Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do to enrich your life.
Different areas of your life will require more care than others from time to time, but it is vital to think about all aspects of your life when making goals and plans.
Self-care is important at all times in our life.
However, remember when you go through crappy and stressful times of life, that is the time to step up the self-care game, not ignore it.
I wrote about self-care when times are hard earlier as I have several difficult situations I am dealing with now. These ideas are mostly soothing and relaxing techniques that we can use throughout our daily lives but especially in times of stress.
- Sleep more
- Eat healthy
- Breathing techniques (Pranayama)
- Warm bath
In self-care 2.0 it is time to expand on these ideas.
Look at the following seven areas of life. They all require attention or you can experience negative consequences down the road.
7. Personal development
Self-care 2.0 requires that you think about taking care of all these areas of your life.
Are you spending quality time and effort on each area daily? Weekly?
Daily might not always work out, but I suggest thinking about these areas in terms of your weekly goals or focus.
1. Physical self-care
You only get one body. Take care of it. Sometimes, even after all we do, our bodies can get sick — life happens. If that happens though, hopefully you have a strong, healthy body to help you in your fight for wellness.
Put thought into the care of your body. Illness, disease and the inability to function physically can put a damper on your overall life satisfaction and happiness.
People often only appreciate their health when they lose it.
We all know what we need to do, but the advice is rarely followed:
Eat well — increase healthy fats, decrease trans-fats, eat proteins from healthy sources, limit sugar, etc. The diet advice is there. Listen. Diet is the biggest influencer of your health and BMI.
Work on getting to a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of many diseases and increases your chance of injury and physical limitations.
Exercise daily — Do Something! Even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing.
Take some supplements — I recommend Vitamin D (2000 IU’s daily), Magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids (find a pure source please!), and a good multi (not a drugstore brand ok?) as a minimum.
Are you feeling depressed? Anxious? Angry?
These emotions are ok. However, if they are impacting your life, your career, your relationships or more, then you need to deal with them.
Get counselling. Perhaps you need medication. Exercise can help. Group therapy. Whatever. Deal with your emotions. It may take your whole life to learn coping mechanisms that work — and that’s ok. Just take the first step to heal troubling emotions.
Identifying how you are feeling.
Journal about your feelings. Start sentences in your journal with “I feel….”. Identifying our feelings is the first step to emotional maturity.
Try to incorporate more stolen moments of joy in every life. Cultivate gratitude.
I was raised in quite a strict religious home and have since decided that was not for me. And I’ll admit to feeling doubt and confusion when people have mentioned a spiritual life.
Spirituality, however, is not religion. We all can, despite our beliefs or because of them, experience spirituality in our daily life. This can make our life more joyful and mindful.
Anything that feeds your soul, your inner-self, is considered a spiritual practice.
For some it is church. For others, it is meditation and mindful movement. I find a deep inner journey during some yoga classes. When I am focusing on my breath and the postures only, my mind becomes still.
Nature can be a great way to move your awareness within.
Paying attention to your finances is part of self-care. Overspending, neglecting to think of your future and ignorance of where you stand financially and where you want to go, is neglect.
When you are planning your life, take time to think about your budget, your retirement (hey — don’t wait until you are in your 50’s to plan for this!), and your savings.
Make a plan to pay down your debt slowly. Put something away for the future on every pay cheque.
Think about your financial goals and touch base with them often. Check-in and evaluate how you are doing. If you have gone off-course, then get back on track.
No matter where you are at in your career, you can do things to make it better.
Take some classes, smile more at work, go back to school, make work better by improving workflow, or whatever.
People usually have many work-related goals. Think about how much satisfaction your job gives you. Work on that.
The quality of our relationships often determines the quality of our life.
If your relationships are healthy and strong — then don’t neglect them. Keep them tended. Relationships are like a garden, they need water, nutrients and sunlight to thrive.
Put in time. Time is an element of healthy relationships that cannot be replaced with gifts or anything. If you have no time for the important people in your life, what is that telling them? Are they really a priority?
Work on your communication skills. Practice opening up to those people who are close to you. Be authentic.
7. Personal Development
This area touches on areas such as confidence, self-love, and improvement.
While not suggesting you aren’t enough as you are — because you are enough — there are things we all want to improve on.
What do I want to be like? Is what I am doing making me a better person?
Who do I admire and how can I emulate and grow like they did?
Self care matters.
Think about your whole self while you make your daily, weekly and yearly plans and goals. Only focusing on one or two areas of life causes imbalances in your life and possible negative consequences.
Self-care doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Keep it simple. Keeping these seven areas in mind, while giving extra care to your self during periods of stress, can help you have more moments of peace and security.