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We live in a fast-paced world where we are pulled in too many directions, stretch ourselves too thin, and are asked to be available to too many people. All this can leave little room for “being” or for just enjoying life. It can be challenging to find time to take care of ourselves among the stress, but it’s a vital part of our development and happiness.
Here are 5 tips to create a sustainable self-care system:
1. Know that taking care of yourself is not selfish.
Taking time for self-care and prioritizing our needs can sometimes make us feel guilty. But self-care allows us to better handle life and the challenges that come our way and to be a better version of ourselves for those around us. Someone who is under stress and not taking care of themselves is often easily triggered by the smallest inconvenience or disagreement, and they can become unraveled very quickly. Being well rested puts us in a better mood and allows us to accomplish more in the day. Exercise can help our brains work through hurdles we are up against.
Especially in times of great challenge and stress, make sure to carve out time for self-care. Schedule time for breaks and rests throughout the day. Not everything has to be urgent and immediate. Not every text or email has to be answered right away.
2. Get in touch with yourself to understand your needs.
Self-care begins with knowing who you are and having an awareness of your thoughts. If you don’t know what you truly want and need, no amount of self-care is going to make you feel better.
Getting in touch with yourself takes time, effort, and curiosity to discover. Make sure to check in with yourself regularly. Have conversations with yourself about what you are thinking and why you are having those thoughts. Journaling is a great way to give honest feedback to yourself, gain deeper understanding of your thoughts, and discover where you want to grow.
3. Evaluate if your self-care regime is making you happier. If not, develop it further.
People often take vacations or a day off, which should be restful, but don’t feel revitalized or energized when they return. At the deepest level, if your self-care routine is not bringing you happiness, it’s time to reevaluate.
Ask yourself, “Is my self-care regime making me more able to handle stress, difficulties, and arguments?” If yes, then keep going! If no, return to your priorities and recalibrate your actions. Try making a pie chart of the areas you currently devote time to, including self-care. How much time do you spend on the areas that are important versus what aren’t? What ways can you adjust your time management to better serve your needs?
4. Understand you don’t have to control everything. Do your best and trust the Creator to do the rest.
Often the reason we do things that aren’t in our best interest or helping us grow is because we have a false belief that we have to take care of everything in our lives. We have to make sure the kids are thriving, that our work is going perfectly, that our home is taken care of, and so on. Along with that need to control everything often comes the fear of what happens if we don’t. How will the kids turn out? What will happen to my job? What if the house falls apart?
In reality, we have very little control of our lives, and that’s a good thing! The Creator takes care of so many areas of our lives that we often take for granted. Think about your physical health, for instance. Of course, we have to eat healthily, get rest, and exercise, but our hearts beat, and our lungs breathe without us having to think about it. So much of life is taken care of for us.
Give yourself the release to do the best you can, but know that it’s not your responsibility to do it all. Trust the Creator. Accept that you can’t control everything and that it’s not your responsibility to. As long as you do your best, the Light of the Creator will assist the rest.
5. Devote time for your spiritual practice.
The ultimate form of self-care is a spiritual practice. This may take the form of spiritual study, prayer, or meditation. Whatever way you find a spiritual connection, make time for it consistently.
Practice having gratitude and connecting to a higher power. What gave you a sense of awe today?
There are few things as important to maintaining a healthy immune system, living a less stressful life, and finding joy every day than self-care. Get to know yourself on the deepest levels, evaluate your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and make the time for yourself. If you’re doing it right, you will find yourself happier, more fulfilled, and better equipped to take on any challenge that comes your way.
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