It is so important for us to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually...especially these days.
Although we know this, it’s much easier said than done, isn’t it?
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be spending so much time at home over the past two years, not traveling or speaking—I would have thought that I would be able to take care of myself really well - exercising, resting, meditating, etc.
That wasn’t the case for me for the first year and a half or so of Covid. How about you? Many people I know and work with have talked to me about challenges along these lines, particularly during the pandemic.
For me, it was and, at times, still is hard to get and stay motivated. It’s easy to get stuck in the monotony of things and also unhealthy patterns with respect to eating, sleeping, exercising—or lack thereof.
Whatever your current struggle may be with self-care, you’re not alone. It continues to be a challenging and stressful time for just about all of us.
How can we take better care of ourselves? And how do we do so in a more kind and compassionate way?
I have five ideas for what we can do to enhance our self-care in a healthy and effective way right now.
The Importance of Self-Care
Many of us struggle with our approach to self-care. And while self-care is essential, it can be tricky for several reasons.
Here are some things we can focus on and do to improve how we care for ourselves:
Awareness is about being mindful and real about how we feel - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This awareness can be easier said than done, but it is the first step to caring for ourselves in a successful way.
Being authentic with ourselves is essential to our well-being on every level, and this starts with awareness.
Have compassion for yourself. We’ve been through a lot, and we continue to navigate an incredibly challenging time. All that has happened has disrupted how we operate and care for ourselves. If you are struggling, remember, you're not the only one.
Sometimes it’s easier to have compassion for others than ourselves. Just remember...you’re not broken, flawed, or screwed up. You’re just human.
There are four steps we can follow when finding great compassion for ourselves and making positive changes:
Recognize (the pattern, thought, or behavior)
Acknowledge (what we’re feeling or doing and the impact it is having)
There’s nothing wrong with us if we've picked up some unhealthy habits over the past few years. Have compassion for yourself. And remember to always appreciate and love yourself.
3. Reach out for support
Having other people to talk to can be very helpful. People want to support us, and most of us are fortunate enough to have people in our lives who are there for us...especially if we’re willing to reach out and let them know we need support.
Have you ever noticed other people’s issues and challenges are way easier to address than our own? Even the most intense and complicated situations don't seem nearly as complex when they are going on for other people…because we're not emotionally attached to them in the same way we are with our own stuff.
The further away we are from the situation, the easier it is for us to have a healthy perspective on it. Many of our biggest issues are related to our own trauma or negative patterns.
It can be hard to confront our challenges authentically and effectively—but that's why therapy and coaching can be so valuable. When a skilled person can help us look at our stuff from an outside perspective, they can often help us get out of our own way and move through things.
4. Take action
Take some thoughtful and intentional action, even if it's small. You can journal, walk, meditate, stretch, or take a good old-fashioned break.
Don’t take action for the sake of action, but take intentional action. It might feel awkward at first, but taking action and getting into some kind of movement can make a big difference.
A very practical and actionable way to overcome struggle or resistance is to have some kind of positive accountability. Accountability helps us move past blocks and stick to healthy habits, especially when they might be different or challenging.
Changing our behavior and trying new things can be scary—but having some accountability can help us take that first step…and then keep going.
Caring for ourselves is so important, particularly right now, and it can be really hard to do. Let’s be real about it and kind as we look to make some positive shifts and changes with our self-care.
What can you do to take care of yourself right now in a compassionate and effective way? Share your thoughts or questions below in the comments.