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6 Benefits Learning to Love Yourself

No matter how much the hardest among us deny this – we all have a desire to be loved. Often, it’s a romantic love that we crave. We are caught up in our loneliness and it’s normal to have a want for companionship. Though, romance isn’t everyone’s struggle or want – it may be a familial want or a platonic friendship. While, for some it may be a combination of all of these.

Rejection and hurt can leave us feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned with how we expect relationships to play out. When they don’t go as we want them to we often blame ourselves and wonder where we went wrong… that’s not what it’s about.

This is where learning to love yourself comes in – and that comes with some incredible benefits, here are six.

  1. You’ll Be Large & In Charge

Instead of making bad choices because you’re being led by shame, guilt or fear – you will be empowered to make choices that truly make sense for who you are – meaning you will be living your authentic life. You will no longer be caught up with people pleasing, instead you will live a life that brings you satisfaction. Self-love means trying to honor yourself because you know your needs are just as important as others.

  1. You Set Boundaries & Stick To Them

Once you have the hang of honoring your needs you start to feel more confident, which means you are more assertive. Of course, this results in a more purposeful attitude, especially when it comes to dating. You start to see who is wasting your time and you’re strong enough to move forward without them. More to the point, you are strong enough to set clear boundaries with people and stick to them.

  1. The Approval Seeking Will Stop

When you truly love yourself, you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about you – which means you’re a less defensive person and more confident about living a life that is authentic for you. Why would you need acceptance from everyone else when you truly accept yourself?

  1. You Will Be A Conscious Decision Maker

Loving yourself gives you the courage to cut things from your life that don’t truly bring you joy or provide you with ample space to grow. It’s easy to make courageous decisions when you value yourself and actively make choices that are intended to honor you, rather than risk harming you.

  1. You Will Enjoy Alone Time

A lot of people get caught up in keeping busy schedules simply because they’re terrified of feeling or being alone. You surround yourself with people, throw yourself into work, and make decisions that help you avoid that loneliness. Why would you do all of the things that you don’t love? You could be filling that time with things that you actually enjoy doing – whether it’s meditation, swimming, writing or watching a movie. It doesn’t need to feel scary to spend time alone, you should enjoy time with yourself. Self-love brings more comfort when you’re spending time in your own company.

  1. Happiness

You don’t need to find happiness in relationships, whether they’re romantic or not. The only love that you truly need to be happy is the love of yourself. When you start taking responsibility for it and stop giving your power away to everyone else, you will naturally feel happier. If you’re not in a romantic relationship you will find that you aren’t as desperate to be in one as you once were because you know you don’t need them. When the right person shows up, you will be ready for that love.

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Navagating Peace of Mind

There have been many analogies used to describe your mind, but likening it to the ocean is a perfect comparison to living in today’s modern world. Like the sea, your mind is constantly moving, can be stirred up at any moment by ever-increasing storms and surges, and you always have to navigate around the pollutants that are ever-present.

Finding calm in the ocean is tough, as is finding peace of mind in our hectic, modern age. When you learn to reduce the influence of your thoughts on your actions and emotions, you can create a calmer sea in which to thrive. Learning to still your mind is a skill that must be practiced, but it is possible to develop peace of mind.

Peace of mind is merely a mental and emotional state of calmness. When you are at peace, you can let go of worries, anxiety, and other mental activities that disrupt your mind. One of the critical components of peace of mind is being present, which requires letting go of the past and not worrying about the future.

How to Create A Peaceful Mind

Like all other mental skills, creating peace in your mind must be practiced and learned. It’s not something that will just happen simply because you want it to, unfortunately. But, by practicing these strategies regularly, you can become more at peace and develop a calmer mindset that allows you to live in the present.

Meditate

The most significant practice you can learn and perfect to develop peace of mind is meditation. The mindfulness you learn from regular, meditative practice is the cornerstone of all the other skills necessary for cultivating peace of mind. Learning to meditate and be mindful of how your emotions are affecting you and how your thoughts influence your behavior is crucial.

If you have never meditated before, try a guided practice that teaches you the basics and instills the tenets of this practice. There are not many, and it’s easy to learn with just a little practice.

Meditation reshapes your brain and how it is wired, allowing you to better cope with stress and push away negative thoughts as they intrude into your peace. Meditation practice can reduce anxiety, which is the most likely reason your mind is at unrest, as well.

