“WHY DO I KEEP HITTING MYSELF WITH A HAMMER? BECAUSE IT FEELS SO GOOD WHEN I STOP.”
— MEREDITH GREY
(Character from the TV show, Grey’s Anatomy – (Original Source – Unknown).
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Post Updated April, 2019
Taking the time out of your busy day or week to tend to your own self-care needs may not be on the top of your list, but let me be the friendly voice to tell you that it’s probably one of the MOST important things you can do for yourself and others around you. Trust me!
I spent years neglecting myself and running myself into the ground — working up to 15-hours a day in a job that consumed my soul each and every day.
I worked as a Commercial Insurance Underwriter/Broker. And, while the job seemed like it paid decently well at $60k a year, it wasn’t worth the amount of stress I was under 24/7. I suffered deeply and was close to having a nervous breakdown.
Thankfully, I was fired from that soul-sucking job last year on March 2nd — 3 days before my 40th birthday. I just couldn’t do it anymore and it reflected in my performance numbers. Getting fired was the best birthday gift I could have ever received!
As women, we give and give and give some more. Never really stopping to question to whom or what we are giving to. And yet, taking a few minutes out of our day to tend to our own self-care needs is something we don’t often give to ourselves.
I think it’s time, us, women, begin to not only take better care of ourselves but to also connect back to our femininity.
In this crazy busy life we live, we are continuously being pulled in so many different directions. Connecting with ourselves is what brings us inner peace and gives us the strength to deal with the outer world.
I’ve come up with a list of some healthy habits that I have started to practice in my own life that have helped me and I want to share them all with you.
Let’s begin, shall we?
1. STOP NEGLECTING YOURSELF
If you’re anything like I used to be, I used to wear all forms of self-neglect like it was a suit of armor protecting me from feeling any sense of personal enjoyment.
It was like I was determined to punish myself every day. Self-neglect can take on many forms and it often isn’t visible to others, but you will surely feel it in your mind, body, and spirit.
Some of the ways you could be neglecting yourself would be by depriving yourself of enjoyment, not sleeping enough, not eating properly, not exercising regularly, not giving your mind a break and always putting yourself last. We often mistake putting ourselves last as some sort of grand act of love to those around us. Nothing can be furthest from the truth.
If you’re not giving to yourself first, you can’t be at your best for your family. Take the time to tend to your own self-care needs. You will feel so much better when you do.
It took me years to figure out how to meditate. How the heck does one stop all the noise in their head and just sit still? Well, the truth is, that’s actually really difficult to do at first because we’re not used to the quiet inside our minds.
But, I began to long for the quiet moments to retreat within myself long before I started to implement meditation into my life.
What works for me is that I no longer focus on trying to clear my mind. Instead, I focus on feeling and connecting with my heart and body.
I focus on how good it feels to sit in a comfy chair, and when I do that, all the noise inside my mind just seems to quieten down and I no longer seem to pay attention to it.
Meditate often —Even if it’s only for 3 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Take deep breaths in and out. When was the last time you took a deep breath? It feels so good! You should try it.
Some might think the idea of meditation isn’t for them, but meditation can be as simple as sitting in silence for a few minutes a day. It’s incredibly rejuvenating!
3. A DAY WITHOUT A TO-DO LIST
Do you ever feel like you have to be continuously filling up every moment of your day or week doing something productive? The to-do lists seem to be never-ending.
A way you can begin to take better care of yourself is to do away with the To-Do lists at least once a week and let the day lead you. I know, that’s contrary to all those Productivity hacks we keep seeing everywhere.
Heaven forbid we waste an hour doing nothing when we could have accomplished so many other tasks, right? It’s no wonder we always feel exhausted and on edge. Take the day off to rest without worrying about that to-do list of yours and just do something fun!
No thinking, no doing, no guilt. Just give yourself permission to let go of all the things you should be doing and just enjoy your life. You will feel so much better when you do.
Why bask in fleeting moments of bliss? Because it feels good. And that’s a great reason, in and of itself. Don’t you think?
4. GUILT-FREE MEAL
Do you agonize over every single morsel of food that enters your mouth? UGH! Why do we do that to ourselves? I spent my whole life doing that. Continuously depriving myself of food that I enjoy.
I love eating healthy, but sometimes, you’ve got to allow yourself to indulge.
