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4 Important Life Skills to Have a Better Relationship with Yourself

Relationships are hard, and finding information about how to have a better relationship with a significant other, friend, or family member is easy. However, no one is talking about the most important relationship there is. Your relationship with yourself.

Your relationship with yourself should be number one priority above a relationship with anyone else. After all, those other folks may come and go, but you are only stuck with one person forever: yourself.

Of course, having a good self-relationship is also healthy for you! It reduces stress and anxiety, provides more quality of life, and tends to have a positive impact on relationships with others in your life. So, in order to help you build a better relationship with yourself, we have outlined four skills to creating a positive self-relationship.

Take Care of Yourself

This one might seem like a no brainer, and yet it still seems to be the step that gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Taking care of yourself is crucial to your health and ultimately to your happiness.

This step includes eating healthy, satisfying meals. Getting enough sleep at night. Making the appropriate time to exercise and allowing yourself to participate in activities that help to reduce your stress.

Further, taking care of your mental health is necessary for not only your well-being, but the well-being of the people who are in your daily life. Mental health is still a bit of a taboo subject, but it is okay to seek help in this area if you feel you need you.

Take Time to Reflect

Reflecting on your day-to-day life can create a lot of joy and peace in your world. There are a lot of ways that you can accomplish reflection, but I think making the time to do this is crucial. After all, in any other relationship, the cornerstone for building that relationship is to make time for the other person. Make time to be with yourself.

Meditation has become a popular practice for self-reflection in this day and age. Less dedicated, but equally beneficial is the practice of mindfulness which is a guided thinking/breathing practice that imitates meditation in some ways. Journaling, blogging, and video blogging are all also popular ways of reflecting.

But if none of these ideas strike a chord with you, simply getting some quiet time in the morning with a cup of coffee can be an excellent choice for quiet, reflection time.

Splurge on Yourself

Think about the last time you were in a relationship. Splurging on your friends, significant other, or even on your family can be a way to show your love and appreciation for that other person. With that in mind, spending a little extra cash on something special for yourself is an excellent way to show yourself some extra love.

This does not have to be an elaborate purchase either. Do you love bath bombs, but have run out because it is three months after Christmas? Go buy one. Want to try a new type of Starbucks coffee? Run through the drive through! Seriously, go splurge on yourself right now, and do not even think about feeling guilty as you do it.

Do Something Fun for Yourself

Lastly, do something a little fun for yourself every now and then. We all have guilty pleasures that we enjoy doing by ourselves. Make time for those and do not let anyone keep you from enjoying them.

We all deserve a little “me” time. Making time for yourself, and building a better relationship with yourself will only improve your quality of life on all fronts.

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4 Lifeskills that Help You Take Great Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is hard. Taking care of yourself is even harder when you have other obligations like a full-time job, or children, or both! Yet, taking care of yourself is necessary.

Learning to take care of yourself is easy through developing four life-skills that significantly improve your quality of life. People who take care of themselves well tend to be less stressed, have better relationships, and achieve greater success. Read on to learn about the four life skills that can change your life for the better!

Maintaining a neat and Organized Home

Clutter and disorganization are the number one killers of productivity within a house. If you have a disorganized, messy, or cluttered home then gaining control of that mess should be your number one priority. Keeping a neat and organized home does not come naturally for many people, so it truly is a life skill that many people will have to work to master.

The truth of the matter is that living in chaos is not good for your mental health. If keeping your home neat and organized is something you struggle with, then it may be worth your time and money to hire a professional organizer to get the mess under control!

Coming home to a neat and organized home is essential to maintaining a healthy mindset in your living space. It is even more important if you spend any time at all working from home because clutter kills your productivity!

Actively Engaging in Self-Care

Self-care comes in a myriad of different packages. Put simply, engaging in self-care means giving yourself permission to do whatever it is that you need. Whether you need to work out, see a doctor, indulge in a hobby, or go on a date! Self-care looks different for each and every one of us, but it is also important for each and every one of us.

I will use mothers as an example. Mothers tend to put off spending money on themselves making sure, first, that all of the children’s’ wants and needs are covered before her own. However, parents have needs too. If you need a haircut, schedule a guilt free shampoo, cut, and style. If you need a new pair of jeans, then drop the kids with grandma and go on a shopping spree.

Giving yourself permission to take care of yourself is a crucial life skill that has to be mastered. Doing so without guilt is an even harder life skill that also has to be mastered. Putting yourself first does not mean you are not a good person. In fact, it means you are working to be the best person that you can be.

Building Quality Friendships

Friendships are important. Quality friendships are hard to find, and I have found that the further into life I get the harder friendships are to come by. Building quality friendships may not be easy, but the reward is absolutely worth it.

Having friends to share life with enriches your quality of life in a way that you cannot achieve alone. Friends are a form of self-care that you obviously cannot get from yourself. Social health can determine your mental, emotional and physical health.

Building these friendships is a life-skill and it may take some work if it does not come naturally to you.

Creating and Working Toward Realistic Goals

Setting small goals is a great way to boost your desire to keep working toward larger goals.
Through reaching small goals, we are encouraged to keep working toward our larger goals, that small bit of success pushes us to keep working. Some of us may have a tendency to set large goals to start with, but if you can learn to break those goals into smaller pieces, then you will allow yourself a larger reward in the end.

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5 Ways to Nurture Your Emotional Health During These Trying Times

Taking care of your emotional self is vital to your overall wellness and health. When doctors talk about taking care of their health, they usually are just referring to your body, but looking after your emotional well-being is just as important as watching your diet and avoiding things like smoking. If you want to learn to nurture your emotional health, we have some suggestions for you.