Forgive

Holding onto grudges for past mistakes is robbing you of inner peace. This type of negative thinking holds you down and keeps you living in anxiety and negativity, which rob you of your peace of mind. Learning to forgive is vital for moving on and finding joy and peace in your current world.

Worry Only About Yourself and God

When you are constantly thinking and worrying about what others may think of you or your choices, you will not be able to find peace. Fear of judgment creates the negative emotions that make finding peace of mind difficult. You will never please everyone, and others do not have to live your life or with the consequences of your actions. The only perons that has a heaven or hell to send you to is God. Stop caring what others think. You’ll be much happier and at peace.

Be Patient

Patience and tolerance go a long way in today’s hectic world. When you learn to accept that much is not in your control, you can better roll with the situations life hands you and take things for what they are.

Whether it is the behavior of others, the pace at which the world is moving, or even how much things cost, the only thing you can control is your reaction to these. Learning patience and tolerance can allow you to put your focus where it needs to be, which is you.

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10 Tips for Spiritual Wellness

When it comes to wellness, taking care of your body, mind, and emotions do not encompass all that you are. Tending to your spirit is just as important as the other pieces and can bring you tremendous satisfaction and peace. Your spiritual wellness includes your sense of purpose and meaning in life as well as the guiding principles behind your thoughts and actions.

How can you improve your spiritual wellness? You will need to explore strategies to find ones that work best for you and your needs, but here are our top ten spiritual wellness tips to get you started.

#1. Practice Gratitude

Being grateful for what you have in life that brings you joy, and peace is a wonderful way to recognize your own values. Take time each day to acknowledge your gratitude, and record your appreciation in you a journal. Send thank-you notes or messages to others who contribute to your spiritual growth and health, as well.

#2. Get to Know Your Spiritual Core

Understanding what drives you as a person and what brings meaning to your life is essential to spiritual wellness. Reflect on your values, your purpose, and your identity regularly to ensure you are aligning your beliefs with your behaviors and feel confident in your choices. Regular reflection helps you recognize and address problems in your spirituality before they become too large to manage.

#3. Work On Self-Acceptance

Tending to your spirit means being comfortable with who you are and what you believe. Accepting that you are unique in this world and that you don’t have to agree with or be like anyone else means you are confident in your mission and choices in life.

#4 Explore the World

Exploring the world, even if it’s just within your own community, helps you appreciate the diversity of thoughts and ideas in our society. Travel is a great way to get you out of your comfort zone, which is often the best place to identify your real values and needs in life, too.

#5. Be More Mindful

Living in the moment teaches you to appreciate life and all its everyday pleasures and curiosities. Paying full attention brings you into harmony with your environment and others and allows you to stay more connected to yourself and your needs, too.

#6. Explore the Deeper Meanings

When you see recurring patterns in your life, dig a little deeper. What do these tell you about your values, beliefs, and behaviors? How you can use this understanding to enhance your spirit and control your path forward? Awareness of these deeper meanings can help you feel happier and more at peace in life.

#7. Focus on the Positive

Thinking positively lifts your spirits as well as helping you consider alternatives to problems. Positivity helps you focus on what you want to achieve and what brings you joy and satisfaction in life, as well. Reframing your thoughts to be more positive is one way to enhance your spiritual wellness every day.

#8. Express Yourself

When you keep emotions or thoughts bottled up, it can cloud your mind and leave you feeling unsatisfied. Writing your feelings down or talking about them with a trusted partner or friend can help you clarify what is bothering you and how this connects to your values and beliefs.

#9. Try Yoga and Meditation

These activities are both based on mindfulness practices that reduce stress as well as emotional and physical strain, which can block your spiritual growth. These practices focus on teaching you to listen to your body, to quiet your mind, and to be present in the moment, all of which are healthy for your spiritual growth and development.

#10. Give Back

Giving back to others through donating time, money, or even blood can provide you with ways to align your values with your actions. Volunteering gives you a direct outlet to support your spiritual needs by attending to the needs of others in many ways.

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Where I Find Moments for Self Care During the Day

Living in the twenty-first century is a hectic, fast-paced, and stressful experience for many of us. Trying to juggle work, family, and social lives is a constant pressure with very little time for chilling out and relaxing. Finding time for self-care can be challenging, especially when as women, we have been taught to put everyone else’s needs before our own. Here are some I have found to look after myself, even when I am on the go:

Stretch

Stretching the body is so good for you and it only takes a minute. Stretching helps to maintain your body’s flexibility, can help release toxins from the body, and increase blood circulation. Try range-of-motion stretches such as shoulder shrugs, wrist and ankle rotations, and straightening and bending the knees. Do this for all your joints. You may find you are able to move with less stiffness and pain as a result. I do these simple stretch exercises while I sit in traffic, wait at the grocery store checkout and while I am on the phone.

