by Dee Rene
As women it can seem like everyone needs us, all the time, everyday. From crying babies to confused co-workers, to husbands and aging parents, someone is constantly asking for us to meet their needs. Most of us carry these responsibilities well. We put on our “Strong Woman” hat and just get it done, even if means our own needs become distant memories. We love our people, so we put them first. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go?
There’s an old quote that says, “If you aren’t good to yourself, you’ll be no good to anyone else.” What’s going to happen if you burn out from ignoring your own self-care? Self-care doesn’t always have to mean taking a day off for the spa. There are five simple things you can do right now, everyday, to truly take care of yourself.
1. Talk to yourself like a friend, not an enemy.
Your true inner voice is not a bully. Anytime you catch yourself hurling insults, being overly critical, or beating yourself up—stop. Stop right there and ask why you are talking to yourself like an enemy instead of a friend. Be reflective yet gentle with who you are and where you are right now. Self-care means building yourself up from the inside out.
2. Learn to unplug.
How many times have you caught yourself wasting hours away on social media or—even worse—comparing yourself to the fabulous lives everyone else seems to be living? Not only can the phone, TV, and Internet be time-sucks, but they can cause you to think the highlights you see of everyone else’s life are the whole story. Unplugging means turning off all the electronics to take some time to hear your own thoughts. It’s possible to relax while getting lost in a Netflix binge, but are you really relaxing or avoiding being alone with yourself? Unplugging can help you get back in tune with yourself.
3. Draw boundaries by realizing the power of “no.”
Say no and mean it. When you have nothing left to give, when you’ve done all you can, or when you simply do not want to do something, just say no. Your desire to be there for everyone else and handle every situation is eventually going to run you into the ground. Every now and again you can overextend yourself for someone, but if it’s a daily occurrence, you need to learn the power of saying no. Draw boundaries with people who want to dump all of their stuff on you. Listen to yourself when it feels like you are stretched too thin. It’s not selfish to acknowledge when you’ve reached your limit; it’s self-preservation.
4. Follow the 10 minute rule.
No matter what, take 10 minutes for yourself. Maybe that’s a quick lap around the office, or a dance party in your room. Maybe it’s a prayer, or reading a few pages of that novel you want to finish. Whatever you can do in those 10 minutes, make it truly your time to focus on doing something that makes you happy. How often do we get to the end of a long day and realize we didn’t even eat because we were too busy doing this and that for others? By giving yourself 10 minutes, at least you will be able to say, “I did something for me today.”
5. Practice gratitude as a daily habit.
Self-care is also about taking your eyes off your many obligations, stressors, and concerns, and getting in tune with being grateful for the good in your life. Don’t get lost in what feels like a never-ending to-do list. Take time to thank others, yourself, and your Higher Power for the things that bring you joy. The funny thing is when you put more focus on what brings you happiness—rather than what brings you stress—you find ever more reasons to be joyful.
Dee Rene is a connoisseur of snacks and brunch. Her focus is holding onto faith in all the things that make us laugh, cry and cuss. Follow me her on Twitter: @deerene_.