Is the weekend really enough time to unwind and care for ourselves? True self-care comes in the form of daily acts of love and kindness that we’re willing to give to ourselves.
Go on social media on a weekend, and you’ll see post after post about self-care – spending the day resting, relaxing with family and friends, reading in bed, or going to the spa. While all of these things are great, self-care goes beyond a weekend of rest, going to the gym a few days a week, or getting your nails done regularly.
Self-care is about the everyday ways that we honor and care for our bodies and minds.
Self-care is the ultimate form of self-love, which we deserve every single day, hour, minute and second. It’s about taking care of your physical AND emotional needs. This involves sensing your inner state and taking action to meet your needs, so that you remain healthy and resilient.
How many of us push that inner voice aside?
You know those feelings of overwhelm that we tell ourselves to just “power through”? We often don’t listen to that inner intuition that tells us to say NO to a commitment when every fiber in us tells us not to, so we say yes anyway.
Let’s slow it down and ask yourself: do you really take the time to tune into what your body is feeling during the day? Do you know what wears down your resiliency? If you’re not sure what you need to feel healthy, resilient and joyful, start with the 3 steps below to truly engage in self-care:
1. Check in
Check in with yourself every few hours, and acknowledge your feelings. While this may sound easy, for many it’s not. If you’ve been ignoring your needs for a long time, this has to be cultivated, like strengthening a muscle over time. Be gentle with yourself as you start your daily check-ins, allowing yourself to experience your feelings with curiosity, but without judgment.
Simply acknowledge if you’re feeling anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, and sad or whatever it is you’re feeling. By acknowledging our feelings, we honor our bodies and can begin taking action to resolve them. Deep breathing is one way to help ease how you’re feeling. When you feel a surge of emotions coming, allow yourself to relax, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
2. Be kind to yourself
Our inner critic can be so cruel at times. Why is it that we’ll speak to a friend with more kindness than to ourselves? Why are we so quick to judge ourselves or put ourselves down? Often times, your default may involve creating a negative “story” about your experience that is absolutely false.
Acknowledge that you are human, that we all have our own mess and we’re doing the best we can. Let go of the need to be perfect and start giving yourself the same grace you give to others. We all need to believe that no matter what happens today or what’s left to accomplish tomorrow, we are simply enough – good enough, powerful enough, successful enough, smart enough, beautiful enough.
Start today and speak to yourself with more kindness. Love yourself and your body exactly the way it is right now. Let go of the “stories” or what you think you should have done differently. Let go of what size or weight you used to be. You are a gift, uniquely and wonderfully made. You just need to start believing it and speaking to yourself with more compassion.
3. Do something you love every day
Truly engaging in a self-care lifestyle involves creating time for yourself. Notice the choice of words here – create. I know we’re all busy, with endless to-do’s, but it is critical to do something just for ourselves every single day. It allows us to recharge and multiplies our happiness ten-fold. Having something just for ourselves gives us something to look forward to, and makes us feel exponentially better.
Even if you can only carve out five minutes, do one thing every day that is JUST FOR YOU. Not for your kids, husband or family, or for work, or school or the organizations you serve. What are the simple things that bring you joy? Perhaps it’s listening to your favorite song, or taking a warm bath, or walking along a serene path, gardening, reading a book or talking to a friend. Whatever it is, do something that puts a smile on your face, something that makes you laugh. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine. It relaxes our bodies, reduces stress and boosts our immune system. And when we are happy, we spread more joy to those around us. Happiness is contagious!
Real self-care is when you truly engage with it as a way of life.
Continue to preserve your well-being with adequate rest, healthy eating, movement, exercise and connection with friends and family. However, don’t ignore your emotional needs in order to make room for all of these things.
Only after you satisfy your own needs can you give the best version of you to the world.
Adapted from the original article.
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Basheerah Enahora, MBA, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Charlotte, NC with a private practice focused on helping women look past their weight as a measure of success and embrace a holistic, nourishing lifestyle. She empowers women to create embrace a better life by replacing neglect, shame, and negativity around food with self-love and proper nourishment. Learn more about Basheerah at BE Nutrition.