3 Secrets for Self-Care Made Easy
Without consistent self-care you can’t cope very well. You can snap at the littlest things because emotionally you're spent. When you don’t have enough energy, life isn’t much fun.
This blog provides a road map to get yourself back to center. You know - feeling like you can handle things and maybe even relax a bit. When was the last time you felt like that?
1. Get Back to Basics
You can’t enjoy life if you’re too tired to DO life. And you can't do much good to anyone when you're running on empty.
Basic needs like healthy food, exercise and sleep seem obvious but when was the last time you got enough sleep or had consistent workouts?
If you need a gentle nudge, here are some interesting facts.
Being sleep deprived (4.5 hours) contributes to irritability, overeating and depression.
A diet loaded with sugar and fat has been linked with depression.
Regular exercise is shown to decrease depression and anxiety.
A healthy breakfast stabilizes energy throughout the day and improves mood.
Talking a 20 minute walk enhances decision making skills.
For a quick stress check use the acronmyn from Alcoholics Anonymous, HALT which stands for Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. How many times have you gotten into a pointless argument right before dinner or when you were really tired?
2. Letting Yourself Be Supported
When you’re juggling a career, kids, and aging parents maintaining friendships isn't a priority. Maybe you’ve lost touch with old friends and don’t have time to create new ones.
Feeling supported is a vital part of self-care. Call an old friend or connect with someone new. Maintaining social connections takes effort. Even if you’re not a “group person” having a safe place to belong or contribute to helps to feel more connected. Without a sense of belonging, it's easy to slip into isolation or depression.
Another part of self-care is asking for help. Doing everything yourself is lonely. Being authentic requires a willingness to be vulnerable. Having your own support makes it easier to handle life because you know you're not alone.
Meetup groups or classes on fun stuff
12 step groups to build self-esteem and heal relationships
Church or spiritual communities
Personal growth seminars/workshops
Private Facebook groups
Having a tribe - whether it's a group, an organization or a few close friends, matters. When a crisis hits, friendship is your first line of defense. You can talk things out instead of resorting to unhealthy behaviors like using substances to cope with the stress. Those connections also keep your primary relationship healthy because you're not overly dependant on your partner.
3. Give Yourself a Break
People who struggle with depression have lost the ability to enjoy life. One day blurs into the next and you forget what makes you want to wake up in the morning.
What about giving yourself a lazy day? Yeah I know, "you don't have the time" but if you can't stop for even half a day you're going way too fast! When my son was little I'd let him take a mental health day once in awhile. I taught him that self-care is a vital part of emotional health. Hopefully, he’ll carry that into adulthood.
Taking time for yourself isn’t lazy. In fact, it actually increases productivity. A study in the journal Cognition found that taking short breaks can dramatically improve your ability to focus for longer periods. Taking a break works!
Enjoying moments with family and friends are what brings us joy, not our laundry list of obligations. Go to your favorite Starbucks with your BFF, or steal some precious alone time in your house. These moments can add up and make life fun again. When you’re too busy keeping up with your life you can forget that you have one.
What’s one thing you can do to take better care of yourself this week?
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