Breathe

Whenever you feel stressed, take a few minutes to just breathe. Breathing is something you can focus on at any time. Contrary to what your mother might have told you, don’t “Take a deep breath.” Science tells us that breathing in increases the stress response while breathing out helps to relax us.

Try breathing in for two and out for four. Exhale all the way out and allow your body to breathe in when it is ready. Let the breath find its way into your lower belly. This is a relaxed way to breathe.

Relax

Practice relaxation regularly. This helps alleviate your stress levels, and when you are relaxed, your mind will slow down and you will not think such worrisome thoughts. You will feel peaceful and calm. Progressive muscle relaxation is a good way to start: I begin by clenching my toes for 7 seconds and then releasing.

I move to the next muscle group, i.e., my calf muscles, clench for 7 seconds and then release. Eventually, I work my way around my entire body. When you do this, notice how different you feel now compared to when you started the exercise.

Be Grateful

Research shows that people, who regularly practice gratitude experience greater life satisfaction, have increased levels of happiness and are less prone to depression. An attitude of gratitude can improve sleep and bring about a feeling of contentment, as opposed to a sense of emptiness, hopelessness, longing, and constant dissatisfaction encouraged by our materialistic society, which tells us, we can never, ever have enough. You can say your “thankyous” silently to yourself as you go throughout your day. Make sure you really feel a sense of gratitude.

Stay In The Moment

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, but you don’t need to subscribe to any religious or philosophical belief system in order to practice it and gain the benefits. Mindfulness is the art of staying in the present moment, without worrying about the future or obsessing over the past.

Some aids to helping you stay centered in the present moment include focusing on your breath, the experience and sensation of breathing gently in and out or using the five senses to keep you rooted in your present moment experience.

Final Thoughts

All of these tools can be incorporated into your busy day, whenever you have a moment or even as you go about your daily tasks. Take a 30-second break from your desk and do some stretches; remember at any time to breathe and to stay mindfully focused on the task at hand. Learn to feel grateful for all the riches in your life and you will become calmer and more relaxed.

When you are stuck in a situation you cannot change, try the muscle relaxing technique. With a little dedication, you will have created a self-care routine that doesn’t take time away from all your responsibilities, and you will feel so much happier for making the effort.

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How I Found “Me” Time

I, like most women, am pre-programmed to take care of everybody else before me. It’s hard in this day and age when we seem to be doing it all. We’re daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, professionals, and we feel the pressure every single day.

But we all know how we can be after a couple of nights (or months) of not getting adequate sleep, or how frustrated we get when we don’t get even 15 minutes a day to ourselves.

Taking time off to do something you enjoy as a means of taking the edge off and releasing the pent-up pressure of your daily responsibilities isn’t a luxury – it’s a must!

Studies show that when you don’t prioritize yourself and your needs for, at least, a few minutes each day, you become resentful of those taking up your time and space. Then you start taking it out on them by lashing out, being frustrated all the time as opposed to your usual calm and sweet self.

Taking a breather gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge so you come back with a better ability to carry out your commitments with more clarity and a sense of enjoyment. Learning to be “in the moment” is crucial to your own personal sense of happiness.

This is what those who practice meditation refer to as “practicing mindfulness.” It gives you the power to control your emotions and lower your stress levels. When stress levels are low, your perspective on things tends to be more balanced, and positive, you’re not angry as much, you’re more organized, in control and energetic.

“We’re a multitasking society. If we’re having a conversation with a friend, we’re thinking about the other things we have to get done,” says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “Instead, you need to be present in the moment…”

Often people ask me how I do so much. My response is I have learned to be in the moment. Whoever I am with, whatever I am doing, I concentrate on that and only that. No additional phone calls, no extracurricular activity, nothing. Just that encounter. It keeps things in perspective and creates clarity and strategic moves.

Here are a few tips to remind you how important it is to carve out some time for yourself.

You deserve it.

