Self care and loving yourself are hot topics among us women in the U.S. and around the world. Personally, I am taking this on BIG TIME right now! I have discovered the secret to being good enough. Let’s dive into my top 10 self love tips.
So just for fun…think about something a little different for a minute before I get to my Top 10 Self Love Tips. Think about what would you do for someone you didn’t like? Seriously! What would you DO for someone you didn’t like??? Would you have a glass of wine with them? Would you chill with them? Listen to some music together? Go have coffee? Would you spend time, effort, energy, love or money on them? NO!! Of course not!
How do you act toward someone you don’t like? You shun them, ignore them, neglect them, avoid them? Yes!
Compare that to how you are currently treating yourself….YEP!…Just let that soak into your soul for a minute….Are you treating yourself like someone you don’t like? How is that working out for you?
We are all trying to find some balance in our crazy lives. Adding one more thing to our plates seems like… “ugh! One more thing to do?” or “another thing on the list, sigh…”.
But ask yourself, “what have you done for me lately?” Crickets….
Geez! Let’s make a deal right now, let’s put an end to treating ourselves like someone we don’t like, like someone that isn’t good enough, or is unlovable or whatever other crap is in your head about yourself! Let’s start treating ourselves like the rock star, strong, capable, important, empowered, absolutely good enough women that we were born to be!!
Here’s the secret and the first self love tip: When we change our behavior, our subconscious takes it seriously. What the heck does that even mean? You can think positive all day and still feel terrible, but when you change your behavior – although uncomfortable – it will change the way you feel and the way you think. Being uncomfortable is part of the process, note it, say thank you, and tell the discomfort to move on because you are determined to love yourself. More on this in a minute…onward to self love…
Let’s take a closer look at where you stand with yourself, currently. This will be the hardest part, but if you skip it, you will be most likely be right back where you started in no time, feeling defeated. So, come on, let’s do a little work – you deserve it! You deserve to spend some time, effort, energy love and even a little money (or a lot) on yourself…How did you get here anyway? Geez, you didn’t get this way overnight…
Self care is not selfish care!
If just saying that sentence brings up weird feelings, notice that! What is that feeling? Name it…and as any good coach will call you on your stuff…”I don’t know” isn’t an answer! Guess…
Get your head wrapped around this statement…Self. Care. Is. Not. Selfish. Care. Let’s reframe this for you.
If you take time away from your family to fill your car with gas, get the oil changed, tires rotated and all the other maintenance a car requires, then you can figure out how to do the self love thing. If you kinda cook, clean the dishes, occasionally vacuum and dust, clean the toilets and sinks, then you can also do the self care thing. If you brush your teeth and hair most days, then you need to do the self care thing!
The head space this requires must come first, understand what you are feeling right now as you read this… I seriously know women that don’t brush their hair on a daily basis because they have convinced themselves that “it doesn’t matter”, “my kids, spouse, the dog, guinea pig and fish… come first”. Or they are too exhausted to get up 15 minutes earlier to make it happen.
There are tons of negotiations that go on in our heads as to why we can’t or don’t take care of ourselves. This is the hardest part, and if you think you have it figured out, skip this and read on…however, without the mindset, truth be told… habits won’t change…That is why mindset must come first when it comes to self care, and frankly wanting to change anything in your life. Let’s go on a little self discovery journey…
Ask yourself these questions to discover your self care mindset:
- What are you telling yourself about taking care of yourself?
- Who or what is taking priority in your life?
- If you have children or kids that you are close to, what are you modeling to them about self care?
- Is this the message you want to convey? How does this reflect and play into your poor self esteem?
- How long have you thought this way?
- When was the last time you actually took care of your body, mind and spirit?
- What does it mean to take care of your body? Are you currently doing anything for your body?
- What does your mind need to feel stimulated and have fun?
- What about the energy of your soul and your capacity to give to others? Are you coming from a place of resentment?
- What do you need to do to replenish your soul? Meditation? Prayer? Journaling? Yoga – mind and body care?
