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5 Keys to Daily Self-Care

Life can get pretty busy. Between our jobs, kids, parents, daily chores and other obligations—oh, and don’t forget the dog: who’s turn is it to take him out for a walk?—there can be little time left for ourselves. But if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, then everything else can suffer. We can become snippety at work, curt with our spouses, and short with our kids and others. On the other hand, when we’re feeling centered and taken care of, those daily interactions go a lot smoother. So how can we be at our best on a more consistent basis? We can start by following a daily self-care checklist. Here are 5 keys that will help make yours most effective.

Key #1: The first key is to take the time to write out a list of self-care items in advance. Too often, the days and weeks can get away from us, and if we haven’t taken the time to identify the things we can do daily to care and nurture ourselves, we can find ourselves stressed and at our wits end before we know it. The answer is to make a checklist of the little things you can work into your schedule daily that help you stay centered and that can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or overworked.

Key #2: The second key is found in the title of this article: Daily. The important thing to keep in mind when designing a list of five things you can do for yourself is to make sure you can easily fit them in on a daily basis. The point of this exercise isn’t to add stress to your life by coming up with five more things to add to your already busy schedule. Instead, what are five quick and easy things you can either change or insert into your schedule that will make you feel better and add some much-needed peace?

Simple changes can include reducing the amount of coffee or tea you drink in the morning—or not having that cup at night that tends to keep you up. Taking a few minutes to deep breathe or meditate is another powerful addition—and it doesn’t mean you have to quiet the whole house or sit crossed legged and say, “om,” for a half-hour. Look for five minutes after you drop the kids off at school, or when you arrive at work. Just sit in your car and breathe in and out and find your center. If you pray, this is a great time to ask your Higher Power to come and calm you, to be with you as you move into your next activity. Choosing a healthy snack mid-morning—instead of that piece of candy—can also empower you and help you feel you’re taking better care of yourself. Whether it’s leaving your desk and taking a walk after lunch, or taking a relaxing bath before bed, there are many things you can add into your daily schedule—without adding more time—that will help you feel better about yourself.

Key #3: Identify and remove as much stress as you can. We are bombarded by negativity and stress. One daily self-care habit that pays huge dividends is to remove the stress that you might be taking in voluntarily. One big source is our addiction to daily news. As you know, the news is almost all bad, and it’s designed to agitate and irritate you. If you find yourself reading or binging or following the latest news story, give yourself a 30-day cease and desist. While it may be difficult to do at first, by doing so, you will immediately feel a release of hidden negativity that you’ve been injecting into your life. And don’t worry: the world will carry on without you being notified of the latest disaster.

Key #4: Purposely feed yourself information that makes you feel better. Emmet Fox (my favorite spiritual writer) once said that if we spent as much time reading something spiritual and uplifting as we do by following the sports pages and our favorite team, that we could transform our society in a very short while. I know that when I spend more time reading positive and uplifting spiritual material, I feel a lot more centered and hopeful. Especially when I read this at night before I go to sleep. This one key is easy to practice and has an immediate and noticeable effect on both your mood and your feelings in general. Try it tonight.

Key #5: Be flexible. If you decide to write up five items and find that one either takes too long or just isn’t feasible given your schedule at the moment, then change it out for one that might work better. By remaining flexible and committed to yourself, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel by just making small changes that don’t take any more of your time. You might even wonder how you stayed sane without making daily self-care a priority! So go ahead and start that list; you’ll begin feeling better immediately.

Michael Zajaczkowski earned his master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from Antioch University, Los Angeles. After working with both couples and individuals, he resumed his career as a business and sales training coach. He currently runs an international business and inside sales training company and uses his experience from counseling and coaching to help his clients set and achieve financial goals while helping them identify and engage in activities that give their lives meaning alongside their career success. Michael is the author of The Owner's Manual to Life, published by Health Communications, Inc. In addition to his books on inside sales techniques and scripting, his first novel, The Angel, Six Secrets for Making Your Dreams Come True, is due out in 2024. He and his wife are avid pickleball players, and they live and play in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. To see his other titles, visit:


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