4 Tips to Better Self-Care
As women, we are brought up to be care-givers. We’re naturally nurturing and genuinely feel good about helping others wherever we can. These are beautiful traits to have, however as our society has grown and developed, we’ve also lost the close-knit communities in which we used to live. We no longer have extended families living together to help share the responsibilities of raising children, preparing meals and all the other duties that are put upon us. These days we are challenged to be ‘super women’ who can handle it all. A high flying career, a couple of kids and the associated ‘soccer mum’ status as well as all the domestic duties all whilst keeping ourselves in perfect shape and without a smudge to our makeup or a hair out of place.
Whilst all that sounds fantastic if we could do it; it’s burning us out. We simply cannot do it all and we need to remember that it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to take time out for ourselves. It’s good to remember that if we’re sick, run-down or just plain exhausted we can’t help anyone else either. So by making time for ourselves and putting our own needs first sometimes, we can actually help those around us even more.
Try incorporating the below 6 tips into your life and see how much better you feel. Maybe you try 1 tip each month to give yourself time to make them each a habit and then see how different your life is in 6 months from now.
Schedule Time for Yourself Daily
Yes, I know – the problem is that there isn’t enough time in the day already, so how are you meant to schedule time for yourself every . single . day? Think about all the things you have going on right now. How is your time spent each day? Find at least 1 thing (even more is better) that you can let go of or that you can delegate to someone else and then use that time to dedicate purely to yourself. You can read, garden, take a bath, go for a walk, meditate, do some yoga – whatever it is that will make you feel good.
Right now, grab your calendar and schedule in some time (at least half an hour) every day for the next 3 months that is purely time for yourself. After 3 months remember to reassess and fine-tune and then schedule another 3 months worth of time for you.
Do you need to do everything yourself? Do you find it’s easier if you just get on and get things done yourself rather than asking someone else and having to explain the task in detail? Are you always trying to be self-sufficient and not burdening anyone else? Whilst these all sound good in principle, what they’re doing is keeping you busy when you don’t need to be and it’s also stopping people around you from offering help. Be honest, have you ever re-done a task that you asked someone else to do? How do you think that made them feel? Most likely like they shouldn’t have bothered helping in the first place. It’s time now for you to take a step back and allow someone else to help you. Create a routine where you write a list for your partner in this, of what you’d like them to do for you. Decide how often you’ll write the list – is it a daily task list, weekly etc and then leave it out for them on the scheduled day or time. You’ll be surprised that most often they’ll genuinely want to help you out and for those times that they don’t just remember that by handling everything yourself you’re not giving the other person the opportunity to learn, grow and develop. What would happen if you weren’t there for a period of time? Would the other person be able to cope? By letting go of control of some things you’re not only benefitting yourself but the people around you also. Let the other person know that they should tell you if they feel you’re trying to take back control and you just need to remember that there’s more than one way to complete a task. Just because it isn’t done your way doesn’t make it wrong.
To enjoy a good life you need to enjoy good health and yet our health is something we so often take for granted – until it’s not there anymore. We so often put off appointments with the dentist, the doctor, the optometrist, the naturopath, physiotherapist, podiatrist or any other health care provider for a range of reasons. Maybe you’ve been planning to enrol in that yoga course for months now but just haven’t gotten around to it. We don’t have the time, we don’t have the money, and we think we’ll wait until you’re actually sick to go instead of opting for preventative maintenance. The list goes on. What appointments have you been putting off? Nobody else but you has responsibility for your body and you alone must make it a priority to not only make your appointments but actually keep them too. Sometimes we truly plan to get to the doctor for a check up but life is just so busy we continually forget. We don’t feel sick so we don’t think about making the appointment. Scheduling reminders in your calendar is great way to stay on top of these routine appointments. Write a list now of all the appointments you’ve been meaning to make but haven’t gotten around to doing yet. This can also include massages, facials etc as these types of treatments also keep your body healthy. Now access your calendar again and put in reminders to make the appointments. Start with the most important first and schedule one per month until they’ve all been done. Then put in reminders for the follow up exams whenever they’re due; i.e. you may need to see your naturopath in 6 month’s time so put a reminder in your calendar now for 6 months so you can keep on top of all of your appointments.
If part of your reasons for not following through with these appointments is financial, then make them all two months apart and start a separate savings account where you can deposit a small amount each week that will cover the cost of your bi-monthly appointments. See if there’s someone you can trade your skills with for their services such as a massage or facial; or alternatively treat yourself the best way you can at home. For example if you’d love a massage but can’t afford it right now you can turn the lights off in the bathroom, light a couple of scented candles and put on some soothing music. Then put on a pair of loofah mits and give yourself a dry body scrub. Always work towards the heart area in nice long strokes. Then fill your bathtub with hot water, some Epsom salts and few drops of essential oil and have a soak for about 20 minutes. Once you’re done, rub in some rich moisturiser or a body oil and you’ll come out with your muscles feeling relaxed, your skin silky smooth and your mind relaxed. Is it the same as a massage? Not really; but you’ll get some great benefits from it anyway.
No, Thank You
How many times do you say yes to someone when you really want to say no? Many women find that they don’t want to disappoint others and so continually say yes to things when they really don’t have the time, the interest, the capability etc and so learning to say no graciously is an important skill to have and while it can be really tricky but it can be done. We don’t like to disappoint people, we don’t want to feel guilty for letting someone else down or we simply want people to like us, so we continue to say yes to things we’d rather say no to. You can never control how someone else is going to react to a No response so all you can control is how you offer your response and you can learn to do it graciously and truthfully so you don’t have to feel guilty when we give our response.
The next time someone asks you to do something, pause before you answer. Is your heart screaming yes? Then go ahead and make the commitment. If however you’re not hearing a clear yes answer you need to step back for a moment. Can you say no right away? If you can, that’s great. Simply tell them thank you for the offer however you won’t be able to accept. It can be really as simple as that. If you can’t say no straight away, let them know you’ll think about the offer and get back to them. That way you give yourself the time to consider all sides before making a decision. Sometimes your decision may be yes, but other times it will be no.
Different situations may need a bit more detail in your response; e.g. ‘Thank you for the invitation to your wedding Bali however I just can’t afford the expense at the moment. I wish I could be there on your special day, however what’s another way I can help you celebrate?’ Being open and honest with someone is the best way to offer a no response.
Make a commitment to yourself now that you’ll stop automatically saying yes to everything. When you begin saying no to people, check in with yourself and see how you feel. Notice what worked in the conversation and what you’d change next time around and you’ll soon notice the more you can say no to people, the more comfortable it becomes for you and soon you’ll only be saying yes to the things you actually want to do.
Self-care is an important part of keeping ourselves healthy, happy and living the life we really want to have. Hopefully these tips have given you a starting point to begin finetuning your own self care and let me know in the comments below some of your own tips you use to keep yourself feeling happy and healthy.