If you’re like me and many other women I know, you find it all too easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list and let everyone else’s priorities take precedence. But that’s no way to create the life you want for yourself. Learning to be good to yourself can take some practice, so to get you started here are a few things to put on your list.
Self-Care for Your Mental and Spiritual Happiness and Health
Ditch the stress. We all know what damage chronic stress can do to both mind and body. Find a way to relax that works for you such as meditation or a warm bath at the end of the day.
Honor your passions. I’d be willing to bet there’s something you’re passionate about that you’ve set aside. Whether you do so at work or during your play time (you do have play time right?), do something you’re passionate about, perfect your skills and be sure to keep track of your accomplishments. You’ll be amazed at how much more alive and confident you feel when you’re doing something you really love.
Learn something new. You’re never too old to learn something new. Education should be a life-long project. You can take courses, read books, attend lectures by local experts, sign up for webinars… there’s really no limit to the ways you can learn with technology these days.
A great place to find classes on just about every subject under the sun is Udemy.
Be more creative. Doing something creative helps to keep your mind sharp and also gives you a way to express thoughts and ideas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different mediums to figure out what you like doing. It may not be what you thought it would.
Here’s an example for you… I’ve always seen myself as a musician and a writer. But lately when I want to get creative I hop on the computer and create digital art and coloring books. I never considered myself to be any kind of artist before, but it’s the one thing I love doing that relaxes me and I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to experiment with hand drawn images next.
Make time for family and friends. If you have to, schedule your family time in order to make sure you’re giving your partner and your children your full attention when you’re with them. You can also schedule weekly outings with friends to ensure you stay in touch. It’s still taking care of yourself when you spend relaxing time with the people you love.
Practice your spirituality. Sometimes I think this is the easiest part of self-care to push to the side. Take time to make your faith part of daily life. Whether you practice alone or find a community where you feel at home, your spirituality should be a big part of your life.
Self-Care for Your Physical Health and Happiness
I’m sure you’ve heard all this before; there’s really nothing new here. So consider it a friendly reminder to take good care of your body.
Love your body. Easier said than done some days, I know. But it really helps to appreciate your body for all that it does for you. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose or even gain weight, there are always ways to feel good about your appearance and abilities.
Eat nutritious foods. Treat your body to a balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods. Cut down on sugar and replace unhealthy fats like margarine and beef fat with healthier sources like olive oil and salmon.
Get regular exercise. Incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine and work out at least 3 times a week. Some easy ways to do this are: go for a walk outside; do bodyweight exercises while you’re watching television; sit on a balance ball while you’re working. You could also buy a gym membership for yourself or for the whole family.
Get enough sleep. There is some amazing research being done on how sleep (or the lack of) affects our wellbeing. A recent episode of The Current on CBC Radio explored some of the things that happen in our bodies when we’re sleeping. (tap to listen) The short version is that sleep helps your body and mind to stay in top condition.
One good way to make sure you’re getting enough sleep is to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule. If you have trouble falling asleep, create a bedtime ritual like drinking herbal tea or listening to gentle music.
Self-Care for Your Financial Health and Happiness
So let me be the first to admit I rarely write about financial wellbeing because this is one area where I also need to do a lot of work. And it’s not my favorite topic. But money (or lack of) causes so much stress that I couldn’t do a piece on complete self-care without at least covering a few basic points.
Get out of debt. It’s hard to enjoy peace of mind if bill collectors are on your trail. Address the issue head on. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan that will give you a fresh start.
Make a budget and stick to it. Put your finances in order by living within your budget. If you’re unsure about how to get started, pick up a book like The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Make savings a priority. Start planning for retirement or other milestones like buying a home or sending your children to college. Designate a portion of each paycheck to go directly to savings so you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Increase your income. A little extra cash could come in handy. Plus, diversifying your income could help tide you over if you’re ever laid off. Consider selling a service or crafts for extra income.
They say that you can’t really take care of others until you learn how to take care of yourself first. Use this list as a starting point for creating a self-care plan that works to build your health and happiness in a way that creates your best life. You’ll feel happier, healthier, and even more self-confident when you take the time to care for yourself.
Share your favorite self-care routine in the comments below. And don’t forget to sign up for my list for more self-care and self-confidence tips.