- Is asking for help a sign of weakness or incompetence? (I got tripped up on this one and still do at times…)
- Do you think the world will literally stop or fall apart if you miss doing one single thing every day? How incompetent does that make the people around you feel?
- Do you know how to receive from others? Without receiving you cannot give, for you will have nothing.
Remember we made a deal!! To start treating ourselves like the rock star, strong, capable, important, empowered, absolutely good enough women that we were born to be!!
So, STOP! No self beatings allowed…Did I say I was starting with the hardest part first? I also said it was going to get a little uncomfortable…Okay…You can’t quit now…you’ve done the hard part…No, seriously! I can already hear the dialogue in your head! “Great, I’m just a jerk to myself”, “I’m a horrible, lazy, sloth that can’t take care of herself” , “I just can’t fit anything else in my day, and thinking about this made it worse!” Just stop for a minute…before you throw in the towel and say “screw it!”, I said this was the hard part and that wrapping your head around the self love mindset was the toughest part.
Also, I don’t want to seem insensitive to peeps who have extenuating circumstances – sick parents, relatives or children for example. AND realize, 10-15 minutes a day set aside for YOU will make caring for them easier. You can do this!
SOOOO, realizing that you have some work to do is just fine! You don’t have to justify it, make excuses for it, just let it soak in and feel it…Yes it’s a little uncomfortable to realize you have been neglecting yourself. And no one can call Adult Protective Services on you! This uncomfortable part is your ego or subconscious trying to keep you safe, bored and stuck! Being a little uncomfortable is just a sign that you are doing something new! It’s exciting and FUN!!
Allowing yourself to do a little everyday and knowing it won’t get fixed overnight is a beautiful thing…Say this: I am the rock star, strong, capable, important, empowered, absolutely good enough woman that I was born to be!! Really, it’s going to be okay…keep reading…
Now that you know you are going to do something about this issue…here are 9 more suggestions. I have broken it down into body, mind and spirit. Incorporate one of these habits a week for 9 weeks or for 9 months – it doesn’t matter. Just do something different…See…more doable, right?
Body Care Tips:
- Eat cleaner. You know this one. Just start with one extra serving of vegetables or plants a day. One serving is a measly 1/2 cup. Take out one of the complex carbs during your day and replace it the vegetables or other plant. If you eat granola bars, try green peppers or garbanzo beans (hummus) or if you’re eating candy, try carrots. Drop the Doritos for daikon radishes. Burgers are fine, drop the bun, fries and soda. These little changes will help your body and your mind. Did you know that saving 350 calories a day – the equivalent of the coke and fries – may help you drop a couple pounds a month. Better than gaining a couple a month…
- Drink water and herbal teas. Proper hydration will allow your body to detox more easily, keeps the wrinkles at bay, prevents muscle and stomach cramps. You have a liver which already functions to take the crap we consume, packages it up and sends it packing out the bile, stool and urine. Caffeine and alcohol serve as toxins in their own right. Minimal caffeine, one 8 ounce cup per day, is fine. Moderation on the alcohol – yes I know red wine is “good for you” – but 1/2 bottle per day is not. These two toxins interrupt good sleep patterns and normal circadian rhythm patterns in your brain.
- Move. Move your body 30 minutes a day. Yes, 30 minutes all at once is awesome BUT get a cheap Fitbit and get going on your steps. Goals of 3000 to start if you are a true couch potato or have a seated job or 10,000+ if you are already moving a lot. Sitting is considered the new smoking. Lack of movement causes chronic diseases and I think it causes a chunk of mental illness as well. Even brushing your hair and teeth is movement!
Mind Care Tips:
- Anxiety is a huge issue for many of us. Two easy things to do…Breathe and Find Gratitude. The breathing part is the body’s way of taking care of your mind. Three deep breathes can literally stop a panic attack if you focus on the breathing. It is physiologically impossible to have a panic attack when you are doing deep breathing exercises. Here is Dr Andrew Weil’s suggestion. Gratitude brings us back to the present. Depression is when we look backwards and anxiety is when we make up stuff about the future. Gratitude for where we are and what we have brings us front and center to our current reality.
