These days, we can find all kinds of great advice when to comes to self care. In a world that’s not always so easy to navigate, where good health is often a rare gift, and where pain, symptoms and ill health are so often a given, tips for self care may be more important than ever. We thought it would be a good idea to talk about self care from a slightly different angle.
So here are our 6 tips for self care that don’t always show up on most self care lists, but certainly deserve an honored place:
1 – Cherish Your Friends
A few good friends can make all the difference in how you experience the inevitable ups and downs of life. Having a circle of support is paramount to moving through life feeling like you have a home. It’s not just about where you hang your hat, but who you share your heart with.Nurturing your friendships is such a soulful experience that gives life meaning and makes the world a happier place. Are you giving your friends the attention they deserve? Are they giving you the time that you need? There’s oftentimes no greater time in this world than the time spent with heartfelt friends.
2 – Stop Arguing With Reality
If you’ve never heard of The Work by Byron Katie, now might be a good time to look it up. There are so many “shoulds” in life, and so many “supposed-to’s” and yet, more often than any of us care to admit, we get ourselves tied in knots by protesting how things are. Whether it wasn’t supposed to rain, or he was supposed to open car do for you, or your mother in law should really clean up her eating – the truth is – none of these things are about what’s most real and meaningful. We get stuck on the little things and we resist “what is.”
So why do we make ourselves miserable trying to change the exterior part of our everyday world? Maybe it’s time to take a step back and ask where these thoughts are coming from. The source of our misery is often ourselves and our inability to look in the mirror with some honesty. If you want to make a change, start with seeing things how they truly are. Having compassion and making prudent and authentic choices frees us from having to judge everyone else’s life and begin living our own with awareness and maturity.
3 – Be of Service
Sometimes, when it feels like nothing is going right in your world, it can help tremendously to commit to an act of kindness, or simply reach out to support others. Choosing to do small (or large) acts of service can bring meaning to your life and uplift your spirit. Sometimes, the best way to engage in self-care is to commit to the care of another. It can sound like such a brain bender, as if it is counter to self care – and yet, as so many of us were taught as children, giving really is receiving. It’s easy these days to get too wrapped up in taking care of ourselves perfectly, trying to eat the perfect diet, exercise the right way all the time, and to simply become over-focused on self. Be of service more, and notice the happiness increase in your own life, your health, your mood, and even your metabolism.
4- Learn to say Yes and No more often
Are you good at setting limits for yourself? Are you the kind of person who volunteers for all the committees at work, your local pet shelter, or your kid’s school? Do you spend your time being the crisis support for all your friends and family? If so, perhaps you’re aware of how draining it can be to be the source of help for all people. Learning to say “no”, when necessary (or just when you want to) is a powerful tool to keep your life in balance. Being the go-to person on everything for everybody is purely exhausting and often doesn’t allow us to put our focus and attention on things that make our heart sing, while feeling free and empowered and in love with life. Perhaps you can take stock and discover whether there’s a few things you could stand to say no to.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s been really long time since you’ve said, “Yes!” Yes to your kids, your sister, your best friend, a fellow parent, or co worker. Or perhaps we need to say “yes” to more fun, more frivolous moments, more laughter, more touch, more exploration, more life.
So, do you need to say no, or yes, more often? And how might these magic words change your life in a good way?
5- Find Your Passion
What makes you excited about getting up every morning? Is it your family, your work, gardening, music, Africa, animal rights, dancing, reading, loving, creating, exploring? Or maybe you haven’t found your passion yet, or perhaps you don’t allow yourself to make time to refuel your creative heart. Finding a passion that makes your spirit shine and allows you the space to feel purposeful to others or to your tomato plants and sunflowers is powerful self-care medicine. Make time for passion and pleasure in your life. It ignites the soul and fuels the body like nothing else.
6- Love More
Love might still be the most underrated activity a human can do. There’s so much love needed in this world, so many opportunities, so many humans starving for it, and it’s often the little ways that we love that can make such a big difference. Love yourself, love thy neighbor, love your kids, love your partner, and send some random love towards people who cross your path each day that you don’t even know and might never see again. Send someone a love letter. Smile at them. Smile at yourself when you walk by a window and see your reflection. Love the sun and the sky. Love anything and anyone that looks like they can use a little love. Consider this a simple experiment in self care and note the results like a curious scientist.
Well, this is our brief list of tips for self care. What would you like to add to it that might be a little unexpected and out of the box? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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