"Self-care" has become an overused term. I'm guilty of it too! Self-care doesn't mean spending loads of money on a spa package, but rather it's a way of adjusting our lives to find time for ourselves. It can also mean reassessing how we spend our time.
what energizes you
Make a list of energizing activities
In this list, rank the activities that you would like to add to your schedule. Maybe you enjoy hiking and want to go once a month instead of once every two months. Anticipate how much time is necessary and realistic for each of these activities. Ideally, we might want to go on a hike for two hours, but realistically, we would still enjoy a 30-minute hike in the woods.
what's meaningful to you?
Reminding ourselves of the basics helps us shed light on whether our time reflects what's meaningful to us. This awareness guides us. It shows us what's important and how we want to spend our time. If we value family, does our schedule show that we're spending enough time with those who matter to us? Along the same lines, we have to take care of ourselves first in order to be there for our family.
Break down those tasks into smaller chunks
Write down all the tasks that need to be completed related to the larger task. Let's say that you have to return an item by mail. The smaller tasks might include finding the return slip or the address, getting postage, and going to a UPS drop-off center.
Set a timer
For those tasks that we're really not looking forward to doing or ones that we've been avoiding, set a timer for 20 minutes. Most likely, you'll continue working past 20 minutes once you get into the groove.
Think about how you'll feel afterwards
There's nothing like that gratifying feeling when you check something off your list. Maybe this means finishing one of the tasks required for the bigger task.
Yes, we all have those moments when we wait until the last minute to get something done. Here are some tools to keep in mind to work with your procrastination because we won't always be perfect and on top of things.
What does it mean to love yourself? Sometimes we're harder on ourselves than we are on our friends. We may be so caught up in our self-judgment that we can't focus on and appreciate what's in front of us.
Self-love means treating ourselves with kindness and non-judgment. It means telling others what we need. Sometimes this takes the form of setting healthy boundaries with others and telling a friend that we need time by ourselves.
what you're feeling is something that makes us human.
When we tell ourselves that others would feel the same way in this situation, we remind ourselves that our experience matters. This type of self-talk counters feelings of isolation. Acknowledging that others would encounter similar feelings is a way of relating to and finding commonalities with others.
Focus on yourself.
By focusing on what we need, we're able to take care of ourselves. When comparing ourselves, we only witness a snapshot of what others’ lives look on the outside. Unless we know that person well, we don't know what's going on for them personally. When we come across someone with the "perfect " career, we are assuming that everything else in that person's life is "perfect ".
Imagine yourself speaking to your critical voice.
No we're not saying that you're hearing voices! Empathize with yourself. Talk to yourself as though you were giving advice to your friend, "Anyone in your situation would feel that way." By practicing this technique, it will become more natural to use this alternative, more caring tone with yourself.
Observe & Record your thoughts.
It's a lot easier to spiral into more extreme thoughts when we encounter negative thoughts about ourselves. Start by recording these thoughts daily. Then every time we notice that we are having a judgmental thought about ourselves, we are more aware. The next time you encounter a negative thought, see if you can observe your thought without judging it. Notice, "Oh I guess I'm not saying very nice things to myself." Having this perspective creates more distance so that we're less likely to be consumed by our thoughts.
Identify one thing that you're proud of yourself for accomplishing.
When we accomplish something, we might move on and forget to celebrate. Sometimes, we feel no recognition because we do not embrace our past successes.
As an exercise, write down your accomplishments. Be sure to highlight what specific actions that you took and why they are important and meaningful to you.