One common issue that arises in my own life and in working with clients is the relative importance placed on taking care of ourselves compared to other responsibilities. We often put ourselves last on our to-do list. Family, work, errands, and social life all take precedence over taking action toward our own well-being.
What are we really telling ourselves, though, when we put ourselves last? Consider whether you want to be sending the message that you are not important, that caring for yourself can only come after caring for everything and everyone else. When we treat ourselves like a VIP, not only will we have more to be able to give to others, but we will also serve as an example for them. If you find that you put off self-care, follow these simple tips for the next couple of weeks and track how treating yourself like the VIP that you are shifts your energy.
Don’t assume it has to take a long time
The key is letting yourself know you are important, and this doesn’t have to take a lot of time, nor does it mean that every time you have the impulse, you take off the entire day to go to the spa. What it does mean is acknowledging the intuitions you have around what you need, whether you take a small action in the moment or let yourself know that you will make sure to schedule time for it later. Maybe you have the thought to move around because you have been on the phone for awhile; this can be as short as a minute of stretching, or you could take half an hour to go for a walk. Taking some action sends the message to yourself that you are paying attention and following through because you care. If you are in the middle of something and decide you do not want to stop then, at least consciously acknowledge your choice and make a plan for following up later on your impulse to take care of yourself.
Make a list and make it handy
Creating your nourishment menu, which I talked about in a previous article also posted on EzineArticles, is a great starting point to having a handy list of things to do for yourself. Make sure you have things on it that you can do in the midst of your busy day as well as activities that you might do on a weekend or a day off. How about putting on your favorite song and dancing for 3 minutes? Or checking out your favorite website that makes you smile or laugh?
Schedule yourself into your day
If you make lists of things to do or create a schedule, make sure you include yourself on your list or in your calendar. Do you have 10 minutes between meetings? Put yourself in those 10 minutes. Take a look at your week and schedule in a longer time for creativity or getting together with a supportive group of friends. Make self-care a priority for the in-between moments in life as well as scheduling larger chunks of time for you.
Reframe things that you already do
Sometimes we turn the things that we are doing into “have tos” and can easily reframe them to see how they are actually supporting us. If you scheduled lunch with a friend and then that day feel like it’s another thing in a whole long list of meetings and things to do, remind yourself before going that this is time for you to reconnect with your friend and nurture yourself through community. When you do something that you think is for someone else, remind yourself that you are choosing to do it to meet your own needs and connect with those needs.
There will always be times we will need or want to put something or someone else higher on the list than ourselves. The question is how aware we are about how we treat ourselves and the message that sends to our own psyche as well as to those around us. Let yourself know that you are important, and watch what happens in your life as a result.