Self-care is a bit of a buzz word these days but it also highlighting the fact that we may not always be good at it. If we are busy or distracted by life,  some of us tend to put our needs at the bottom of our “to do list”. So why is taking care of ourselves important.

I started thinking about my own self-care as I am doing a lot of different things, whether it’s freelancing, coaching, having a family, volunteering and trying to get some time for me. When all is well, we tend to forget that our life depends on us (yes me – yes you) and what we do with it doesn’t really matter ( we forget we only have one) . But also that our choices of what we do can impact others ( ever got angry with the kids when you are tired?)

Taking care of our body, our brain and our soul is critical for each of us to function, be the best human being we can be and live our life consciously.

Listening to our needs and being kind to ourselves is a must – and it becomes even more important when the times we are facing are so uncertain. So here are a few thoughts

  • Tip 1: Know your needs and make a list

What are you needs? When it comes to heart, brain and soul. We all need to sleep, be fed, exercise and replenish whether physically or mentally because we are humans. Sometimes we forget all this as we work or take care of the kids etc… but we also need to recover from stress and other things happening in our lives.

So make a list of all your needs: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs. what do these look like for you?

  • Tip 2: Start doing something today and be present for it

Now you have a list: think about the 2-3 things that light you up and what you know you really should do something about? This is where you should start…

What can you start today – ONE small action that will make a difference for you – write down 3 things you are grateful for, get to sleep on time, schedule a sports hour, eat breakfast or anything else you have on that list… but the most important is to be fully present in the moment – no phone – no distraction.

  • Tip 3: Schedule the time for you – just you

It should be something about YOU not anyone else – You doing something for YOU. Based on what you have chosen to do, schedule the time for you during the day/ the week.

For example, you can put on an alarm to remind you to go to bed at a certain time or remember to drink a glass of water or to have lunch or meditate. If you join a gym class and put it in your calendar.

Scheduling is key so you remember to take action and start building a habit. Keep scheduling until it becomes second nature. But even then scheduling a date with yourself to recharge is never time wasted.

So keep scheduling and having that time for you – at least 1 hour a week for new things you decide to try.

Sleep, food, water need to happen anyway as this is the only way we can at least function.

  • BUT what is if you relapse into old habits?

Stress (and many other things) can get in the way. Acknowledge your falls and what led to it. What can you learn from it? What can you do differently? We are all work in progress and we all should accept this with love and compassion for ourselves. When we fall, mental wellbeing and recovery is key: make space for these emotions and choose how you want respond, be kind to yourself we all have down moments…

so when you are in Stress mode, what is the best self-care routine for you: do you need to meditate or something else? how do you recover from the chaos around you? how do you hold a space to acknowledge the emotion you are going through? Build your stress mode self-care so next time you are prepared.

Here are some of my favourites: take a deep breathing break to recenter at least 3 times a day, listen to music (usually very loud) , dance your emotions out or read a book a whole afternoon, have a walk in nature, start a gratitude journal, have a cup of tea (or coffee) alone 1st thing in the morning… For you it can be anything from the list above or something else altogether – but this is something that should go on your list as well. So you have you “go to” actions for when stress occurs.

Recognise what helps you to decrease or recover from stress and schedule this weekly or daily if you are under more stress than usual.

  • What does support look like?

If you are serious about changing what you do for self-care, try to find a buddy – spouse or friend to help you commit to the changes you want to make.

Having support and being encouraged by others is key. Every step to improvement is great but remember it is a journey and some weeks will be harder than others. So celebrate successes, any big or small.

If you need more support – Download our Self-care checklist to help you get started

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