If you don’t put yourself first, who will?
I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care lately. And I’ve realized I don’t do enough of it. It’s not that I overwork myself or don’t take the time to relax. I just haven’t been finding ways to show myself some love.
Self-care is one of those concepts that sounds so hippy-dippy. Like what is meditating for half an hour going to get me? But I think the point is we all need to take a break from the pressures of daily life and allow ourselves to just be. Not strive to be better or aim for more. Just enjoy the moment and be happy with who we are and what we have.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. We all want more, and we want more all the time. Whether it’s more money, a better career, a thinner body, there are always things that feel just out of reach but occupy our thoughts all the time.
What I’m finding in my own life is that while striving for my goals is great, if I’m not happy with myself in the present moment, I’m never going to achieve those goals. When we’re unhappy, we turn to self-sabotaging behaviors and often wind up 10 steps behind where we started.
We need to make self-care a priority in order to find happiness and peace. Here are three ways to do it:
1. Set aside time
If self-care is important to you, you need to find a way to fit it into your daily life. I know we’re often rushing to get more done in less time, and there are never enough hours in the day. But we need to find time to step back and allow ourselves to breathe.
Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, a little bit can go a long way. Maybe you can wake up 10 minutes earlier or cut out your nightly Netflix binge. Where can you squeeze some time to devote to yourself?
2. Don’t put pressure on yourself
Self-care shouldn’t be something you need to force yourself to do. You don’t want it to feel like a chore or another goal you need to attain. This is your time to gain some perspective and take a break from the pressure, not add more.
If your plan is to meditate for 10 minutes every morning, but you skip one morning, don’t panic. You need to just listen to your body and see what you need. Maybe that morning you really needed those extra 10 minutes of sleep. That’s a form of self-care too.
3. Focus on what you enjoy
If you absolutely hate meditating, then don’t do it. It doesn’t matter how many people tout its benefits and claim it has had magical effects on their lives. If it doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to force yourself to do it.
Find an activity that is fun for you. Something you enjoy doing every day and feel relaxed when you’re doing it. For me, reading has always been an activity that I engage in for self-care. It’s not something I have to think about or make myself to do. When I feel in the mood to read, I do it.
And reading is the perfect form of escape for my mind. For 20 minutes or so, I can get sucked into a completely different world outside of my own. I’m not thinking about my to-do list or plans for the week. Just reading. And for that time, my mind is at peace.
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