Some days it’s easy to maintain equilibrium. Everything proceeds along as normal without surprises or hiccups. Those are the clear sky, smooth sailing days. Other days we encounter surprise storms, and coping becomes more of a challenge. Then there are the times we hit prolonged periods of rough waters, and coping day after day feels almost beyond our reach. Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to care for our emotional, mental, and physical health. By ensuring we take time for self-care every day, each of us can maintain a sense of balance regardless of what the new day brings.
In the safety demonstration on airplanes, they tell you to give yourself oxygen before giving it to your children. Self-care is the oxygen we need to deal with the world around us effectively. By practicing self-care strategies daily, we can improve our moods, reduce anxiety, and foster better relationships with others.
“By ensuring we take time for self-care every day, each of us can maintain a sense of balance regardless of what the new day brings.”
How you spend your mornings will set the tone for your whole day. If the first thing you do on waking is to check the headlines or your social media feed or messages, you are inviting stress and noise into your day from the get-go. News and messages can wait. Better to set a foundation of calm and clear-sightedness for the new day.
That should start with a glass of water. After a night of sleep, all of us wake up a little dehydrated. Beyond hydrating you, a glass of water increases your level of alertness and helps fuel your brain.
After that, a morning routine becomes a matter of personal choice. Some people prefer fifteen or twenty minutes of meditation. Others find perspective by writing in a gratitude journal, while others choose a walk in the fresh air or exercise to ground themselves. Choose what feels right to you and take the time to do it.
Pay attention to your diet
In times of stress, we might reach for whatever food is fast or easy or comforting – and sometimes that’s certainly okay, but we need to remember what we eat affects us mentally as well as physically. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet of primarily fruits and vegetables and fish are healthier and seem to be less at risk of depression than those who indulge in fatty meats and processed foods. A nutritious diet helps to increase energy levels and manage stress.
Do things to invite love into your life
Certain things make just about all of us feel loved.
- Someone shows compassion toward us in difficult times
- A child snuggles up to us
- Our pets are happy to see us
- Someone tells us, “I love you.”
Make a point of giving yourself reasons to feel loved or helping someone else feel loved every day. Other things you can do are connect with friends and family. Do things together.
One of the most important things you need to do to bring love and acceptance into your life is to listen to the way you talk to yourself. Notice when you are being harsh with yourself or berating and counter negative statements with positive ones. Talk to yourself as you would to your best friend. Reward yourself for getting through stressful periods or hitting milestones. Be kind to yourself. Always.
Ask for help and accept help when it is offered
Many of us don’t take stress and mental health as seriously as we should – especially regarding ourselves. If you are feeling stressed out or depressed, talk to someone. That could be a therapist. It could also be a friend or family member. Remember, there are people around you who care for you and want to help.
“Be kind to yourself. Always.”
Set aside time for things you enjoy
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do every day. Between work, family, and chores, the things we enjoy doing can fall through the cracks. We forget those are the things that bring joy to our lives. Put aside a little me-time every day. Whether you spend your time reading a book, playing with your pet, listening to or making music, gardening – whatever it is, make a point of giving some of the day to yourself.
By ensuring to make time for self-care every day, we can meet each day’s challenges from a place of balance and personal power no matter what the sea buoying our boat is doing.