3 Tips for True "Self-Care"
If you're not careful these days, you'll think that the only forms of self care are mani/pedi, massages, spa days, and bubble baths. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Saturdays are usually my self care days. As a child, Saturday was for cleaning, but in my house - I make the rules. On Saturdays, you'll be hard pressed to see me leave the couch for anything except using the bathroom and eating. I sit on the couch until hunger forces me to peel myself away. Then, after eating, I retreat to my same corner of the couch... lather, rinse, repeat.
For me, this is the highest form of self-care and no, I don't mean laziness. By sitting on the couch, I am doing exactly what I feel like doing - nothing more and nothing less. This, to me, is the essence of true self-care. What better way to take care of oneself than to listen to AND honor your own feelings. And by the way, in all honesty, leaving the house for a mani/pedi is too much work for me! Too bad we're in the midst of a pandemic, otherwise I might pay someone to come to the house for massages.
If you find that you've been feeling burned out and overwhelmed, it's about time for some true self-care. I hope these 3 tips will help you to relax and find pockets of joy in your life:
Don't put more on yourself than you can handle. In the beginning of the pandemic, I heard so many people saying to use this time wisely, start the business you've been meaning to start, learn a new skill, etc. I rebelled against that because the pandemic may have given us the gift of more time at home, but only in the most traumatic way possible. Other people may have found great success during this time, but that doesn't mean that the same has to be true for you. You don't need to compare yourself to anyone else. What works for someone else doesn't necessarily work for you. Only you truly know your limits. Don't try to do more than you know you're capable of. If that means resting on Saturday instead of researching LLC names then so be it!
Give yourself grace. Finishing your to-do lists can feel wonderful, but does that mean that an unfinished to-do list needs to bring you stress? (And this is coming from someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder) Your success in life is not contingent upon your finished to-do lists. Waking up, remembering to eat, (if you have kids) taking care of your children and making sure they're fed, resisting the urge to pop off on your rude coworker - these are the things that make us truly successful. If God gives you another day on this Earth, what wasn't finished today can always be finished tomorrow. Set goals and set them with the intent to reach them, but don't hurt yourself when your goals aren't met in the timeframe you thought they would be.
Honor your boundaries. The best self-care advice I can give is to honor your boundaries. Say "no" and mean it. Set boundaries and keep them, no matter how much you're being pressured. You have to be your own biggest cheerleader and strongest advocate. If someone is making you uncomfortable, take yourself out of that situation. You owe it to yourself and especially your mental health to be stand firm in the things you believe even in the face of naysayers.
Personally, I find that I tend to take better care of others than I do myself, but I am on a mission to change that and I challenge you to do the same. One of my favorite quotes is "You cannot pour from an empty cup" and it's so true. When you're not exercising self care, you will start to feel burned out and empty. By doing these 3 things, I hope you will start to feel that your cup is running over with enough for everyone else. After all, we shouldn't be giving to others from our cup - those are our reserves and they're just for us. We should be giving from the overflow. My prayer for all of us is that our cups will run over with enough beauty and light to share with the world.