Take Time For You, 4 Steps to Self Care
This was a hard week for me. There are moments in everyone's life where you take a deep breath, look around, and realize you need to change something about what's going on in your day-to-day life. You realize that you don't feel good, or quite right, and that something is not working.
Sometimes this can be brought on by everyday stressors, the lack of taking a break, overstimulation, under-stimulation, a need for sleep, food, or water, or just having been stuck inside for too long. You have a need that isn't getting met, and that is a human experience.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that I am starting to struggle. I notice that I'm quick to anger, quick to think the worst, quick to criticize myself and those around me, and I'm drained, purely exhausted, not smiling or happy, having difficulty finding the humor in things, clearly not feeling myself. And this has signaled that I need a change.
4 Steps to Self-Care
aka what to do when you're on the edge of losing it.
Turn Off Your Phone
That text message can wait. Leave your phone in the car, in the house, bury it in the backyard, I don’t care but put it in a place where it’ll be out of sight, out of mind. (This means you get a break from the pressure of email, a to do list, responding to texts, being there for others, and social media.)
Someone wants to hang out? Nope. That stranger wants to start up a random conversation in line at the grocery? Nope. This doesn’t mean you’re always saying No, but if you’re deplete and just need a break, take it.
You aren’t a bad friend, you aren’t a bad parent, you aren’t a bad child, you aren’t a bad person. It makes sense that you might feel like you are, but this is permission to say No anyway, because you are building new habits, testing some of your fears, and opening yourself to new possibilities.
Take a Mental Health Day
Call out of work or leave work early, skip class, call a babysitter to take the kids for a few hours, lock yourself in the bathroom. Everyone will thank you later when you return to your daily life a little more relaxed.
Similar to the above - You aren’t a bad employee, manager, or co-worker, etc. Your mind and emotions are just as important as your body - in fact they are a part of your body.
Ask Yourself - What Do I Need Right Now? And Do It.
If you’ve done all of the above, the fun part now is getting to do what you actually need (or want ;)). Need a nap? Need a bath? Need to go for a run? Need some ice cream? Need to stare at the television screen? Need to meditate? This is you time and if what you’re doing doesn’t feel right, you have full control to stop and do something else.
The key is to take a guess, try some things out, and allow yourself to pivot.
Unfortunately, self-care is hard, for many of us. It's hard because of the stories we've been fed by our culture about selfishness and about hard work - essentially claiming that we're selfish if we say no, and that working is the most important thing. But luckily, we are going through a paradigm shift and self-care is way more acceptable and becoming a household term.
To make it easy for yourself, make a list. Make a list of your favorite things, the things that make you feel good, that positively shift your mood, and help you get out of bed in the morning. And then put that list somewhere you'll see it, maybe the fridge, or on your desk, in the car, etc.
This list will make it easier to choose yourself because you'll easily be able to pick out something that you know you like and want to do.
If you find you’re having trouble coming up with a list, just know that’s normal, and it doesn’t mean you’ll never create your list. It just means it’s time to start noticing, and logging what you enjoy.
Mental health and self-care is a process. It requires some trust. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.