Making Self-Care a Daily Habit
In a world where we’ve come to believe more is better, one thing we often lose sight of is self-care. In fact, it is often ignored completely until some nasty virus, or worse knocks us flat. Too many of us fail to recognize that if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will ultimately break down. Meanwhile, as we run ourselves ragged without a break; as we ignore our body’s pleas for relief, our effectiveness is decreasing daily.
But what is self-care, really? It can be as simple as getting up from your desk every hour so to stretch, or as hedonistic as an entire day at the spa or the beach. We definitely need both extremes, but on a regular basis, we need something in between. Here are a few of my favorite self-care choices
- Making a big salad to keep in the refrigerator for a side dish or an entire meal. I can grab-and-go but still get a healthy meal.
- Cooking shakshuka for breakfast as inspired by one of my favorite chefs, authors, and food journalists, Faye Levy
- Giving myself one day a week to go to the gym and run errands.
- Giving myself 3 workouts per week.
- Getting a massage
- Reading…all day
- Walking on the beach
Feeling Good Makes You More Effective
You can certainly make your own list if you give it a chance. The main thing is to do something for yourself that makes you feel good, even if that’s just cleaning your house. It takes you out of your normal routine. Mixes things up, not unlike changing a workout routine. It makes your muscles; in this case your brain and emotions, work differently so you avoid fatiguing them to the point of failure.
Indulging in self-care carries with it some huge bonuses. For me, it means:
- Being able to work 10-12 hour days when my work load requires it because I have grab-and-go meals in my refrigerator and freezer.
- I’m already in the habit of getting up and moving every so often, so my muscles don’t stiffen during those long days at my desk.
- I can take off for long weekends when I want or need to.
- I can afford to designate one day a week as “errand day” without feeling guilty about the work I’m not getting done.
- I can work my own hours.
- No guilt…ever.
Give Yourself Permission to be Self-Indulgent
That last one is to me the most important aspect of the whole program. One of my favorite mentors, Linda Clay says it best: “Don’t beat yourself up”. Sometimes you need to take the time to relax rather than accomplish things. When you take time to relax, you allow your mind, body, and spirit to rejuvenate. You’re more productive for having taken the time to honor your own needs.
A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few nights vegging in front of the TV and playing games on my phone. I woke up one morning and I was super-productive. I got a ton of work done, wrote extensively and even cleaned the house because I had the energy and motivation to do what I needed to do.
Getting Things Off Your “Someday” List
One of my veg sessions led me to do one of the “someday” tasks, and doing so left me feeling freer and more energized. I had a large cardboard box full of random plastic ware in one of my bedrooms. It was the last remaining box from my ill-fated remodel. I’d been moving it around the room when I cleaned for years. Yes, YEARS! I just didn’t want to deal with the task of sorting through it and finding homes for the contents. Now that it’s gone, I realize it really stood for my resistance to releasing the emotions from the whole experience. Other than putting down some of the ceramic tile I’d bought for the project, I’d done nothing else to improve my space.
Emptying out that box and either storing, trashing, or giving away the contents opened up the floodgates to many changes.
- I bought the red Adirondack chairs I’d seen at Lowe’s so my front porch looks welcoming and encourages friends to come visit for wine and red chair nights.
- I finally picked a paint color and let my daughter have her way with my living room. (I’m loving the sea green walls!)
- I began attracting new clients because I had made space for them.
- I recreated a healthy, productive work schedule which takes advantage of the times I’m most attuned to certain tasks.
- I was finally able to hone in on certain aspects of my business which were bogging me down, like who my ideal client is.
Lose the Guilt
Self-care is effective, no matter what, but to enjoy it’s full rejuvenating benefits, you must give yourself the gift without strings. What strings, you ask?
How often do you stop to do something for yourself, but feel guilty for doing it? You feel like you’re letting someone else down or failing to do everything you should. STOP THAT NOW!
Guilt and self-recrimination sap the beautiful energy you gain by taking some time for yourself. If we accept the rest and refresh time as necessary and allowable, we are far more productive afterwards because we don’t use up the energy we gain castigating ourselves for taking that time, for not operating at peak performance.
You deserve time to refresh yourself. Give yourself permission to do so.
Treat Yourself the Way You Treat Everyone Who is Near and Dear
If we are constantly operating full bore, all the things we say we’ll do “someday” will never happen because we never take enough of a break to let someday come. If we take the time for R & R without guilt or regret, we’ll have the energy to tackle the “somedays”. We’ll have the motivation to do more than we could have imagined when we were driving ourselves into exhaustion.
I urge you to indulge yourself regularly. Take those breaks. Do something you love that’s just for you. Get out in nature every single week. Spend time with people you love and who energize you. Because all work and no play doesn’t just make you boring, it can make you sick.
As a bonus, here is my Shakshuka recipe.
A light, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired dish perfect for a solo breakfast or brunch, or to share.
- garlic olive oil for cooking
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 piece fresh turmeric chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1/4 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
- 2 eggs
- Heat oil in small frying pan
- Add chopped onion, garlic, and turmeric. Cook until the onions start to turn clear. (this can be done while chopping the next ingredients).
- Add zucchini, cook for a minute or so. Add mushrooms, cook for another minute or two. Add spinach, cook until slightly wilted.
- Carefully crack eggs on top of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Gratitude: My Favorite Self-Indulgence
Last but not least, always be grateful for all you have, and especially the little things.
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the people in my life who remind me to take care of myself.
- I am grateful for ready access to healthy foods.
- I am grateful I take the time for self-care.
- I am grateful for my ever-increasing well of energy.
- I am grateful for abundance; energy, self-love, self-care, friendship, healthy habits, health, peace, love, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
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Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.