Put on your oxygen mask FIRST.
Self-care is the big buzz word these days. But, what does it mean to really take care of yourself?
There are so many other things that you need to do. The children need help with homework, the laundry is piling up, or you have a million calls to make at the office. Does this leave time for you?
I've found some of the simplest forms of self-care are the best. One of my favorites is my time in the morning, having a cup of coffee with my kitty sitting on my lap purring. All I have to do is pet her. Despite what people say, kitties are great pets. They are actually loyal and there are many times my kitty greets me at the door.
Here are 10 simple self-care ideas to try to take care of yourself every day:
1. Go easy on yourself.
I say this to many of my clients. Why is it that we are so hard on ourselves? I can't believe the things people tell themselves. If they said this to others, people would think they are crazy or they would hate them.
2. Focus on your strengths.
We tend to do the opposite. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. And, that's alright. Nobody is perfect. Make a list of ten of your strengths. Ten is not a big number. Start today, and then tell others about your strengths.
3. Stop reviewing hurts from the past.
This will only bring you down. We have all been hurt or let down. This is a great way to learn. When you continually review your hurts from the past, you are re-traumatizing yourself. If you continue to do this, it can lead to depression.
4. Be assertive.
Don't be scared to ask for what you need or want. This doesn't mean you have to walk over everyone in the process. The first step is knowing what you want and then taking action.
You can't do everything alone. You will need help along the way. It's important to be around people who respect your assertive attitude.
5. Be a learner for life.
Maybe, you went to college and you feel like you don't need to learn anymore. The truth is the learning begins after college. Take advantage of courses that will compliment your skills.
This is also a great to meet people and network. Even if it feels outside of your comfort zone, try it. Maybe, your boss wants you to take a course in project management. You may wonder why or feel it has nothing to do with your job.
Go ahead and try it, you will definitely learn from the experience.
6. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is very important. This is how the brain and the body recharge. When you haven't had enough sleep, you will make more mistakes. I know you want to watch the last episode of "Grey's Anatomy". You can always watch it later.
Your brain will appreciate it when you get enough sleep, and so will the people around you.
7. Identify things you love and do more of them.
Spend time with people who enjoy doing the same things you do. Take time to get to know them well. Invite them to coffee or out on a hike.
Remember, not everyone is friend material. You aren't going to click with everyone, and that's alright. It's important to know what you love. This will help feed your soul.
8. Drink plenty of water.
I also say this one a lot. Water flushes toxins out of your body and helps you concentrate. It will also help hydrate your skin and body.
This is really one of the basics of self-care. Make sure you always have a water bottle with you. It will also decrease your chances of getting sick.
9. Use positive affirmations.
This is a great way to change your inner dialogue. The next time you feel like telling yourself something negative, change it to a positive affirmation.
For example instead of saying "I'm a fat mess", say "I'm beautiful inside and out". This will help you feel better about yourself. There are many affirmations you can say. Pick a few that you like and focus on them during the day.
10. Make time for self-care.
This means you need to put it on the calendar. Start by setting five minutes aside for yourself. Make it part of your daily routine. I suggest trying it in the morning. This way you are fresh and won't have any interruptions.
Say a positive affirmation, meditate or play with your pet. Then, on the weekends when you have more time schedule a massage or go on a hike. Nature does wonders for your mental health.
You need to stop putting yourself last. We really can't take care of anybody else, unless we have taken care of ourselves. Start adding these simple steps to your life today. We can't control the people around us or the world we live in. But, when you are taking better care of yourself it will give you a better outlook on life.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She has been helping women for years to take better care of themselves and have a happier life. For more information, please visit Lessons for Love.
This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.