Learning how to practice self-care is an ongoing process for small business owners. We all go through periods in life when it is simpler than others. We eat healthily, we exercise, we give ourselves “me time”.
Then an event occurs. A child or spouse or relative is sick. Your job requires more hours for you to finish a project. You want to gain an extra degree, take classes after work, and so you lose much of your free time for working out.
Why Self-care Matters
Your body, mind, and soul are the foundation of your entire life. They must all be nourished. Your body needs proper nutrition to work well and give the needed energy for your life.
If you work with your hands or do manual labor, then you have to give your body the fuel it needs for your daily work. If you work at a desk, then your mind needs to stay sharp and focused on work activities.
In addition, your brain must have down time away from work to relax enough to sleep well. You must also give yourself time away from your smartphone, your laptop, social media, and email.
I encourage you, to take control to take back your power.
Make the time and effort to invest in yourself. Self-care and healing.
Taking time for stillness and contemplation.
Reflect on your own behavior.
Decide what kind of person you want to be and then take the steps to be that person.
― Akiroq Brost
Finally, your soul needs to be tended. You must give yourself time to thank the Creator for your life, to live in Grace and Love, and to know your worthiness to be divinely loved. Meditation and/or prayer are paths to happiness.
If you are not doing these things for yourself, then you must learn how to practice self-care.
Why Self-care Isn’t Selfish
Taking care of your basic needs for nourishing foods, a support system around you of friends and/or family, and time out from work are the foundation of a happy and healthy life.
Material things are nice to have, and we must all work to cover our basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. Once those needs are met, we need romantic love, familial love, and a close-knit group of friends in whom you can confide.
Make yourself a priority in your life. Afterall, it’s your life. ― Akiroq Brost
You cannot take things with you when you die. Ask yourself, “When I am on my deathbed, will I wish I had a gold faucet, or my health and family?”
If the answer is “health and family”, then you must learn how to practice self-care.
Why Self-care Is So Hard
Being an adult requires juggling many demands from work, children, parents, friends, family, and other duties. In an effort to keep promises, sometimes we stretch ourselves too thin.
If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs. ― Cheryl Richardson
We have the best intentions in the world, and then one thing gets let go (regular sleep). Then another (exercise). Then another (eating healthy). One day, we wake up unhappy, as we are not living by our values.
Oh, and then there is that extra 40 lbs we may have gained in the process!
If you are stressed out and not taking care of yourself, swamped by your responsibilities to others, then you must learn how to practice self-care.
10 Self-care Strategies You Can Implement Today
In the same way that you let yourself take on unhealthy behaviors, you can regain them. Here are ten self-care strategies you can carry out today.
- Get enough sleep and keep regular sleeping hours.
- Eat nutritiously. Fuel your body with nutrition, not empty calories.
- Exercise daily. A simple 20 minute daily walk is a good starting point.
- Create or continue a spiritual practice. Prayer and meditation on a daily basis will do wonders for you physical and emotional state.
- Spend time with your family and friends in person, not online.
- Find hobbies that are not extensions of your paying job.
- Take care of your body. Take a bubble bath and relax.
- Give your brain a work out. Read a book or play puzzles.
- Reframe problems and act on what you can. Let the rest go.
- Let yourself feel your feelings. Journal, see a therapist, or talk to someone.
When you look at the list above, which of these activities can you combine? For example, can you go walking with your friends? Share a hobby with your spouse? