You know that one person that always takes care of everybody else and puts others first? Maybe you know that person well? Maybe it’s you? Taking care of others is nice, but it can take a toll and it’s time to start implementing some serious self-care to salvage your own mental health.
What Is Self-Care?
You may have heard this term before but you didn’t understand it or maybe you just didn’t follow the advice. Self-care means exactly what it sounds like—taking care of yourself. But more importantly, self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can better care for others. You can try to be selfless, but the bottom line is that if you want to play Mother Teresa, you have to take care of yourself. Here’s some ideas on how to do it.
What Can I Do if I’m Too Busy?
Let’s face it, we’re living in difficult times and we’re so busy that we often neglect ourselves or say we don’t have time for self-care. You have to make time to take care of yourself, but if you’re looking for some short, easy ways to do self-care, here are some suggestions.
It doesn’t take any more time to choose wisely when deciding who to spend your time with. You can either choose people who support you and make you feel good or choose others who don’t. It really is that simple. There are some people we are forced to come into contact with through work, but at the end of the day, we choose our friends.
Learn to say no to the people who take up your time outside of work and who drain you. That so-called friend that talks on and on about their rotten boyfriend but won’t take action? Gone. Another person is always asking you for help but never offers it in return. Gone. Your time is valuable. You are valuable.
Likewise, eating healthy doesn’t take much more time than grabbing a burger at a fast food joint. Sit down. Relax. Enjoy your meal and take a real break every day when you are working, even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes. You need fuel and you need to let go of some stress before you continue on with your day.
And speaking of breaks, no matter how busy you are, try to schedule at least a few small breaks into your day. Maybe you only have five minutes to spare. That’s okay, but make those five minutes count. Close your eyes or go outside where there’s a little nature to help nurture you.
Most important of all, find reasons to laugh throughout the day. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have some joy in your life. Laugh at what’s funny but also laugh when things go wrong. Worrying and fretting over things that are out of the control is never going to help, so you may as well find the humor in the situation and you might just find you lighten the day for your co-workers and friends as well.
What Can I Do If I Have a Little Free Time?
If you do have some free time or can make some room in your schedule, give yourself the gift of exercise. The first week or two may be tough while you adapt, but you’ll have more energy and you’ll feel better and you’re better able to do all the things you want to do. Running takes little time for most people unless you’re a marathon runner. Most people can take a jog in 15 to 20 minutes even if they just go around the block. You owe it to yourself to do whatever exercise you enjoy, whether it’s running or spending time in an exercise class for a half-hour at least three times a week.
When you have limited amounts of time, you can also choose to meditate or do deep breathing exercises. Once again, you can do this for as little as five minutes and there are great apps that will time it for you and even play comforting sounds in the background as you meditate, such as the sound of ocean waves or nature sounds.
What Can I Do When I Need Some Serious Self-Care?
You may have noticed that we mentioned getting out of the office into nature for a small break or using nature sounds when we meditate. Can you guess what our next suggestion is when you have a little more time? That’s right, take some time to rejuvenate yourself with a hike in the woods. Maybe you have a friend that enjoys camping and you want to get away for a weekend to just relax and unplug for awhile. Maybe you want to go alone and have some solitude. Nature is a great rejuvenator and one of the best tools for self-care. So get out there and use it.
Start a journal and take a little time to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. What consequences have they had? How can you improve your life? How can you be happier? A journal is often the key to providing insight into how to find joy and live your life to the fullest.
Not only can you write a story about your life, but you can practice a little self-care by reading a book. Whether it’s fiction, history, or self-help, take the time to read. Yes, it takes a long time to read a book compared to other self-care activities we might be doing, but many people are now using audiobooks so that if they have a commute to work or a long drive, they can listen to a book.
If all those tips fail to strike your fancy, you can always do self-care the old-fashioned way — give yourself the treat of a spa day. Get a massage or a facial. Do some yoga or sit in the sauna. Spend a day just indulging in you. You’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed and ready to save the world again.
There is always someone that feels it’s their responsibility to take care of everyone. But we can all use a little self-care to feel healthier and happier. You can do that by taking a quick break for a few minutes or indulging yourself for a whole day. Get outside out of the fluorescent lighting for a few minutes. Sit down and enjoy a meal instead of stuffing in a burger from the drive-through. Spend some time getting healthy with exercise or meditating to heal your mind. Soak in the bathtub or get a massage. You can take only a few minutes or a whole day, but the important thing is to make some time for you. You are worth it. You’ll be less stressed and more mentally healthy to handle things that come your way. Here at Everlast Recovery Centers, we can also help deal with stress, anxiety, and mental disorders. Give us a call at (800) 338-6925.