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How to make self care your priority

Updated: May 31, 2022

'To be selfless, we need to learn to be selfish’.


These words quite literally changed my outlook on self care and made me take a serious look at the repetitive cycle that I appeared to be stuck in.


I would go hell for leather for a period of time, pushing myself to absolute capacity in all aspects of life. For some reason I felt I had to be giving 100% all of the time and if I sat down before 9pm in the evening, I was being lazy? This was my own narrative, I would repeatedly get weaker, keep going until my body physically told me to stop by getting ill, whereby I’d take a few days off exercise (still carry on with everything else) to partially recover before starting the cycle over again. My tank was never full, always running slightly close to empty until it ran out and I was run down and ill all over again.


When I heard the quote above and learnt the analogy about oxygen masks on an aeroplane (you need to put on your own mask before you help anyone else put on theirs), it made me re-evaluate. What was I actually doing, no one else was putting pressure on me to be like this, it was down to me and it was exhausting.


This may resonate with you? It’s very easy for us to forget that the key element to our success is ourselves because we are too busy focusing on life, our family, our friends, our jobs, our goals, our dreams and our visions. Our physical and mental health (in other words our self care) goes out the window as we dedicate more and more time to our to do lists. This can end up leading to burnout, disconnection, stress, anxiety and a whole host of other issues that you may not even be aware of.


It’s important to remember that you are the priority, you are number one and although you can’t always control the elements of day to day life, you can prioritise self care by putting it on your to do list! The following may help you take some steps forward in better managing your self care:


Book time in your diary

Do you ever miss a work meeting if it’s in your diary? Start small, put time for yourself in your diary twice a week to begin with for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Break it down into small, manageable steps that do not appear overwhelming. Any time dedicated to you is going to be of benefit.


Commit to meeting a friend

Putting time in the diary to spend with friends or family is a form of self care as connection is one of your six basic human needs. Time with others is so beneficial for your emotional health and well being, it’s also time away from thinking which is a type of mindfulness in itself.


Try meditation

Meditation does not have to mean anything more complicated than walking outside, focusing on your surroundings and environment to get you out of your head and away from your thoughts. It is just about being present and in the moment, not ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. It also works if you are sitting still, it’s really just finding a method that works for you.


Move more

Getting outside and doing something physical is not only beneficial for our mental well being but has many physiological benefits. These include improvements to your circulation, digestion, immunity, joint health and weight plus so much more. If movement is not something that comes easy to you, start with a 5 minute walk each day and increase it by a few minutes week by week, gradually building up over time.


Set boundaries

Do you say yes to everything and then regret it as your plate overflows? Learn to say no, if you find this hard (which many people do) even delay a request for help by leaving it for 24 hours before you respond. You may find the request goes away all on its own, freeing up your head space and your to do list.


Have fun

Get out of the routine and the humdrum of everyday life by having fun. Whatever form this takes, getting lost in something you enjoy keeps you in the moment and adds some variation to your week often giving you a lift in mood. Having fun can positively affect your well being but is absolutely individual to you, what’s fun for someone else may not be fun for you so make sure to put your own fun first.


Prioritise sleep

Recent findings suggest sleep plays a housekeeping role removing toxins from the brain that build up while you are awake, in addition to many other mental and physical benefits. If you have trouble sleeping, try and establish a set bedtime routine. Try and stick to a similar bed time each night, wind down with low lighting an hour before bed, take a bath to relax yourself and try reading a book for mindfulness to switch your brain off.


Take the time to discover what helps you relieve stress, what soothes your mind and what recharges your batteries. Put self care within your to do list because it’s more important than material goods, your job or any status you seek. Don’t use the old badge of honour for how busy you are, how about telling people about the time you are spending taking better care of yourself. Let’s all try and make self care more of a priority and take that pressure off ourselves - who’s in?!


To find out more about my coaching methods click here. I can help if you are stressed out, your life feels out of balance, you have weight management issues or you would like to learn how to eat for health.


To book your FREE 15 minute consultation click here or email me at info@healthyhabitslife.co.uk.




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