- Read or Listen to something you are interested in – this feeds your mind and your soul. YouTube, Podcasts, Audible, Kindle – lots of free and very low cost ways to get new information while you go about your day. I listen to Audible books all the time – while I get ready in the morning, to and from work, even though its only 10 minutes, it’s amazing how fast I can go through a book. This also helps sharpen your listening skills. And if you missed something the first time you can listen again to the whole thing or parts that you have bookmarked. The Kindle and Audible apps are free, and some books are free. Some library systems have this available as well.
- Create a 15+ minute “Time out”. This is a non-negotiable 15 minutes in your day for you to do what you want. Even if you sit down or lay on your bed and do nothing. Your children can watch a video for 15 minutes, this does not make you a bad mom. I put this one third because I know how hard it is to get that time. I also know that my kids were 10 and 12 years old before I could actually take an uninterrupted 20 minute nap! Maybe that is my fault, but just so you know, I get it! I kept trying. I wouldn’t come out of my room for that time. Find the option that will work for you. Just saying “you can’t” isn’t acceptable. There is always a way. One of my favorite coaches told me a long time ago…There are always more options than you realize.
Soul Care Tips:
- I have an affinity for guided relaxation recordings. If you have never done this, it may seem weird. It was weird for me when i started. However, it is a technique that serves me almost everyday to chill out my brain, body and soul! You can find 5 minute to 45 minute and longer recordings that help you learn to relax your body by guiding you through awareness of what your body parts are feeling and their tension. You can listen to a few minutes of them using Amazon, iTunes and probably others. If you have a Prime membership, the Amazon music app is free and so is some of the music and these recordings. You can couple this with #3 above…it’s the perfect 5-20+ minutes of the day.
- Religious reading, study, Positive Psychology. I have done lots of bible studies in my life. I have also read other spiritual teachings and positive psychology books. These are a way to fill your soul with positive thoughts and faith in things unseen. One of my favorites is Shift Happens by Robert Holden. Shift Happens is a fairly easy read or listen and it will shift your thinking and fill you up. I love Beth Moore as well, as a prolific Christian author, she really tells it like it is and makes you dig into yourself.
- Find a tribe. You need positive friends. This is a place I struggle! I want to be around people that are on a similar path. I want positive people in my life. No negative Nellie’s allowed in my world. I have had to “fire” some friends because they weren’t good for me. You will become most like the top 5 people in your life. Your mom told you to watch out who you hang with, this is why. We pick up the habits of those around us. If our friends are drinking 5 cups of coffee a day – we probably are too. Same with any other habit in our life. Ask yourself if your friends are filling your soul or draining you dry. That doesn’t mean I have daisies growing out my ears and refuse to look at the icky side of life, but it does mean I continue to find the bright side. Optimistic people live longer and are happier.
Let’s get on this self care train and ride. Ask for help! It is not a sign of weakness! Maybe you and a friend can trade 30 minutes a day of watching your kids or taking care of a parent. You take care of things for her for 30 minutes and she takes care of your stuff for 30 minutes, at least you can get your hair and teeth brushed and breathe. It’s 30 minutes…you both can do this.
Another idea is to start a Facebook group where you trade time with others in your neighborhood so you can create a little space in your life for yourself and you will be helping others create space for themselves. It has to be a trade – you don’t get to just give and not receive. Learning to receive is one of the hardest things for some women. This is an easy place to start. You will ALL win.
Whether you incorporate one new thing a week, a month or a quarter, you will be headed in a different direction than you currently are headed. When you feel the tension, resentment, or anxiety rising, look at what you have been doing for yourself lately and ask yourself “what have you done for me lately?!?” Look back at my top 10 self love tips and pick something nice to do for yourself. Then actually NIKE, just do it! Self care is not selfish care!