I’m not saying to go crazy here. But, perhaps it would be nice to plan out an indulgent meal once a week and give yourself the permission to enjoy it, without the guilt.
I’m more of a breakfast/brunch kinda person, myself, so I love eating pancakes drizzled with caramel sauce and sweet Chantilly cream. YUM!! The last thing I want to feel after a meal like that is guilt. Life is too short. Bon Appetit!!
5. HYDRATE OFTEN
Drinking plenty of liquids can be incredibly refreshing for the mind and body. This one was a hard one for me to stick to because I never used to be a big water drinker. Honestly, I can go for hours on end without any water at all.
But, when I started to drink more water, I started to crave it more, which is great because I’m no longer having to force it down.
To help me drink more liquids, I began adding lemon slices and berries to my water. My mind feels so much clearer when I’m well hydrated.
6. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
Be selective about the type of people you allow into your inner circle. Including family. All the relationships we have in our lives should feel good. If they don’t, then they aren’t adding anything good to our lives and we should seriously consider letting go.
If the people in your life are negative, full of drama, envious, competitive, selfish, inconsiderate, mean, uncompassionate and un-supportive, etc… Then really, why should we hold a space for them in our lives?
People are energy and I, for one, have always been very sensitive to people’s energy. When someone’s energy doesn’t jive with mine it can be incredibly draining.
Surround yourself with people that not only have positive energy, but that also nurture you and help build you up when you’re feeling down. Positive people will do that! They will help you see the light when you’re going through dark times. Negative people will only bring you down and instill their own fears in you. Choose people carefully.
7. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Spend more time outside. Go for a walk by yourself, or find a quiet place to sit outside in nature somewhere. This can feel immensely rejuvenating.
I don’t consider myself to be a super outdoorsy kinda gal. But as time goes by, I crave being outside and connecting with nature more than I ever have before in my life.
I feel such an incredible sense of freedom and peace when I’m outside. Being outside helps me feel centered and it helps me reflect on my life. I love breathing in the fresh air and the way the sun feels on my skin. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a step outside in the fresh air. I am certain you will feel so much better.
8. STRETCH EVERY DAY
Take the time to stretch your body every day. My girls and I love Blogilates!
The founder of Blogilates, Cassey Ho, has some amazing Pilates workouts for women. Most of her workouts are really short (8-12 minutes), but they are super effective. What I love most about Cassey is the positive message she puts in all her videos.
She encourages women to embrace their bodies, live a positive life and to take care of their bodies so that they can feel stronger and not necessarily skinnier. Best of all, so many of her videos are free to watch on You-Tube.
I’m so glad that my daughters found her because they are too young to be straining their bodies by doing crazy workouts. But, now they can get some exercise into their day in a safe and low-intensity way.
My daughter, Leila (age 14), and I recently started doing pilates stretches, typically before bedtime, and it has made such a huge difference on how my body feels. Stretching every day has helped alleviate a lot of the body aches and pains that I was having.
I’ve become addicted to stretching my body every day. It feels so good!
Here’s a link to the total body stretch I do with my daughter.
9. PRETTY FLOWERS
Who said you have to wait for someone to give you flowers? Umm. . . no one! Buy YOURSELF some pretty flowers. I absolutely love flowers! And, they are such a simple way of adding some color to my day.
Buy or pick your own flowers and arrange them in a nice vase and place it on your bedside table or on your desk.
I promise, they will put a smile on your face each time you look at them 🙂
10. TAKE A LONG BATH
When was the last time you took a nice, long bath? As busy women, many of us prefer taking a quick shower so as to not waste any more time than needed to get ready for our already full days.
But, how about if we actually scheduled in a long bath once a week where we can just sit back and relax?
Taking a long bath is such a beautifully feminine thing to do. Let your body feel how incredibly soothing it is to feel the warmth of the water on your skin.
It’s such a simple way to incorporate self-care habits into our lives. Just think of how good it must feel to do that for yourself. You can make it something you look forward to doing every week, or even, EVERY DAY!
Another thing you can do while you’re taking your long bath is to listen to some soft, soothing music. My favorite music to listen to when I want to relax is Lyndsey Stirling’s modern violin music.
I used to listen to Lyndsey’s music on my long and stressful commute to and from work every day. Nothing relaxes me more.
