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There’s no question that in today’s day and age we lead busy lives, and that can wear on us all. We take care of long to do lists, and often forget to take care of ourselves. But self care — the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health — is vital to our well being and performance in all areas of life. While many people think of outer self care, like getting exercise, sleep, and eating well, there’s also inner self care. This includes your creative self expression, positive self talk, and having fun that’s solely for you. The sum of these little things adds up to one happier, healthier, more appreciated you.
Many people feel the term alone — self care — sounds, well, selfish. But the truth is, your energy level and mood impact everyone around you. When you take time to look out for yourself, you’ll see that different aspects of your life improve. Perhaps your coworkers will take note of your increased productivity. Or your spouse will find you more engaged in conversation and more energetic. Your kids? Well not only will they see a more patient, thoughtful parent, they’ll learn from example that it’s important to take care of yourself. Everyone around you will come to expect that your time is being spent as it should be, and that your wellbeing factors into a busy schedule too.
Strategy One: Set Your Energy For the Day
When you wake up (or hit your afternoon slump), try a few minutes of yoga. This will give you time to slow your busy mind, and get your blood flowing. If the idea of downward dog or child’s pose is intimidating to you, check into an app like Gixo for a bit of guidance through your practice. Then figure out which poses feel best to you and incorporate them into your day when you need a reset.
It’s easy to get caught up in the vibration of the world around you — even when it’s not in sync with your personal vibrations. When you focus on self care, you tend to notice how much of what you’re feeling belongs to you, as opposed to what you’re taking on unintentionally. When you’re in tune with your body — your breathing, your movement, etc, you are less likely to feel at mercy to the things happening around you.
Strategy Two: Learn When to Speed Up and When to Slow Down
Taking a moment to be conscious of your breath will calm you down. At that point, take note. If you need an energy or happiness booster, do some cardio. If you need a tension reliever, simply move around to create change for your mind and body. And if you need to slow down, focus on bringing your breathing to a slow, steady, and controlled pace — clearing your mind of everything else.
We’ve all been there...grumpy, tired, short-tempered, and tough to be around. You know those days where you just hope some outside force will show up to nurture you, give you positive affirmations, and know just what you need? Well, the truth is, that outside force is you. Depending on other people to create your happiness is actually a lot more difficult.
Strategy Three: Create a Self Care Toolbox
Nobody knows what you need more than you do. And that changes on any given day. So think about what’s missing when you do feel depleted, and make a list of ideas that will refuel you when that moment strikes. Maybe it’s some positive affirmations you read to yourself. Maybe it’s a quick 5-minute workout at your desk. Maybe it’s a high-protein snack. Whatever it is, notice when you’re becoming needy and fill that need in a positive way.
Your physical and mental health are in your hands, so not only is self care not selfish, it’s vital. Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Exercise. Be kind to yourself. Have fun. And remember, while apples are great for you, self care every day is the real way to keep that doctor away.