Self-care is one of those things in life that we all know we need to do, but that can be easier said than done. Often times, we attribute moments of pampering and indulgence as much needed “self-care” — like a spa day a bubble bath or a girls night out. All very good, very necessary things.
But have you ever noticed that when you do those things, they feel amazing in the moment, but then you leave that moment only to return to the very pressures that made you stressed to begin with and find yourself immediately drained of whatever self-care goodness you originally found?
Self-care is meant to revitalize and create a soul-deep goodness that is sustainable, but that’s a tall order for a pedicure. It’s an impossible ask because if you don’t have a daily practice of being kind to yourself, you’re working at a deficit. Sporadic moments of indulgence and letting go just aren’t enough to cover it.
Truth is, self-care is just that — caring for YOU. Setting up a structure, a way of being, for your life that moves you to the center of control and works for you. In order to get the full benefit of these indulgent moments, the practice of self-care actually starts in the everyday.
Here are some suggestions for how to begin to practice daily self-care that every strategic woman should know:
Boundaries. They are your friend. Make them, abide by them, and require other people to honor them. Your emotional, physical, and intellectual expenditure matters. It’s an investment of yourself into other people and systems. You decide how much you give, when you give, how you give, and why you give. And you set clear boundaries for people interacting with you. And if someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, send them on their way. No need to expend energy trying to convince someone who isn’t willing to learn.
Health. Self-care is intended to make deposits into your personal “health bank” — but if you’re running on empty consistently, that deficit tends to show up across areas of your life. Your health isn’t negotiable. This goes for gym time and eating healthy. Your body must support the function of our living. Carrying stress of all kinds is harmful to your body in ways that are not always visible. Prioritize your healthcare. And no, don’t you dare feel guilty for carving out some much-needed gym time for yourself.
Time & Space. We live in a world of “constant on” a constant, hyperconnected input of information, from all corners, that we are required to entertain, acknowledge, sift, prioritize, and respond to. Sometimes, the best self-care you can ever give yourself is the power of the off button. Unplug it, turn it off, be unavailable. Sit and do nothing. Journal. Be quiet. Allow the moment to require your full attention. Schedule daily or, better yet, an entire day out of your week, where you dial down the noise and be unavailable.
The Power of No. No is a beautiful, glorious word. You’ll find that “no” actually opens up space in your life for “yes” opportunities that matter. The ones that you want to spin your wheels on. The chances that you need to get you from point to A to point B in life. Say, “yes” to the opportunities that scare you, the ones that excite you, challenge you, require the very best of you. You’ll find that when you learn to say “no” to the obligatory, but void of value, things we do in life — we have the energy and room to say yes.
Consider these your foundation to self-care. Establish a routine that acknowledges your personal needs and gives yourself room to take up space. Allow yourself to be fully you. With a good foundation and a daily regime of being kind to yourself, even when it’s hard, you’ll find that that indulgent massage or the girls night out actually reap lasting benefits.
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