In order to lower stress levels, women need to stop feeling guilty about leaving the dishes unwashed, leaving the kids to play on their own for a few minutes, or leaving their work at work. So the first step is to consciously make the decision to free up some minutes during the day for you – everything (and everyone) else can wait.

“You have to build in battery recharge time,” says Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. “We’re very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it like any project…”

Decide how you’d like to spend these precious minutes.

Some women exercise, others read a book; some do yoga, while there are those who just want a cup of coffee and some quiet. Whatever provides you with relaxation and a chance to free your thoughts and release some of the pressure, then that’s what you should do.

Remember, though, that you should treat this time as you would any other appointment and don’t get bullied by your sense of guilt into doing housework or running errands during your special time.

It takes practice, but you’ll quickly discover that you become a much calmer version of you when you make time for yourself, and who doesn’t want that!

Practice smart time management skills.

Whether it’s scanning emails, surfing the net or answering personal calls during your workday, then it’s time to put a stop to anything that wastes time and leads to nothing. Learning to organize your responsibilities should be your top priority, this will eliminate stress and free up time, which you can use for something more enjoyable.

You can even sit down during the weekend to organize your time, and write down everything that should be accomplished for that week. Sometimes, this means that there may be times when you have to say “no” to some obligation or other that you don’t want to participate in that doesn’t bring satisfaction or joy into your life.

On the plus side, if you’re facing a problem at work or at home, sometimes the best way to find an answer is to stop thinking about it altogether.

Channel your energy into doing something creative. Being creative could be what you need to grease those brainstorming wheels and regain your focus. It could also be the exact thing you need for better sleep.

Find the time.

Well, unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day – you won’t ever be able to change that. However, what you can do is free up some time here and there to your own personal gain. Juggling your work or study schedule, traffic and everything in between can be freakishly difficult to handle.

However, all you need are some smart organizational skills, and you can be the one in control of your time and not the other way around.

  • If you drive, use this time to listen to music or the radio. You can even enjoy the quiet and your own thoughts.
  • If you can ditch your car and use public transportation, then you can use that time to do something you enjoy, like read a book or writing or even meditation.
  • If you can walk, all the better. This way, you’re doing some exercising; you can listen to music or an audiobook.
  • If you have an appointment, try to get there 15 minutes, or even more, early so you can have those minutes to yourself.
  • If you can, have lunch by yourself at least once a week. Go to the park to get a break from all noise pollution, or if you can’t, stay in your car or a quiet cafe or restaurant where you won’t find any distractions. Many associate being alone with loneliness, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being by yourself allows you to enjoy your own company. You get back in touch with your interests, likes and dislikes so you know exactly what makes you happy, and a stronger version of yourself.

“Solitary time can help you have a better understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions,” says Katherine L. Muller, PsyD, associate director at Center for Integrative Psychotherapy.

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Setting Boundaries

Healthy relationships at home and work are a priority for a healthy, well-balanced individual. One of the best ways to have a healthy relationship is by setting up boundaries. Personal boundaries are the emotional, mental, and physical limits we set up to protect ourselves, as well as assert our individualism while realizing the same in others.

Having a strong sense of self helps you identify with who you are and your likes and dislikes. Otherwise, you’ll just derive your sense of worth from others’ opinion of you. Those who haven’t set up strong personal boundaries suffer from fear of rejection, of being not good enough. And they usually attract those who disrespect and take advantage of them.

If you can’t seem to say ‘no’ to others, feel constantly overwhelmed and get sick more than you’d like to remember, chances are you’re not setting up boundaries very well.

Learning to trust your instincts and respecting your strengths, abilities, and individuality takes practice. It also takes strength to stand up for what you want. But it’s a crucial part of enjoying a positive self-image. When you learn to stand up for yourself, you feel a strong sense of empowerment and confidence.

For women especially, it’s particularly hard to set boundaries. People tend to lean towards pleasing others because we want others’ approval. But for women, it’s tenfold that sometimes so much, so that it turns into a major dilemma.

Women are famous for making lists, and their needs are usually pushed further and further down the list to make room for what others want, thinking that if she puts herself first, she’ll be seen as selfish and an unfit mom. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

When the main caregiver of the household has energy, clarity of thought and is in good mental and physical health, then everyone will be happier and better cared for.

Being assertive requires patience and persistence. When you assert your personal boundaries, you’re sending a clear signal that you respect your space and expect others to do the same. And the best way to do that is to create your very own self-care plan as a way of enhancing your health, managing stress levels and boost your self-esteem. In the medical world, self-care is defined as the actions that one would carry out for optimal health.

