Your relationship with yourself sets the tone in other relationships in your life. When we take care of and prioritize ourselves, we will notice a positive impact on our entire world.
We must be our top priority, for many reasons, but most importantly, to continue to accomplish goals, maintain relationships, work, be happy and healthy, and have healthier relationships in other areas. When we are not caring for ourselves properly, we will slowly lose energy and motivation, then begin to slowly neglect other areas of our lives (being a poor friend/partner, ignoring our exercise routine, eating out, or poor sleep patterns, etc.) this inevitably will lead to burn out.
What causes this? Our lack of self-care routine, poor boundaries, not prioritizing ourselves, OR not showing up for ourselves. Self-care routines have grown in popularity, because of this, many individuals do not understand the importance or value of this routine. Some of these may seem unrealistic or do not offer benefits to you or your lifestyle, there are many different activities you may partake in, Each person's self-care routine may not look the same, it is important to discover what activities help you recharge + relax. Is it going for a peaceful nature walk? Getting creative- painting, listening to music, writing or reading poetry, etc? Maybe it involves meditation, praying, journaling or self-discovery. Trying a new workout, finding a new hobby, catching up on some lost sleep, or a lazy day. It is also important to acknowledge that each day may involve a different activity(activities, you can choose more than one) There are 6 self-care categories; physical, mental health, spiritual, personal/ improvement, work, and financial. When providing yourself some much-needed care- the ultimate self-care involves integrating all these categories when you can. Establishing 5-10 minutes on each category a day will help you create a healthier lifestyle (let's face it, eating healthy/drinking enough water, basic hygiene, etc are activities we should already practice daily). You can find examples of self-care in the 6 categories are below.
- Mindfulness and self-discovery
- Cleaning out your closet
- Listening to a podcast
- Planning your day
- Practicing gratitude
- Establishing a morning/evening ritual
- Practicing forgiveness
- Practicing compassion
- Random acts of kindness
- Stress management activities
Woo, on to the next- prioritizing ourselves and our needs! How many of us actually make ourselves and our basic needs our TOP priority? Let me ask you this if you are not prioritizing yourself, how long do you think you can help others, work, or care-take until you experience burnout? Which can lead to anxiety, depression, and many other health effects. In today's society, we often associate the term "selfish" with a negative connotation, but why is that? Being selfish (within reason) is completely necessary, who else is going to take care of you if you DON'T? I am sure some of you are thinking to yourself, how can I accomplish everything I need to AND add these activities into my life? How can I be a good mother/father, friend, daughter/son, boss, by putting myself first? Studies have found that individuals whose needs are met (prioritizing themself first or being selfish) are more empathetic, compassionate, helpful, productive, and successful in accomplishing their goals. When we prioritize and take care of ourselves FIRST, we are more capable to help others and offer them deserving empathy, without neglecting our needs. To truly accomplish prioritizing ourselves and establish a self-care routine we must: show up for ourselves + set boundaries.
Showing up for ourselves
“Showing up for yourself means that you
make choices that honor your needs as they arise”
What exactly does that mean or entail? First, it's the biggest form of self-care you can offer yourself. It involves honoring yourself, being your biggest supporter, loving yourself, understanding your choices, championing yourself when you accomplish your goals, and remaining present in all moments.
Step 1: Establish healthy habits + routines- this includes making choices that honor your needs
Step 2: Practice listening to yourself and your needs- this determines what self-care habits you should practice (take time for yourself daily)
Step 3: Offer yourself compassion + forgiveness- none of us are perfect, we must offer ourselves grace when we make a mistake, get off track, or need a break. Use the same compassion you may offer those who matter to you on yourself. Imagine what you may say to a friend if they were in the same situation as you, use the same conversation with yourself.
Step 4: Allow all emotions to exist- you must feel what you feel, even if they are negative or uncomfortable. Feelings that make us feel uncomfortable are not bad, those feelings can teach us more about our situation or what we want/need to change. Try not to label them good or bad, this helps with allowing yourself to feel them.
Step 5: Celebrate any and all wins + champion yourself when you accomplish goals. When we celebrate our wins, big or small, we are congratulating ourselves and create a reward system. We are most likely to keep accomplishing + setting goals with this system
"emotional boundaries are protective emotional limits that we use
to define how we regulate our acceptance of how others treat us"
Boundaries are essential for us to honor our needs and prioritize ourselves first. Poor boundaries lead to burnout due to self-neglect. Boundaries can be established with other people, yourself, work, and hobbies. To become aware of where you need to establish boundaries, you must self-reflect. Not everyone needs the same boundaries or the same level of boundaries (soft vs. hard). You are the only one who can determine where and what boundaries are necessary. Areas boundaries may need to be placed are; with ourselves (becoming self-disciplined), family, parents, significant other, friends, or work. Some types of boundaries are; emotional, physical, intellectual, time, relational, and material. Some common boundaries are listed below:
"Knowing your non-negotiables creates clarity and gives
you a better sense of your limits"
Common/Basic Boundary Examples:
· Saying no without feeling guilty
· Asking for what you want or need
· Expressing challenging emotions safely
· It is not my job to fix others
· I do not have to take care of others
· “I respect we disagree on this topic; I hope you can too”
·“If you continue to pressure or guilt trip me, I am going to have to end this conversation”
·“I cannot and will not work harder on your problems than my own”
·“If you are running late, please let me know”
·“Instead of canceling or flaking last minute, can you give me better notice next time?”
·“ I am not comfortable having this conversation right now”
· “ I understand you need my help but I cannot take on more responsibilities at the time”