Are you taking care of yourself? It’s the question I get asked, and find myself asking other women, nearly every day. In the busy-ness of our lives the business of self-care is often easily overlooked. After all, we spend much of our lives as nurturers – mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunties and friends who look after others, often at the expense of ourselves.
Our commitment to compassion and loving others – not to mention our dreams, ambitions and high standards of excellence – often leaves us little room for self-care. Yet we know, if we don’t take care of ourselves we eventually cannot tend to the needs of others. Our health, wealth, and sanity all pay a price when our self-care is put on the back burner.
But here’s the thing…we already know that. Most of us would LOVE to have more time to take care of ourselves, but hey – we’ve got stuff to do. Our days are filled to the brim with important and often non-negotiable responsibilities. I mean what are we going to do…let our families and businesses fend for themselves? Of course not, at least not for very long! Self-care sounds great, but in reality it turns into one more thing to feel guilty about, because we never get to the point where we can act on our good intentions.
Ladies, I feel you! That’s why this year for Loving on Me Day, February 13, we’re launching #365SelfCare – a campaign to make taking care of you an achievable to-do! We’re kicking off with seven steps we all CAN DO everyday to Slay our Self-Care. Check them out to see if any are right for you!
- Set the Tone for Your Day – Forget rolling over to check our phones as our first act of the day. Instead let’s embrace a moment of gratitude, beginning our day with an attitude of thanks. When we set the tone for the day, we reclaim our power to keep it positive. Let’s not let someone else’s tweet, post or email steal our joy before our day gets started.
- Cultivate Selective Ignorance – It’s time to release ourselves from the need for real-time updates. Those of us that are old enough to remember what it was like before we had a 24/7 news cycle can assure our younger sisters that it is possible to stay informed without being obsessed. If it’s really important the news will find you. In the meantime, let’s repurpose our time to areas where we can be productive and keep our peace of mind.
- Focus and Finish Your Top 3 – Study after study shows that multi-tasking reduces productivity and may even cause brain damage. Yet we continue to do it because it gives us the illusion of getting more done in less time. In truth what’s really happening is that we’re doing a bunch of stuff mediocrely, and mastering none. Let’s commit to excellence and reduce our stress by focusing on less. Start by identifying your top three to-do each day, and then begin with what’s most important first. If you resist the urge to add more to your list, you’ll be amazed how much you accomplish and how well it will be done, simply by giving yourself permission to pay attention.
- Schedule Joy Breaks – When life is full to overflowing, it’s important to identify those little things we can do each day to decompress. Calling a friend, playing with our pets, or taking a short walk outside can boost our mood, and give us fresh energy to finish the day. The key is to add those 15-minute breaks to our calendar, and stick with them. Renewing our spirit is essential for creating a balanced, healthy life.
- Stop Unnecessary Speech – Someone once told me “You will never win an argument you shouldn’t be having.” Did that just stop you in your tracks like it did me? When you think about how much energy most of us waste in conversations to nowhere you can see how essential learning how to stop talking is to our self-care. Let’s protect our mind from the chaos that comes from arguing, and instead be more selective about how and when we speak.
- Embrace an Evening Ritual – Often our evenings are so full there’s no clear end to our day. It’s as if we’re on all the time, and as a result, our bodies and minds never get a signal that it’s time to slow down and relax. That’s why it’s important to develop a repetitive way to close out your day. For me it’s those few precious moments every night when I’m taking off my make-up. As I cleanse my face and rub on my moisturizer I spend a little time loving on me. I intentionally slow myself down so I can enjoy the experience, closing out my work day the same way I begin – by giving thanks.
- Steep Yourself in Sleep – It’s recommended that women over the age of 18 get seven – nine hours of sleep each night, yet most of us get far less. Pregnancy, menopause, a medical condition or stress can all cause temporary interruptions in our sleep. But for many of us there are some easy remedies we can try – leave the phone in the kitchen, avoid caffeine and sugary foods too close to bedtime, turn the tv off, and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Turns out Mom was right – a bedtime does a body good. Getting proper rest is what allows us to perform at our best.
So what you think? Are you on board for #365SelfCare?
Listen I know we sometimes think of self-care as those things we can squeeze in during our “me time,” or better yet with our girls – going to the spa, stopping for a mani/pedi, or scheduling a quick weekend getaway. While I agree that those are important, and definitely fun, they aren’t the foundation of good self-care that lead to a happy, empowered life. If we want to be healthy – mind, body, and soul – we have to make good choices to protect ourselves from the things that tear us down, and saturate ourselves with activities that affirm our worth.
When you take control of your day, you can slay your self-care, while still being compassionate, successful and committed to making a difference. Let’s figure it out, together!
Hugs and Love
PS – Join us in launching #365SelfCare February 13, Loving on Me Day – our time to celebrate what’s brilliant about you.