At some point, you need to ask yourself the difficult questions in order to determine whether you are doing the right thing by you. It’s up to you to protect your own self from mental health issues, burnouts, and fatigue. Luckily there is an easy way to do so and you can assess whether you are providing yourself with enough self-care by answering just a few questions.
In fairness, your level of self-care will vary depending on the time in your life. Sometimes getting hopefully lost in the woods is the only way to find a new path, for it is in those moments of strife the scales fall from your eyes and you realize how far you have strayed from who you are.
It isn’t easy, to be honest with yourself about what changes you need to make in your life, however, the only way to get the best from this exercise is by being brutally honest. We are all guilty of telling ourselves lies, so it’s time for openness and honesty.
You may find that some questions or the thoughts that stem from them make you feel anxious. There is no right answer, there are only honest answers that lead to eureka moments. Don’t feel shame about your answer.
The 12 Questions
1. Can you make and take time for you without feeling pangs of guilt?
2. Are your leisure activities a priority in your life?
3. Do you understand the difference between self-indulgence and self-care?
4. Do you feel as though you deserve your self-care?
5. Do you feel okay about sometimes slowing down?
6. Do you take care of your needs and desires?
7. Do you say yes to requests from others when it is best for you to say no?
8. Do you do things you really don’t want to do, or that will over extend you?
9. Are you running on empty?
10. Are you overwhelmed?
11. Are you chronically tired and have a lack of energy?
12. Do you crave and eat junk food often, and especially during times of stress?
Don’t judge yourself or your answers, just allow yourself to be aware of where you are with your needs and wants as well as your general habits and stress levels.
There are more detailed assessments available (http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/MARCH_2015_Self_Care_Assessment.pdf) which walk you through a deeper valuation of your self-care.
These questions may sound simple, but they really get to the root of whether you are making enough time for you and your self-care. Once you have determined whether you are, aren’t, or need to do more it is important to take what you have learned and create a personal plan that addresses your entire self.
People often forget that there’s more to a person that just their physical health, and fail to realize how all of these sides of us play into the health of each other. You can’t look after one and dismiss the rest and believe that is sufficient.
• Enjoy a nutritious diet
• Drink water
• Exercise regularly
• Get good sleep
• Enjoy a regular massage
• Practice yoga or meditate daily
• Learn time management and know when to say no to manage your stress levels
• Mindful Meditation
• Read for enjoyment
• Take note of negative self-talk and redirect it to positivity
• Honor your feelings
• Don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling with others
• Learn to laugh at yourself
• Learn to be compassionate with yourself
• Practice the activities you enjoy, whether it’s hiking, golfing, baking, knitting, or gardening
• Set boundaries
• Watch the sunset (or the sunrise)
• Listen to music that soothes your soul
• Read and meditate on the Word
How can you be of any use to others if you are unable to look after yourself? It isn’t just your physical self that requires self-care, but also your spiritual side, emotional, and cognitive sides.
Self-care should not be viewed as a luxury, rather it’s a necessity to maintain your whole self, healthily. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for you, everyone deserves to find happiness, health, and peace – even you. You can’t adequately serve others if you can’t even serve yourself first.