This time of year is full of enthusiasm and opportunity for change. We are hungry for things to be different as we begin a fresh chapter and set our intentions for becoming our best selves. More and more of us are learning that being our best selves requires a commitment to taking good care of ourselves. So, here are 5 easy ways to practice self-care for a compassionate sustainable approach.
There are a million reasons you don’t have an hour to spare for yourself. But only a few reasons why you can’t take 5 minutes. And 5 minutes a day can change your life. Spend it sitting quietly with your coffee without multitasking, taking some mindful breaths, reading a few pages of a book, singing to your favorite song in the car — 5 minutes.
Start with what you know you like.
These 5 minutes may not be the time to try to learn a new hobby or push way outside your comfort zone (though good for you if it is!). Think about the things you have already done in your life that bring you a sense of calm or ease, maybe as far back as childhood, and start there. It might be coloring, puzzles, going for a walk, listening to music, reading, or taking a bath. There are a million ideas that you can google. But first, check in with what feels familiar to you already because you’re more likely to do it.
Build in these 5 minutes into your routine.
While it is lovely to periodically escape from life for self-care, we are most effective when our self-care is integrated into our day-to-day. Think about how you can tack on a self-care moment to things you already do, like taking deep breaths in the shower or journaling for 5 minutes when you are getting ready to get out of bed. Maybe parking at a beautiful pull-out on your daily commute is something you can manage.
Pay attention to what feelings come up.
One of the primary reasons we don’t do self-care is that we feel guilty. And if we dig underneath that guilt, we may find that we’re feeling unworthy. We may have been programmed to see self-care as “self-ish,” which can trigger shame and anxiety. Notice the feelings and any resistance, and acknowledge them. Seek support if these feelings are so intense you can’t move through them alone.
Be gentle with yourself.
Changing habits takes time and repetition, and this one is emotionally loaded. If you don’t do it today, let it go and start again tomorrow, or break it down into an even smaller step or strategy that feels more manageable. Remind yourself you are worthy and capable, and try to catch those self messages around failure and defeat.
Here are some affirmations you can try to help you on your journey.
- I am worthy of care, time, and attention.
- I am the only one who is going to put my needs first.
- I am best for others when I am the best version of myself
- I can learn how to be there for me
- Self-care is a superpower
- Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury
- Taking care of myself will lead me to the life I want to have
- Progress not perfection
- I love myself enough
- I honor my energy, my body, and my spirit
By Ashley Green, LICSW & Karen Foster
Suggested Read: Radical Compassion by Tara Brach
If you are interested in taking a deep dive into the power of self-care, this book is the perfect place to start.
If you’ve landed here and need more guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.