Self-care, the key to thriving not just surviving
In order to stay grounded, calm and patient in times when everything around us is crumbling or in upheaval, the first rule to follow is take care of yourself. I’m not just referring to a pandemic, but any situation that impacts you and your life. This could be an illness of a loved one, financial problems because a major project doesn’t materialize, problems with your partner or spouse, unexpected expenses because your car broke down. The unfortunate reality is, especially in stressful situations, we tend to “forget” how important it is to stay strong. There are so many things that seem far more important to think about, or to tackle… and we put self-care on the backburner.
I’m not thinking about vacations or hours of meditation, or whatever helps you relax and recharge. I’m thinking of a daily practice. It is far better to incorporate small bursts of self-care during the day to stay grounded and keep a clear head. It will help you process what’s going on no matter what life throws at you. It’s the first step to finding an answer, developing a solution, or determining your next move.
What is Self-care
Let’s have a look at what self-care actually means. Skip this part if you’re more interested in some ideas of how to practice self-care and move to the headline “Practice Self-care.”
Self-care is the deliberate choice of taking care of your own needs on a daily basis, regardless of commitments, responsibilities, expectations from others.
As the bare minimum we need enough sleep and nourishment for our bodies. But that would only ensure our physical survival. In order to protect our wellbeing, physically, psychologically and emotionally, there are more things to consider.
It means knowing who you are, what you like and don’t like, what gives you joy, what you aspire to, what you value, how to set limits, how to deal with difficult situations, how to relax and decompress after a stressful or demanding day.
“Self-care is something that energizes and refuels us, rather than takes from us. […] It is the key to living a balanced life.” It helps us be patient, when patience is needed, show empathy when empathy is needed, and have a clear head, when decisions have to be made.
It means taking the time to reflect on yourself and your day. What are you proud of? What would you like to do better? Are there any changes you would like to make? If so, how will you make these changes happen? What steps can you take?
What recharges us or allows us to let go of the day is different for everyone. Some prefer sweating and working it out, others prefer quiet and writing it down. It can also depend on your mood, the weather, or the people you are with. In summer, you may prefer walking in nature, in winter you may prefer sitting down with a glass of wine and a good book.
Do you know what helps you decompress after a stressful or demanding day? What can you do on the spot to feel grounded or keep a clear head?
Here are some ideas in case you need a little reminder or quick start:
- Take 10 deep breaths
- Leave the room for a moment
- Close your eyes and feel what’s going on in your body
- Walk around the block
- Get a cup of coffee or tea
- Practice your favorite sport
- Play with your children
- Listen to music
- Meditate or pray
- Go for a walk at the beach, in the woods, in the fields, in your town
- Have a glass of wine and reflect on your day
- Read a book or listen to one
- Light a candle and write in your journal
- Do a craft (sewing, quilting, crocheting, coloring, painting,…)
- Work in your yard
- Sit and allow the day to pass by in front of your inner eye
- Take a hot bath or shower
- Prepare a meal and eat with your family or friends
There are so many things you can do; be creative and give yourself the gift of time to find out. What helps you to feel grounded? What helps you to decompress? And then, most importantly, do it. You will be a happier mom, spouse, parent, you name it, for it.
I can’t wait to hear from you. Until next time,