By Veronica Vidal
Sometimes it seems like we spend so much of our energy taking care of life’s endless details that there’s no time left to focus on our health and well-being. If we really want to make self-care a priority, we simply have to develop certain habits–and let go of habits that sabotage us.
The first step in knowing how to take care of yourself is to learn to identify when you start going off track. The body will tell you this information if you listen. But it’s like learning a new language for many of us who have spent years ignoring the messages our bodies are telling us.
Basically, self-care is taking the time to care for yourself in whichever ways work best for you. What are some of the ways you can take care of your self?
Let me remind you of some ways you can use to take care of yourself:
1) Speak kindly–especially to yourself ~ Speak kind, truthful words, and notice how your mindset changes. Most of us spend a lot of time criticizing or judging ourselves, our bodies, our past, and our experience. Even the smallest incident can bring on a wave of negativity. The way we use speech creates energy patterns that infuse the body and send out signals into the environment. If you are constantly lashing out in criticism–even if it is only in your mind–you are germinating a toxic inner environment. Develop awareness of your critical inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.
2) Practice Yoga ~ Yoga postures, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation practices keep us centered during times of uncertainty. When we are relaxed, our organs function optimally, which boosts our body’s capacity to fight invaders and heal faster. Yoga can truly help during these times. This isn’t just speculation; countless research shows yoga can lessen anxiety and depression symptoms, lower stress hormones, relieve pain, and improve emotional regulation.
3) Prioritize sleep ~This is such an easy and quick way to introduce self-care on a profound level. It’s amazing more of us don’t do this. Notice I didn’t say: get enough sleep. Most of us can function on less-than-optimal sleep, and convince ourselves that we are getting enough shut-eye. But to prioritize sleep, we start looking at all the ways we sabotage our rest cycle through stimulants, computer screens late at night, unresolved emotional issues, taking on too much, and generally not being aware of our natural rhythms. Try a phase of making sleep your #1 priority and see how your attitude shifts. Rest; Rest is key to keep distressed down and immunity up. SLEEP. SLEEP. SLEEP. 7-8 hours a night – if suffering from insomnia practice Yoga Nidra meditation.
4) Gratitude ~ Start a gratitude journal and write 5 things you are GRATEFUL for each and every day.
5) Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables: PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS. 8 to 10 servings – combining vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes is recommended as a minimum.
6) Manage Stressors ~ We pick up habits from the people we spend time with, and without notice, many times, we tend to please others at our expense. To take care of your self learn to say “no.” This benign little word can be very empowering. Get clear on what supports your well-being and what stresses you out. You might want to add “thank you.”. This is key to developing nourishing relationships + setting boundaries with unhealthy ones.
7) Repeat Positive Affirmations Out Loud or Silently ~ May I be well, May I be happy, May I let go of the past, May I let go of the uncertain future, May I be healthy, May I be protected, May I be at peace.
Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal. Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.