A positive lifestyle includes practices that nurture and love the self, no expensive appointments required.
Walking a positive path through my days means taking time for what’s known as “self-care.”
Too often, though, tips for self-care practices involve two things that are tough to access on a daily basis—time and money. Going for a pampering spa treatment is terrific, as is visiting a favorite cafe or treating yourself to something new at the mall.
But true self-care isn’t about buying anything or going anywhere. In fact, some of the most renewing practices can be done wherever you find yourself on a given day.
1. Say “Yes” to Saying “No”
Sometimes self-care is about what you’re not doing. In our busy world, saying, “no” to commitments and activities that deplete our energy can feel challenging. Cheryl Richardson, author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care, advises making an “absolute no” list that includes “activities you no longer do, no longer want to do or would like to give up at some point in the future.”
Releasing yourself from volunteering for a new committee or making social dates on weeknights frees you to focus more on those activities that contribute to your well-being.
2. Identify, then Meet, Your Biggest Needs
When I feel stressed, I often lose the ability to articulate what exactly my body, mind or spirit need to feel cared for and uplifted. Taking a few minutes to articulate my biggest needs can help me be more focused in the self-care strategy I use.
If I am fatigued, I can make a plan to get into bed early. If I am anxious about an upcoming work deadline or social event, I can talk to a trusted friend or colleague to sort out my concerns. Or if I am overwrought, I can set an alarm on my phone to remind me to spend 5 short minutes taking calm, deep, renewing breaths. Making self-care specific to your current needs makes it more effective at lowering your overall stress level.
3. Self-Care Through Self-Talk
One of the easiest ways to practice self-care is to speak soothing, nurturing words to yourself. I like to do a breath practice where on each inhale, I think to myself, “I am….” On each exhale, I think of a word that evokes a positive feeling, like “here,” “loved,” “safe,” “calm” or “enough.” The more you get used to populating your inner vocabulary with soothing, loving words, the calmer and more cared for you’ll feel.
What are the self-care strategies that help you keep your day positive?