START NOW?
Why start now? Anxiety has been something that I have struggled with for years. For a while, I had no idea just how serious it was and how it was negatively impacting my life. Sharing my feelings and seeking the right kind of help in my situation was the second battle. The summer leading into my freshman year of college, I spent a lot of time getting the help I needed and really focusing on ways to curb those feelings. How, you might ask? By making time and putting myself first. This was one of the biggest insecurities at the time, since nobody really understood what I was feeling or what I was going through. When you spend time with yourself, you begin to see your true identity much more clearly. I was able to tune out the old and let in the new healthy habits. I spent time focusing on what made me happiest and what made me feel whole. This process did take some time. It was not immediate by any means but like anything in life, it took time, practice and consistency. I do still have my moments of weakness, but I can honestly say that I have a better grasp on how to nourish my mind, body and soul.
The reason for sharing this is just to remind anyone who is struggling that you are not alone! Trust me, feeling alone with your emotions is just pure torture. Even those who practice self-care struggle. Sometimes what we are doing is just not enough (unfortunately). Life will always get in the way, that deadline for an upcoming project might need to trump what is on your personal to-do list. Luckily, there is always a way make time for yourself while still being productive in your everyday life.
As I mentioned before, LIFE will always be getting in the way and that will never change. What can change however, is how you handle life’s challenges when they are thrown your way. Who’s ready to start now? Whether it’s everyday, every week or when you feel you need it most, being able to make time for yourself will positively change your life. More importantly it will improve your overall well-being.
SELF CARE: HOW TO START
If you are still reading this, that means you are ready! I am happy to have you here.
To start, it’s important that you think about what it is exactly that YOU need at the moment. What are you focusing on? Is it your Mind? Body? Soul? Maybe its a combination of all three and that is completely normal. There are so many ways you can practice self-care.
Let’s get you loving yourself!
SELF CARE: FOR THE MIND
10 minute Morning ritual. You’re probably thinking “why”. How do you wake up in the morning? I am sure it involves a loud alarm or some kind of abrupt sound followed by you jumping out of bed. Sleep is the most important part of daily function. That is why waking up with “purpose” can make that sleep even more beneficial for your day ahead. Try setting your alarm 10 mins earlier everyday to practice this. I like to wake up and spend the first 5 mins stretching focusing on my upper body and then lower body. The next 10 mins I try to focus on my breathing and getting in the right headspace for the day. Being present with yourself first thing in the morning, will only help with handling stress and challenges throughout the day. You can even do this at night before you go to bed to help put you in a deeper sleep.
Create a playlist on your phone. I have a few of these on my Spotify account for my different moods. Listening to music is really therapeutic for me and it puts me into a better mood instantly. It’s a great distraction especially after to much daily human/social stimulation.
Putting your phone on Do Not Disturb. Sometimes we feel almost obligated to text someone back or answer a call after a busy or stressful day. The truth is, it’s alright to put yourself first when you just want some space.
De-Cluttering a room. From the kitchen to the bedroom all the way to your bathroom clutter piles up quickly and can drive you crazy! Focusing on one room at a time to really de-clutter and organize can really put your mind at ease. A clean space for me is the best feeling ever! I feel like I accomplished so much even if it’s just a little organization.
Make a list and write it all out. When there is a lot going on or a lot on my mind, I like to write it all out. Makes it easier for me to form a list from most important to least important when I see it all out on paper.
Visiting your “place”. We all have that one “place” that makes us feel safe. Whether it’s your backyard, your bedroom, the beach or maybe even home. When you feel safe, you are able to think more clearly and really focus on what it is on your mind. For me, it’s anywhere near a body of water. I find the sound of running water so soothing.
Explore the outdoors. Get yourself outside and make it a point to focus on the natural beauty around you.
Get yourself some fresh flowers or a scented candle. It’s been proven the smelling fresh flowers (especially roses) boosts your overall mood! Having your favorite scented candle to burn can also offer that same kind of reaction.
Look through old pictures or keepsakes. Remind yourself just how amazing you are!
Pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine. Cheers!
Write that letter to yourself that is long overdue. Get it all out! When you are done, mail it to yourself or hide it. When you are feeling down, take it out and read it.
Watch a movie alone. Sounds boring but it’s very relaxing!
SELF CARE: FOR THE BODY
Practice square breathing. You want to draw a picture in your head of a square while doing this (hence the name). Each time you take a breath it’s one line. You do this 4x (breath in for 4 exhale for 4).
Go take a walk/run. Blow off some steam and clear your head.
Dance to some music. Like nobody is watching!
Invent you own coffee/tea creation. Have fun experimenting with flavor and technique and enjoy the beauty of being creative with your drink.
Treat yourself to a self or salon mani/pedi. Boost your confidence. I suggest getting yourself your own mani kit so that everything is ready and in reach. Amazon has a great selection!
Snuggle up with a blanket. This is perfect if you live alone or just looking to feel safe and secure. I personally love the Barefoot Dreams blankets. There are also a few great weighted blankets that I suggest.
LAUGH. Whatever it is, find it and make it happen :)
Daily quote calendar. Small little reminders that everything will be alright.
Treat yourself to something BIG. Whether it’s every week or every month, reward yourself with something to give yourself something to look forward to.
Read a new book or listen to a new podcast. This can help open your mind to new adventures and possibilities.
Get active. Everyone is different so I will leave it up to you here. Try out a yoga class or fitness camp. There are so many great online programs that you can do right from the comfort of your home.
SELF CARE: FOR THE SOUL
Call/reach out to a close friend or family member. Connecting and checking up on others will help make you feel better but will mean the world to someone else. I love calling my grandparents and just sharing with them how my life is going. It means the world to them and it makes me smile hearing from them.
Journal. Get those thoughts and feeling out and on paper. Getting yourself a journal that you love can really help inspire you to write. I love journaling. I have a lot of creative moments in mine. I also struggled with a learning disability all my life (still now). Journaling allows me to be whoever I want with ZERO judgement.
Allow yourself to cry. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Let it out. This is something that I still struggle with but I do know that it’s what makes me feel good when times get rough.
Spend time with someone who makes you happy. Grab a coffee with your best friend or even your significant other. I love taking car rides with my boyfriend to places that we spend a lot of time at together.
Create a folder with inspirational quotes/saying. This is my favorite thing to do! I have been doing this for years. When I find myself struggling I look back.
Play with animals. Pet therapy is so beneficial, especially when you are feeling worried or anxious. I like to lay on the floor with my dog and just talk to her! Sounds silly but they will never share your gossip (hehe).
Disconnect from reality. Give yourself some space from your “norm”. That means getting out of the house, taking time off or just going on a mini vacay. It will restart your wellbeing.
Watch the sunrise and the sunset. Soak in this worlds true beauty!
Lay under and count stars. Make a wish!
Pray. Whatever your religion is, make time to feed your soul.
Random act of kindness. Make someone else’s day and walk away proud that you made a difference. I try to make an effort everyday to do at least 1 act. It makes me feel good but it’s just the right thing to do and being a nice person costs $0.
Visit a local garden/park. Stop and smell the roses!
Plan that trip of a lifetime. Maybe it won’t happen right away, but have a plan in place and something to look forward to!
Listen to the ocean. Smell the salt in the air, close your eyes and be at peace.
KEEP DREAMING! What is life without dreams? A life without dreams is no life at all. Never give up, never stop sparkling.
Stay healthy & be well.