After a couple insanely busy weeks of back-to-back, time-consuming and physically exhausting projects, I’m back to blogging! During my marathon projects–which included rebuilding our water garden, giving my bedroom and bathroom a major face lift, and completing a client’s project–I maintained my energy and balance, for the most part. However, I noticed myself slipping a bit earlier this week and when I looked at why that was happening, I found it was because I had neglected some of my daily self-care habits.
Self-care is the act of doing things that personally benefit and/or enhance your life. When we put ourselves first, we are then able to give our best to others, perform at our best, and maintain energy and enthusiasm. In coaching, helping clients identify ten basic habits they can practice on a daily basis is often the first step to creating a balanced life.
Many of us were taught to not be selfish, to put others first, to push through whenever we feel weary, or to convince ourselves we can “catch up” on tending to our needs. In fact, many of us have developed a martyr mindset that includes proving we can manage with little sleep, function with a lack of food, or put on blinders to life in order to keep our noses to the grindstone. However I am encouraging you to do the exact opposite: I want you to become selfish–in a good way! By this I mean follow the advice given on any flight on any airline, “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others” i.e., take care of YOU first!
When you take time to care for yourself, your emotional and physical stamina increase; your self-esteem will improve; your attitude is better and resilience is greater. These positive improvements allow you to function at the top of your game! In becoming selfish, you are actually creating a foundation from which you are able to be MORE generous with your spirit, time, and energy. Give it a try!
Below are the Top Ten Basic Daily Self-Care Habits which you can use to get started. Yes, these are basic habits, but often overlooked. Once you have created a strong routine–a good thirty days worth–you will notice a difference in your daily life!
The Top Ten Basic Daily Self-Care Habits
1. Rest: I simply cannot stress enough the necessity of a good night’s sleep! Creating a good sleep environment, obtaining the proper number of hours rest for your body, and establishing a routine (try to keep to your sleep schedule seven nights a week for maximum benefit), will improve productivity and emotional balance.
2. Hydrate: We have all heard how important it is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, yet the majority of people I connect with seldom drink more than two! Yes, other beverages contain water, but they also introduce other substances into the body. Sugar-laden juices, caffeinated drinks, and alcoholic beverages cause our bodies to work hard to filter out the non-essential ingredients. By all means, enjoy other beverages, but provide your body enough pure water each day to flush out the toxins!
3. Nourish: This is one habit I stepped over several times during the past few weeks. Instead of taking time to make healthy meals, I grabbed a quick snack, an energy bar or even worse, hit the drive through! I started feeling sluggish, light-headed and cranky! We all need to fuel our bodies with wholesome nutrition.
4. Exercise: I am so not a gym-rat type person! However, I move, move, move my body! It is imperative to incorporate exercise (movement) into our daily lives in order to reduce stress, maintain muscle balance and keep our physical system operating well. What type of physical movement benefits you most? What do you enjoy doing? How do you feel when you move more? Find what works for you and do it.
5. Play: You know the saying, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” It is true, not just for Jack, but for all of us! Step away from the daily grind and find some play in your life: do something creative, play with your children, do something routine in a new way, find a new activity, or literally play with a puzzle or game, on a sports team or even a video game. Allowing yourself some fun will provide a quick recharge.
6. Choose: My Daily Habits Sheet used to include “Say no at least once today.” I had a habit of saying yes to every single request and soon found myself overwhelmed and resentful, so I had to practice saying no in order to establish stronger boundaries. Once I strengthened my boundaries, I changed “say no” to “make satisfying decisions.” There are many people and activities vying for our time and by selecting those which are important, fulfilling, and beneficial to us, we refrain from becoming drained and overwhelmed.
7. Connect: This is one of the most important self-care habits we can have! Create meaningful connections with others–and even with pets–and allow those connections to nurture you. These connections are part of your support system. Having someone to share with allows you to relish your victories, share your burdens, and find clarity when needed. Don’t wait until you need your connections; reach out daily.
8. Relax: Often we (I) move from activity to activity or from interaction to interaction, without taking a moment to unwind and process our day. If we fail to do this, we will take this into our sleep and process through dreams or by ruminating during the night. Meditation, journaling, prayer or even physical exercise are all great ways to clear your mind.
9. Hygiene: Yes, I’m saying it: Practice good daily hygiene! Brush your teeth, bathe, cut your nails, wash your hair and wash behind your ears! Seriously, by taking time out to maintain our physical appearance, we are saying to ourselves and to the world, “I am worth the effort!” Our bodies serve us well and deserve the time and attention required for these basic care habits.
10. Laugh! There is no quicker, better way to de-stress and re-energize than laughing! Find something or someone in your life to make you laugh at least once a day!
Start today and for the next 30 days follow these, or even your own, Daily Care Habits and you will soon find more energy, more clarity and greater balance to your life.
That’s all for today!
The Yellow Kite