When life gets busy, women need to put their own mask on before helping others.
With our busy lifestyles, it can be a challenge to take care of ourselves because we often, as women, take care of everyone else but us. When we are not practicing good self-care, how can we be at our best in our career, raising a family, and while balancing a healthy lifestyle?
Self-care is the answer but means something different to each of us. To me, self-care means making “my appointment with myself” each week. I coined this phrase but finally realized I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. It was easier said than done.
I would often go for a run and end up cutting it short because I felt a need to please someone who in the end didn’t really appreciate my time. I would also often carry my phone in hand while working out in case anyone needed to get in touch and that was fatal for my overall health. While running, I felt distracted, my heart beating quickly, which continued on after my run was over. The only way I could feel better afterwards was to take a few deep breaths and practice my mantra: “I can do this.”
In the end, “my appointment with myself” wasn’t working effectively. I had to re-examine my self-care tip. At the time, I felt selfish for taking out time for myself, and that I should be doing something else instead. I had to change my mindset and decided every week I would focus on me for an hour and a half no matter what. After about a couple of weeks I was putting it into practice.
The key is to practice self-care that works for your lifestyle and for your overall well-being. I look forward to my self-care tip each week on Fridays. “My appointment with myself” is going for my run without my phone and this helps me to think more clearly and be able to cope better with my life as an entrepreneur and host of my own shows.
By looking after ourselves there is a feeling of accomplishment that sets in and confidence builds.
How to practice self-care
Create a weekly self-care tip
Think of one self-care tip each week that would make you feel good and help in other areas of your busy life.
Rita Garnto, a self-care expert and international author of Simple Self-Care Saved Me! says “SIMPLE self-care is any self-care action that is not complex nor rocket science that can slide into your day with very little interruption to your schedule. These are simple acts of self-care that only take a few moments and are highly effective at activating your relaxation mode.”
So, how do we set ourselves up for success and not failure?
Start with one thing
Looking at the list below, pick the one thing that resonates with you the most – the one you would like to do and can see yourself wanting to do:
- Take 3-6 deep breaths while focusing on wiggling your toes. (Who knew?!… it could be this easy!)
- Break off a small piece of chocolate (I love dark chocolate) and let it melt in your mouth while focusing on the flavor nuances and texture of the melting chocolate. (This taste-focus can also be used on your evening glass of wine, or other beverage, to allow you to slow down and savour the flavour.)
- Walk outside, close your eyes (if it is safe to do so) and focus on how many different sounds you hear.
- Do 5-10 backward shoulder rolls while taking deep breaths.
- Get up off the chair or couch and do 10 jumping jacks.
- Play your favorite upbeat song and have a quick dance party for one.
- Make a list… get all those things OUT of your head! (This is great right before bedtime.)
- Read a funny short story.
- Find an inspirational quote that resonates and read it aloud several times.
- Repeat a positive “I am…” statement 10 times.
Take stock of your day
Become aware of the moments in your busy day when irritation and frustration is high (in other words, when you are feeling stressed or feel tension in your body).
Increased frustration, irritability, racing heartbeat, pounding in your head, and muscle tension are sure signs of a stress response happening in your body. Acknowledge these stressed feelings – they are valid! Stop what you are doing for just a moment and then do your one thing from the list above. You can also schedule your one thing at regular intervals during the day. Do both options as needed.
Just do it!
Nike had the right idea with their slogan, “Just Do It!” But this will only work if you consistently put it into action. You’ve got this, girl!
Self-care expert Rita Garnto continues, “You have got this, and you can do it by keeping your stress-busting goals simple and being consistent. Don’t forget – you are not alone, and it does take a community to help all of us succeed. You just must ask for support – it’s out there!”
In the end, choose the best self-care option that works for you and it may take some time and effort to put it into practice.
More Inspiration: Check out this helpful article on how to get unstuck in life.