Sometimes it feels like you spend the whole day running in an emergency without having time to breathe. No wonder, then, that our own needs take second place. While our obligations are obviously important, we rarely put our well-being at the centre of our priorities. And yet, taking care of yourself is a necessity.
As a result, our condition deteriorates over time: it becomes more difficult for us to concentrate, sleep, or have as much energy as before. We slow down because we try to keep moving forward without taking a break to recharge our batteries, like a car without gas.
Just talking about recharging can cause exasperated looks, and for many, focusing on oneself is synonymous with selfishness or laziness. This vision could not be more false and unfair: the best way to keep pace is to ensure that you take care of yourself as well.
For your body
We constantly push our bodies to the limit: we eat a little too much, work until we collapse, and we don’t rest enough to really recharge our batteries. One of the best things to do is to put health first, which you can do with these few tips.
Say goodbye to junk food. Even with only one small change per month, working towards a healthier diet can help you feel better. Think about what improvements you can make, and prepare a plan to make gradual but significant changes.
Freeze! Freeze! No need to prepare a marathon to be active: walk around your neighbourhood in the morning, or cook your dinner to the beat of a retro song. All you have to do is raise your heart rate a few minutes a day!
Sleep better. It’s a vicious circle: you go to bed late so you can do a few last minute things, and in the morning you turn off the alarm 17 times. It is better to go to bed at a decent time and not touch the electronic devices half an hour before bedtime. If you hold on, you will probably feel a real difference after a few days.
Do a check-up. Everyone has their own reasons for not going to the doctor regularly: lack of time, distance, medical coverage problems… but it is important to be followed, especially if something is bothering you: your health should be your number one priority.
Stretch out. Whether you are stiffened by stress or leaning over your desk all day, your muscles can accumulate a lot of tension. Nothing beats a few stretches every night before going to bed. If possible, go to yoga classes regularly.
For your mind
Every day we face challenges that require us to have a strong mind: whether it is important decisions to make, worries about the future, or having to be patient with a child who asks the same question for the thousandth time, our brains usually work overtime: so we need to find a way to ease their burden.
Meditate. You don’t need to be a Zen master to do a little meditation. Several times a day, slow down your breathing and put your problems aside for a while.
Enrich your education. If you are thinking of going back to school, do it right away: prepare a plan and implement it. If not planned, you can still enrich your mind by reading good books, articles, or watching thought-provoking movies.
Do not leave unfinished tasks. Are there any things you’ve had to do for months? So write it all down and then spend a whole day on it. Also choose a future date on which to complete everything you couldn’t have done this time.
Disconnect before going to sleep. Whether you’re surfing the net, watching Netflix, or arguing on the networks, using screens before going to sleep keeps your brain alert. An hour before going to bed, turn down the light in the room and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Clean up after yourself. Living in a perpetual bazaar can be stressful. If you happen to look for things that are out of order or catch your feet in things you haven’t touched in months, it’s time to clean up. Get rid of what you don’t need, and put the rest away.
For your self-confidence
Some things can scratch our self-esteem, and chances are personal examples will come to mind just by reading these lines. Finding ways to maintain your self-confidence will allow you to cope without losing your footing.
Dealing with negative people. Does anyone in your life just put you down? If that is the case, it may be time to cut off contact with that person. These people are like vampires stealing the joy of your day, and must be kept at a distance. If you can’t avoid them, set clear limits on their behaviour and enforce them.
Leave this job you hate. Most people will never find their job perfect, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a job you hate. If the thought of going to work gives you a headache, it’s time to change: we all deserve to do something we love.
Learn to say no. Everyone likes to feel useful, or provide a shoulder to cry on, but it’s still tiring. It is important to learn to say no so that you respect your own limits and avoid overwork. You may disappoint some of them, but that’s not enough reason to take on more things you can’t handle.
Treat yourself to an outing. Do you ever plan an evening full of things that make you happy? Book a table in this restaurant that only you like, or watch this great movie that everyone hates. For a few hours, the only person who matters is you!
Practice being grateful. Complaining is part of our culture: reverse the trend by learning to be grateful. Rather than dwell on all the bad times of the day, go to bed thinking about the good things about it, even if the only good news is that you are still breathing. Change your point of view!
Self-care means finding ways to soothe and strengthen your mind: nothing selfish or lazy about it. Life can be hard on us, and can tire us mentally and physically, but if we think about resourcing ourselves, we will only be more invigorated and ready to face what the future holds for us.