Photo credit: Brandon Volpe

Tips For Staying On Top Of Your Self-Care

What is your first reaction when you hear the phrase ‘self-care?’

I mean your initial, gut response!?

Do you feel connected to the phrase? Do you cringe inside with a feeling like you “should” be doing better in this arena? Are you tired of hearing that phrase? Do you feel like a deer in headlights not knowing what self-care even looks like in your life?

Take a moment, digest the question, and lean into your first response.

If you answered in a way that you don’t know what self-care looks like in your life, not sure what to do for self-care, or feel like you “should” be doing better in this arena; read on because I’ve got some suggestions for you.

First off, without a compelling reason to cultivate a self-care routine in your life, self-care will pretty much fall to the wayside…and fast! So the first tip I have for you is to connect with your “why.”

Why are you incorporating self-care into your life?

An example is reflected in the photo above. That’s me on the summit of Mount Cadillac in Acadia National Forest. Now mind you, Mount Cadillac isn’t the highest mountain peak I’ve summited, but it was my ‘why’ for the recent upgrade to my self-care routine.

Just weeks before embarking on this journey to Maine, my right Achilles tendon was in immense pain, to the point where I could barely walk. I deeply desired to heal so I could thoroughly enjoy the beauty of Acadia, and it was this desire that kept me committed to my PT routine, as well as, regular chiropractor, PT and myofascial release visits.

Low and behold, my Achilles tendon healed up, and I was physically, mentally and emotionally fit enough to enjoy the beauty of Maine without the worry of hurting myself weighing me down.

So before you begin embarking on any self-care journey, ask yourself what is your Mount Cadillac?

Second suggestion, make it pleasurable!

Now mind you, PT exercises or other forms of self-care can be quite boring at times, especially if the technique calls for repetition. That said, YOU can make these exercises more enjoyable…and dare I say…pleasurable!

Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate a sense of pleasure into your self-care routine:
* Put on good music.
* Have your favorite, mindless sitcom on in the background.
* Talk with a loved one (but make sure your main focus is first and foremost on the technique).
* Practice your self-care in a beautiful environment (whether indoors or outdoors).

If you’re finding it challenging to incorporate some of those pleasure-based tips because you’ll get too distracted, how about rewarding yourself after you’re done!?

Some self-reward suggestions are as follows:
* Enjoy your favorite meal afterwards.
* Take a bath with your favorite essential oils and relaxing music on in the background.
* Spend time in nature.
* Give yourself a foot soak and massage.
* Drink your favorite beverage.

Those are just a few suggestions in a sea full of reward-based possibilities!

Now if you’re ever at a loss for what kind of self-care techniques to incorporate into your life, I suggest starting with learning from a trusted professional. Whether you connect with them in person or in a free online video, learning from someone you respect and trust can be a game changer when it comes to learning what self-care practices you can benefit from.

Last but certainly not least, please, please, please…develop a sense of compassion for yourself!

All too often, I hear from clients something in the realm of, “I should be taking better care of myself more often but I don’t.”

In the words of one of my favorite authors, Louise L. Hay, she suggests to “stop shoulding on yourself!”

When we adopt a critical attitude towards ourselves, it can actually deter us from doing the things that we can most benefit from.

Now this is not to say to give yourself so much slack that you never do anything to take care of yourself.  What it does mean, is that if you ever find yourself slipping, compassionately witness why. You may have too much on your plate, you may feel under the weather, you may have had some surprise circumstances come your way and deter you from your schedule, etc.

Whatever the case may be, just remember that even just 5 minutes a day of self-care is better than nothing, and when you are kind to yourself, you’ll want to keep doing kind and loving things for yourself…like sticking to your self-care priorities, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.

When you stick with your self-care needs, this will naturally feed your sense of self-worth, and when your self-worth is high, sticking to your personal goals will be easier to accomplish.

So to recap, feel free to play with one, two, a few, or all of the following tips:
* Connect with your why.
* Make your routine pleasurable.
* Reward yourself.
* Learn from a trusted professional.
* Cultivate a sense of compassion for yourself.

It’s my hope that these suggestions shed some light on how you can help you, help yourself stick to your self-care needs.

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