“Song of the Caged Bird” is one of my favorite pieces of music. Love It!
Here’s a link to my Lindsey Stirling Playlist. Hope you love it as much as I do 🙂
11. YUMMY BATH SCENT
Remember that wonderful bath you should make time for once a week? Well, that bath needs some luscious smelling bath salts, soaps, and bombs to make it a more lavish experience.
You can even add some flowers, milk, essential oils, and fruit slices to your water to make it ever so much more luxurious. Wouldn’t it be lovely to incorporate more of those Cleopatra bath moments (with or without the milk) into our lives? We so DESERVE it, ladies!
12. PUT ON A SHOCKINGLY BRIGHT LIPSTICK
Somedays, you just feel kinda grey and need a little pick-me-up. When I’m having one of those days when I’m not quite feeling myself, putting on a bright color lipstick is my #1 trick for instantly elevating my mood. Truly.
Some women are afraid to wear a bright color lipstick because they feel it’s too fancy, or they’re just not that kinda girl. But, I encourage you to try it. Who cares if it looks too fancy?
I love wearing a bright red or pink lipstick even if I’m wearing jeans and a casual top. It instantly brightens up my face and I feel so much more vibrant and feminine.
I get so many compliments from other women about my lipstick, but they tell me things like, “I wouldn’t be able to pull that color off.” But, yes, you totally can!
You’ve just got to find a bright color that works with your skin tone and eventually, you will get used to wearing it. It might even become one of your favorite things to wear. It is for me.
My absolute favorite bright lipstick color is Dollhouse Pink by Wet n Wild. When I first tried it on, it looked way too neon pink, but I wore it anyway. Now, it has become my signature color and I love it. It even stains my lips red, so if the color comes off, my lips still have a lovely red stain to them, which looks so feminine.
13. BE KIND AND GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
This one may be a little difficult to do, but be gentle with yourself, lovely lady. You can’t give to others if you’re not giving to yourself first. Nurture yourself, be tender with yourself and be kind to YOU.Be Kind and Gentle with YourselfClick To Tweet
Give yourself the things that your soul yearns for. If it’s time alone, take it. If it’s reading a book, read it. If it’s going out with your friends, just go. It’s time we realize that we deserve gentleness, tenderness, and kindness, too. Not just those around us.
14. GET LOST IN BOOKS
When was the last time you let yourself get lost in a great book? Reading books can be so relaxing for our minds and bodies and it’s a great and simple way to unwind.
What I love about books is our minds ability to become so immersed in a story that it helps us temporarily forget about our own stressful lives.
Reading is one of my favorite past-times. Sadly, it’s also one of the first things to go when my schedule gets hectic. There’s nothing more comforting to me than sitting in a comfy chair with a cup of something warm and just getting lost in a new world.
I particularly love getting lost in books that have magic in them. That’s why I love all the Harry Potter books and I’m so utterly drawn to reading kids fantasy books. They’re so creative and inspiring! And, they bring out the child within us. How can that be a bad thing?
In the past year or so, I tend to mostly listen to audiobooks on mindset and personal development. But recently, I picked up a book I started to read a couple of years ago, but due to my highly demanding work schedule, I only got a couple of chapters in.
That book is my pick for an adult fantasy book filled with magic. It’s called The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Have you read it? I’d love to know if you like it if you have read it. It is incredibly captivating and is absolutely exquisitely written (in my opinion)! It instantly pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading. I find it so hard to put it down. If you love reading fantasy genres, I’m sure you would love it, too!
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to just surrender to what is. It takes a lot of energy to be continuously DOING.
Allow yourself more time to stop doing and just BE.
A lot of the doing comes from wanting to have control over every aspect of our own lives, but it comes at a great sacrifice. Ourselves.
Take care of your own well-being and surrender yourself to something greater than yourself.
I have learned to just let go and trust that all things will just fall into place in the natural order of life.
Investing small bits of time in our every day to take better care of ourselves shouldn’t be at the bottom of our list. We are worth taking the time to care for ourselves – mind, body, and spirit each and every day.
I hope you’ve been inspired by this list of simple things you can do today to start taking better care of yourself. If you didn’t find anything you would like doing on this list, you can totally come up with your own list, but do it today.
Do you have any great and simple self-care tips you can share? Comment below. I would love to read them.
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With All My Heart,