1. Take a few moments for reflection and meditation. Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths, even in your chair at work, or in your car at a red light, can allow you the quiet time and space to ask yourself, “what do I really need right now?” Even if you don’t get an answer every time, the very act of asking the question has value. If you give yourself these small moments to slow down, breath, reflect and ask the question, in time, you may be surprised at the insights you have.
2. Choose one action step daily towards self-care. If we choose one small step each day that we want to do, can do and will do each day towards self-care and actually do it, by the end of the week, a lot of progress can be made. By the end of a month, new habits can be put in place. By the end of a year, significant life style change can take place.
3. Write down your action step and put it on your calendar. When we commit to do something, write it down and pencil it in on our calendar, it becomes easier to move from thought to action. Writing embodies the idea. Scheduling it makes the time and space when we can do it. If we have defined when we will do it, it is easier to do it.
4. Acknowledge every little step you take. A recurring theme I hear from many of my clients is how little appreciation and acknowledgement they get. A great place to begin in filling the appreciation pot is by taking a moment to acknowledge ourselves when we take positive steps. This kind of appreciation does not build conceit, but builds a healthy sense of self-respect and self-love. Too often we take ourselves for granted. If we don’t take ourselves for granted, perhaps those around us won’t either.
5. Just do it. It is so easy to come up with excuses or reasons NOT to take care of ourselves. We can always look at the looming deadline, the needs of others, and the effort it will take and put self-care off. It takes far less energy to just do it than to feel anxious about the obstacles and reasons that get in our way of doing it!
6. Get support. No man or woman was meant to be an island. Yet in today’s world, too many of us become isolated too easily. Whether the pathological self-reliance instilled by our culture makes us feel like we are supposed to do EVERYTHING by ourselves, or we don’t take the time to keep up connections, in the end, isolation breeds stress and cortisol, and connection breeds comfort and oxytocin!
7. Find a coach or mentor. No matter how smart or competent we are, we can’t know everything. Even if we know something, it feels different having someone else watch over us and steward us and help us learn, grow and succeed. The “sponsor” system of the 12-step world provides profound support as individuals move towards healing, self-care and higher goals.
For more information visit Healing Heart Power
Marks, Linda. (2006). The Power Of Self-Care In A “Crazy Busy” Culture. http://www.healingheartpower.com/self-care.html