There are roughly 3 main self-care categories:

  • Physical: the basic day-to-day activities of everyday living. Physical exercising and good sleep is also part of this category.
  • Emotional: managing stress, being able to unplug from the pressures of work and home, finding time to be alone for relaxation and recharging.
  • Spiritual: practicing mindfulness, volunteering, connecting with nature

When you take care of yourself, you refocus so you work smarter, not just harder without having anything to show for it. It also helps prevent you from burning out and diminishes the negative side-effects of stress.

Here are some ways to practice self-care while fearlessly drawing up your personal space:

  1. Make self-care a priority. Putting yourself first allows you to enjoy a more positive outlook on life, as well as more energy to get things done throughout the day for you and those around you. “When we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, coworker, or friend,” says psychologist and coach, Dana Gionta, Ph.D.
  2. Be direct. If you’ve scheduled an hour for yourself to read, knit or do nothing, then stick to it no matter what. If something comes up, make it wait until your time is up. Same goes with people. That’s why it’s important to clearly name and state what the limits are of your personal boundary.
  3. Keep a journal. Just writing down bullet points is cathartic. It’s a good way to deal with anxiety and stress.
  4. Practice self-awareness by acknowledging your feelings.
  5. Start small. Even as 3, 60-second breaks a day will do wonders for your health.
  6. Be patient. Self-care should be fun, enjoyable, and definitely relaxing, so if it turns into a chore, try something else.
  7. Send yourself reminders to take care of yourself on your smartphone. You can schedule texts to yourself even 2 years in advance. This way, you can never forget to take care of yourself no matter how hectic your life gets.
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Ladies: What’s Stopping You from Taking Care of Yourselves?

Women take care of everything and everyone usually falling asleep at night from sheer exhaustion. Shouldn’t that be enough? But it isn’t, because the most important person in that equation is being the one most marginalized.

Women are predisposed to be the caretakers of the family, no matter what role we’re playing; daughters, wives, mothers, friends. And it’s sucking the life out of us. Meanwhile, the men in our lives sometimes don’t get how much we sacrifice to make sure their lives are running smoothly

We have to take a step back and ask ourselves one fundamental question: “If we don’t start taking care of ourselves, who will?”

The answer is, no one!

Almost always, you’ll find women with too many commitments, being pulling in each and every way. These women know that they should start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. But they don’t’ know where to start.

And since they’re already overwhelmed with things to do and people to take care, they see taking care of themselves as just another “job”, so they just keep pushing it down the list.

But one of the things we don’t take into account when we neglect to take care of ourselves is that through this behavior, we’re setting the bar of how we want the people around us to treat us. You can’t expect them to put your needs first when you don’t do the same.

Here is how I started down the path to some much- needed self-care:

The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling guilty about taking time off for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done but it is necessary. I still struggle some days. However, I remind myself that it is essential for others as well because I cannot take care of them if I haven’t been taken care of.

The second thing you should do is to find the things that you like.

The third, and probably the most important, is to schedule in time for yourself just like you would any other appointment so you reduce the risk of forgetting or cancelling. This is an amazing tactic. It is intentional and it works.

The final step is putting the plan in motion. Writing all of this down on paper is great but if it’s not implemented it’s just words on paper. Don’t think of it as a selfish act, because when you’re happy and relaxed, you bring a sense of calm and contentment.

Here are a few things I have tried to do to take care of myself:

  • Take time to do something for you and only you – even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day.
  • Meet up with friends and family, or talk on the phone at least once a week.
  • Read something that inspires you – it can be a book or even a short quote.
  • Don’t be passive. Learn how to be the one in control of your life, not just react to things as they happen. This is a reflection of how emotionally stable you are.
  • Stop prioritizing others’ opinions over yours. Don’t allow anyone else’s expectations to dictate who you are and what your likes/dislikes are.
  • Make sure you look and dress in a way that boosts your confidence. You’d be surprised how this can improve your outlook. I know I was.
  • Have goals and work towards them. From the small, daily goals to the big, life-changing ones, having something to strive towards helps keep things in perspective.
  • Ask for help. This is still the most difficult for me because like many women I see myself as being able to do it all, with no outside help. But that’s not being realistic and it’s stressful. And you’ll quickly resent those you’re taking care of because the load is too heavy for you to carry on your own. No successful woman ever did everything by herself all the time – it’s just not possible. When you ask for help, it means you’re wise enough to know your limits and you love yourself and your family enough to know when it’s time to take a step back, reassess, rest then come back a happier, calmer version of yourself.
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Find Out If You Are Taking Care of You With These 12 Questions

At some point, you need to ask yourself the difficult questions in order to determine whether you are doing the right thing by you. I know I did. I didn’t like some of the anwers. 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 overextend 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.