But first, what do we really mean by emotional health? It includes how you think, what you feel, and how you behave. Emotional health is being able to recognize your own emotions and process them productively. It is also being empathetic towards others because you realize how emotions are affecting them, as well.

Tip #1. Get a Handle on Your Stress

Stress releases harmful hormones and neurotransmitters that affect your physical as well as mental health. Stress quickly wears down your strength and resolve, making it more likely that you will make unhealthy choices and making it more difficult for you to manage your emotions. Eliminating unnecessary stress in your life is an excellent first step, and then you need to find ways to relax and reduce the stress that remains in your life.

Tip #2. Make More Social Connections

Having a full social circle and making time to connect with people in your life are both critical for lasting emotional health. Friends and partners provide you with support and comfort, they teach you new perspectives, and they enrich your life in innumerable ways. A support system helps you be more resilient in the face of crisis or adversity, which protects your emotional health over time.

Tip #3. Strive for Balance

Finding balance in your life between work, play, and self-care is crucial for your emotional well-being. When any one of these aspects takes priority over the others, you will start to feel stressed out, aimless, or disconnected from your own needs. Be intentional about creating time for each of these things proportionally in your life to maintain balance and protect your wellness.

Tip #4. Protect Your Body’s Health, Too

While physical and emotional wellness are different things, each still has a profound impact on the other. When you take care of your body, you protect your mental well-being, as well. A healthy body is better able to combat the forces of stress. Eating a healthy diet provides you with the nutrients you need to fuel your brain. Good health keeps hormones regulated, which allows you to monitor your emotions. The unhealthier your lifestyle, the more likely you will be to suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that significantly impact your emotional health.

#5. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you are struggling to gain control over your emotions, if you have suffered trauma, or if you just need some tools to understand and regulate some feelings, asking for help is a great step toward health. Whether you get assistance from a friend, a loved one, or a professional counselor, your emotional health can benefit from support just like your body needs regular check-ups with your doctor. Asking for help shows you value your emotional well-being and care about how to protect it.

Final Thoughts

Your emotional health influences everything about your daily life. You do yourself a disservice to ignore its importance to your overall health and taking care of your emotional wellness does not have to be complicated or cumbersome. Some daily habits and a little time for yourself can help you learn to manage your emotional health and give it the attention it deserves.

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5 Techniques for Inner Peace in Trying Times

Would you like to achieve inner peace? Are you exhausted by the guilt, pain, and resentment you have carried through life? Are you tired of responding impulsively, negatively or overreacting? If everyone was being honest, they would admit that negative moods influence them sometimes.

It doesn’t matter how sincere you are, these old habits die hard. They aren’t harmless bad habits; they are stealing your joy. It all throws us off-center and ultimately, it makes you unable to effectively cope with life.

You cannot find inner peace and tranquility when you don’t feel great. That means you need to look after every aspect of yourself, spirituality, physically, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually. Look after yourself and your body will respond in kind.

1. Meditate

Meditation is not new and it’s power cannot be underestimated. In fact, there are several Biblical references that suggest meditation be a part of your every day life. My suggestion is that you create a daily schedule that dedicates 10 to 15 minutes to meditation. I personally find it comforting to choose a scripture that speaks to my Spirit. During my meditation time, I repeat this scripture over and over allowing it to permeate my being while seeking revelation.

I also recommend learning to focus on your breathing as you meditate. When you focus on your breath, it allows you to push everything else out of your mind. With every inhale/exhale, push negativity from your mind and embrace the inner peace and tranquility. Meditation is a great solution when you’re feeling stressed out. It’s something that you can do anywhere and everywhere, but make sure you dedicate that time to meditate quietly at home.

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not the same as meditation, though it’s possible to practice mindful meditation. When you’re mindful, you’re fully present. You become completely aware of your sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight.

You can practice mindfulness when you eat, when you listen to music, when you take a hike. It’s simply about engaging all of your senses to push everything else out of your mind. There is less time to worry when you’re focusing on the reality, you’re living in instead of thinking about what-ifs.

3. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is an activity that promotes inner peace and tranquility, similarly to meditation and mindfulness. There are a wide variety of deep breathing exercises that you can use. However, there is one I prefer when it comes to promoting inner peace and tranquility. I imagine my breath as colors. I assign a color to positivity and one to negativity.

As I inhale, I see myself drawing in blue air, it’s all positivity. When I exhale, I imagine a rush of black air being expelled from my lungs, it’s all negativity. I inhale positivity and I exhale negativity. This simply adds an extra layer of stress relief to the deep breathing practice. The purpose of deep breathing to promote inner peace is that your mind is drawn to the process of breathing and it’s life-enhancing properties.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, focus on your diaphragm and lungs as you do and hold it for a few beats before you expel it from your mouth. Repeat this five times.

4. Be True To Yourself

How can being true to yourself be an activity? When you are in harmony with yourself you will behave how you think and feel.

The problem comes in when you see yourself as one thing but are perceived as something else. You can use a notebook to keep track of incongruence. This is something you can correct if you develop self-awareness and try to act in line with your values.

5. Gratitude

If you want to promote inner peace and tranquility, then you need to focus on all of the positivity in your life. A gratitude journal is an excellent way to remind yourself of everything you love in life. Once you start writing out what you’re grateful for, you will find it easier to see more positives. It’s all about training yourself to be more aware of the positive things in life.

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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.