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Practicing Self-Care

A woman laying with her eyes closed while she gets a facial mask applied

Summer is often a time of relaxation and renewal. Even if you no longer get a couple of months off like you did as a child, the warm weather and long days are still a prime time to slow down and rest a little.

An excellent way to recharge is to practice self-care. So many women find themselves running ragged between trying to get ahead in the workplace, keep up with household management, wrangling children, or involvement in volunteer organizations. It’s easy for your own personal health and care to get pushed to the bottom of the priority list.

Believe You’re Worth It

Self-care begins with our beliefs around taking time for ourselves. It’s not always as simple as just taking a hot bath after a long day.

You have to believe that you are worth taking care of. You have to believe that self-care is worth your limited time and/or money. You have to believe it’s a good use of your time and resources.

Our beliefs are molded by those around us. If you are struggling to convince yourself that self-care is worth it, maybe the people around you don’t think they are worth the time and effort of self-care either. It may be time to expand your circle.

Last month, we spent a lot of time talking about mindsets. As we discussed in a previous blog post, beliefs are at the root of a mindset. These beliefs translate into our thoughts, then feelings about those thoughts, and eventually become a mindset.

A diagram of how a mindset is formed. Beliefs > thoughts > feelings > results

If you don’t have that initial belief that self-care is important, it won’t translate to the behavior of self-care.

Why Self-Care?

Why should you take time for self-care? After all, you’re busy and have enough to do already! And isn’t self-care a little…selfish?

No, it’s not selfish to set aside time for self-care. Choosing self-care activities helps improve your physical and mental health. A healthy and happy version of yourself is one that is best equipped to handle the daily stresses of life.

Let’s use a metaphor to put it into perspective for those of you who struggle to justify self-care. Imagine you have a car. It’s a new car with just a few miles on it. The paint is shiny and it runs perfectly. It’s comfortable to drive in and gets great mileage.

But as you drive your car, it starts to get some wear and tear. Maybe the paint gets dinged by a shopping cart. The tires treads start to get worn from use. You’re a few hundred miles overdue for changing the oil. No big deal though, it’s all easy repairs.

If you keep driving your car without taking care of the minor issues, they start to turn into major issues. The tiny chip in the windshield turns into a crack that spreads across the whole windshield. The tires that were getting worn are now completely smooth and it’s hard to brake. The radio stopped working months ago and your seat fabric is peeling. Not changing the oil means your car gets worse gas mileage, costing you more money at the pump.

It won’t be long before this car completely gives out or the problems cause an accident.

Just like a car, you need regular “maintenance" to stay at peak performance. You wouldn’t skip an oil change for so long that your engine failed, so why would you refuse the equivalent for your mind and body?

Taking time for self-care helps you stay healthy so you’re able to be at your best. And don’t forget that it’s just as important to take care of your mental health as it is your physical health.

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.” - Katie Reed

Start a Self-Care Routine

Before you begin a self-care activity or routine, start with emotional self-awareness. Checking in with yourself is a great way to become aware of when you need some self-care and also what kind of self-care will be most helpful.

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I’m a huge fan of a feelings inventory. This will help you name your feelings. Name them to tame them!

A feelings inventory from the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence

Once you know how you’re feeling in the moment, you can determine which type of self-care activity will best help you refresh. Every person is different, so the activities you like best may be different from another person’s.

When it comes to self-care, remember the two F words - fill and fuel.

You’ve probably heard the saying before, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Make sure you take time to fill your cup so you have enough to give to others.

And refuel your tank. This will prepare you to take on whatever you need/want to do. But just like some cars take different types of fuel, you need to figure out what kind of fuel that works for you.

Finally, it’s important to be consistent with your self-care routine. It’s not something you just do once and check it off the list. Your tank needs to be refueled on a regular basis.

For some people, it may be every day. For others, it might be once a week. This is where emotional self-awareness comes in - you need to determine how often you require self-care to be at your best.

Download my free Self-Care Activities list to help you get some ideas of how to practice self-care. Let us know in the comments what activities help you refuel!

Self-Care Activities
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