Here is a quick self-care quiz you can take (https://www.cherylspeaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/selfcare_quiz.doc) which walk you through a simple evaluation of your self-care. You may also have signed up to receive the more in-depth assessment when you came to this website.

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 than 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.

Physical Self-Care

  • 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

Cognitive Self-Care

  • Journal
  • Mindful Meditation
  • Read for enjoyment
  • Take note of negative self-talk and redirect it to positivity

Emotional Self-Care

  • 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

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Garden
  • Watch the sunset (or the sunrise)
  • Listen to music that soothes your soul
  • Spend time in nature

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.

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10 Ways I Improved How I Cared for Myself

We all do it. We put our needs on a back burner to take care of work, family, or friends first. It’s in our DNA, but doing it repeatedly is suffocating and will slowly suck the life out of you. Take it from me I know. There were days when getting out of the bed was a chore. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I was totally drained and exhausted. Yet, life must go on. So, I dragged myself out of bed and carried on with life as usual.

But news flash: if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. It’s that simple.

1. Improve your sleep. Make a nightly routine to calm down all the noise from the day, and the adrenaline pumping in your veins. Don’t eat heavy meals at least 2 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights and turn off the TV. Getting good sleep will give your body and mind a break from the day’s hectic routine. It’ll also give you a chance to rejuvenate and get ready for the next day. This strengthens your concentration and memory skills. It also increases your energy levels so you don’t feel wiped out by lunchtime.

2. Meditate. Relaxing, in general, improves your outlook on life. You stop making mountains out of molehills and your ability to think logically improves dramatically. It also brings in a sense of optimism into your life. Just by closing your eyes for 2 minutes while focusing on your breathing will do wonders for your physical and mental states. You can also do yoga or tai chi, which are also considered specific types of meditation, especially if you do it outside where you can be one with nature.

3. Talk to family and friends. Research shows that when connecting with others, especially those close to us, our brain releases “happy” hormones, which lower stress and blood pressure levels. It also gives us a sense of bliss and peace, even if it’s just talking on the phone for a couple of minutes.

Having that sense of belonging is crucial to a healthy, well-balanced existence. Volunteer work is also great and helps you connect with people. Also, joining a club with your interests or taking a class will offer you similar results, and you’ll meet new people while learning something new, so it’s a win-win!

4. Read. Pick up a magazine, follow a blog, or sit down for 10 minutes each day to enjoy a good book.

Reading allows our minds to do 2 things:

  • Free itself from daily, tiring thoughts that clutter and exhaust us
  • Spark up your imagination

Both of these things are crucial for healthy living.

5. Keep a journal. Journaling has been my a part of my life for as long as I remember. Many of the books I have written come from my journals. I believe it’s important to set aside at least 5 minutes each day to write down the day’s events and your feelings towards them. If it was a bad day, then writing it down on paper will relieve you of the burden of carrying around all that negative energy and lower your stress levels. If it was a good day, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when seeing the day’s events on paper. Either way, it’s a therapeutic way to get in touch with your inner self. You can also write down your goals to help you stay focused on what you really want out of life.

6. Explore. Schedule it in your calendar so that once a month, or every weekend if you can manage it, you can learn something new about a topic you’ve been thinking about, or learn a new language. The point is there’s a wide world around you, filled with exciting and new things you haven’t seen or tried before. It’ll put things into perspective and give you a chance to see where you fit in. You can think of it as some much-needed “me” time because you get to do something you enjoy.

7. Speak up. Successful and well-balanced people know that if you don’t speak up and say what you want and what you don’t want, you’ll get trampled on. I was one who apparently believed everyone, especially my husband was supposed to read my mind or know what I wanted by osmosis. But that’s not effective or true.

We’re often so afraid of not fitting in or upsetting our loved ones that we don’t speak our thoughts and feelings. However, keeping quiet will make you resent those around you first, and then you’ll slowly start to resent yourself.

