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We carry around this unhealthy belief that putting ourselves first is wrong and selfish. But when we do things out of obligation or because we feel we “have to”, we approach these things with a sense of resentment and they create an unnecessary level of stress in our lives. By choosing to care for ourselves in a deep and intentional way, we naturally care for others in a healthier and more positive way. We make choices and decisions from a place of love, rather than resentment and this is where we can make the greatest contribution to the world. If you already have a self-care practice in place, try these steps to crank it up to the next level. If you don’t, then these steps are also a great place to start.
1. Connect With Creativity
With endless “to-do’s” and obligations, often the last thing on our mind is to become more creative. However, fostering a sense of creativity allows us to experience joy, freedom and passion, which aren’t found in a “to-do” list and for many, in our day-to-day lives. Perhaps you think that you left your creative, playful side behind in childhood. You may not realise that there is a creative side of you that is itching to be expressed. Creativity comes in many forms and in a range of abilities. Creativity isn’t something that you have or don’t have, it is the act of “doing” creative things, which nurtures and develops this side of us.
Don’t let someone else’s perception of creativity hinder your own expression. You might discover an old talent or hobby you parked years ago, or find solace in gardening, painting, writing, photography, dancing, time out in nature or playing an instrument. When we express creativity it can have a profound impact on our life, particularly in problem-solving, productivity, improving our relationships with others and with ourselves, and ultimately allow us to extract more joy and delight from life.
2. Learn To Ask For Help
When faced with a problem, the obvious choice is to ask for help. But often we choose to struggle on dealing with these problems ourselves and even worse isolate ourselves from others in the process. Practice speaking with emotional clarity to say what you need, even if you have to repeat it a few times or try a few people before you are properly “heard”. Not expressing yourself effectively will only hinder the positive work you are doing in your self-care practice. Ask people to share the load with you. When I have made the choice to open up and ask for help, I have found the most loyal friends. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and don’t give up until you find what you need.
3. Let Go
Sometimes we need to acknowledge that we have the choice about whether the past plays a part in our life today. As hard as it may seem, it’s always our choice to give ourselves the gift and freedom of forgiveness and to let go and move forward. Sometimes we can't control every move on the chessboard either. This is still a work-in-progress for me, as a recovering control freak! We have to learn to have faith, that the universe always has our best interests in mind. Let go and just trust. Trying to control every single outcome will drive you mad and is completely impossible! It will lead you to focus on what could go wrong, rather than allowing the best outcome to present itself.
4. Set Healthy Boundaries
Are you someone who is constantly saying yes, apologising when it isn't your fault, allowing your work life to invade your personal life and surrounding yourself with people who suck the energy out of you? If so, then you need to set some healthy boundaries. Seek out people who are positive and inspire you. When we expend energy on people whose behaviour is at odds with our own beliefs and values it can create frustration and confusion. Learn to say no with confidence. Choosing to be unavailable to negative people is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself. You deserve to spend your precious time with people who with lift you up and inspire you to move forward positively.
What Are Your Self-Care Tips?