25 TIPS FOR PRACTICING RADICAL SELF CARE
By Deborah Roth, M.A.
When was the last time you did something really delicious just for you and didn't feel an ounce of guilt? Hopefully, it was recently, but the sad truth is that many of us are socialized to take care of everyone else first – and we’re called "selfish" if we object. The reality, though, is that if we don’t place ourselves at the center of our lives, we become increasingly scattered, ungrounded, and miserable. If we don't create space for our self care, we won't be whole enough to take care of all those we love or who depend on us. If our inner core – what I call our “Circle of One” (www.SpiritedLiving.com/co) – is weak, we can’t support our families, communities, and ultimately our larger visions for the world in the most empowered way possible.
Everything else becomes a little easier, a little less stressful, maybe even more fun, when we carve out time and space for ourselves in the midst of the whirlwind of life. So, how do we start to create an ongoing self care habit? One simple way is to break it down into the four-sided model of mind/body/heart/spirit. What can you do every day to support and nurture yourself in each of those areas: to stimulate your mind, nurture your body, honor your feelings and important relationships, and reconnect with spirit? Here are a few ideas to get you started…
Tip#1 – Read any good books lately? Your morning and evening commutes are a great time to stimulate your brain cells in different ways and learn more about topics that fascinate you… makes the time go faster, too!
Tip#2 – Check out your employer’s policy on tuition reimbursement. Whether it’s a weekend seminar on “effective communication” or an evening course at the local YMCA, you might be surprised at what’s covered in the name of “stress management” or career advancement.
Tip#3 – Writing down your thoughts, dreams and goals is the first step to getting them out of your head and into the world. Even if you don’t think there’s anything special up there, try spending 15 minutes each day for a week, writing whatever comes into your mind… no judgments or criticisms. It’ll be interesting to see what pops up.
Tip#4 – It’s amazing how so many seemingly little things can be big energy drains if they’re not handled. Make a list of everything you’re tolerating or putting up with. Some of them may take money to fix, but many are little annoyances that just want a little attention… like greasing the squeaky hinges on the front door, or finally cleaning out the spilled potato chips in the car!
Tip#5 – The next time you have to flush out a new project either at work or home, you might try "mind-mapping"… it's like outlining an idea, only with circles, lines and colors – definitely a visual approach. Check out www.peterussell.com/MindMaps/HowTo and get your art supplies ready.