We usually associate speaking up with being rude or selfish, but when done right, saying how you feel is actually very healthy and therapeutic. Moreover, people on the receiving end will appreciate it because it lets them know where they stand. It also shows your confidence and stability. And who doesn’t want that in their lives?

8. Eat and drink right. So if I’m honest this is a back and forth for me. And the best balance is moderation. Maintaining a balanced diet where the amount of food you eat equals the amount of energy you burn is necessary to live a long, healthy life. Taking care of your own self requires hard work and discipline, but it quickly becomes a lifestyle when you do it right and make conscious decisions about what types of food and drink you want to go into your body.

9. Maintain high self-esteem. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, nothing can be more important than how you think and feel about yourself. It helps bring inner stability while reducing attempts of self-sabotage, which we’re all guilty of. Enjoying high self-esteem will make you happy in all of your relationships because you’re confident in your own skin, and you know exactly what your likes and dislikes are. Stopping your inner critic takes time and practice, but by using motivational statements, you’ll be able to have a more positive outlook. Appreciate everything that makes you YOU and learn how to stop the myth of perfectionism. Instead, focus on your strengths and all you’ve accomplished in your life – even the small things because they’re part of what makes you special.

10. Surround yourself with supportive people. You cannot take counterfeit people to the real places you are meant to go. Sometimes, it’s easier to blend in with the crowd and go-with-the-flow. However, that isn’t always good for our mental and physical health. We need to have people who know and love us for who we are, without judgment or negativity.

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4 Self Care Rituals I Practice Every Day

As women, we lead very busy lives. Juggling work and family leaves us with little time for ourselves. Traditionally we have been taught to put others before ourselves. However, if we are to care for others it is absolutely imperative that we care for ourselves first.

We must maintain our own health and well-being if we are to care adequately for those around us, not to mention maintain responsible positions at work. Here are four simple, self-care rituals that I have managed to work into my day, without having to take too much time away from my never-ending “To do” list.

Stretch In The Morning

A few minutes of gentle stretching when you get up in the morning can help increase your blood circulation, improve flexibility, and reduce pain in your muscles and joints. When done on a daily basis you may be surprised by the results.

Try stretching your muscles to incorporate their full range of motion: Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, wrist and ankle circles, and forward/back movements, and so on. After a few weeks of daily routine, you will notice you are much more limber and can get dressed, tie your laces, reach, etc. with way more ease.

Meditate Morning And Night

Another easily incorporated daily ritual that I use to improve my sense of well-being is meditation. Meditation is known to help improve mood, deepen sleep, and develop a sense of inner peace and calm. It can reduce stress levels, decrease cortisol, and contribute to an increase in immunity and relaxation.

It can reduce high blood pressure and even aid concentration. I choose to meditate on positively affirming scriptures while listening to praise and worship music. But you can use whatever works for you.

With so many benefits for just a few minutes a day of your time, this is one self-care ritual you don’t want to miss out on. Try just 2 to 3 minutes per session at first and build up gradually over time.

Drink Eight Glasses Of Water Per Day

The jury is out on exactly how many glasses of water you should drink in a day, but if you aim for eight, you will avoid dehydration and keep your skin soft, smooth, and supple. My personal best is a gallon a day, but that’s when I am in full exercise mode. Drinking water can help you stave off hunger pangs; in fact, feeling hungry is a sign that you are in fact, dehydrated.

Next time your tummy tells you to eat, drink a glass of water first, and see how you feel. Chances are you won’t need to reach for the cookie jar! Staying hydrated keeps your kidneys working optimally and aids in healthy digestion and excretion of wastes.

Smile

I have often been accused of being “too” happy whatever that means. But the truth is, a smile doesn’t cost you anything and can change your entire outlook. Even if you don’t feel like it, science has discovered that if you turn up the corners of your mouth, into a smile shape, you actually start to feel happier! Smiling releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happier. The brain doesn’t know how to differentiate between a fake smile and a real one; it reads the positioning of the facial muscles and acts accordingly. How cool is that? Practice smiling at others and notice the responses you get. A simple smile can help you feel better, and make others feel better too. Everybody wins!

Final Thoughts

Even though you are a busy woman with many responsibilities, you simply have to learn to put yourself at the very top of your list of priorities. After all, if you don’t look after yourself, how will you be able to do all that you do?

By incorporating these few easy self-care rituals into your daily routine, you will feel a lot better and able to continue caring, working and living your life to the full.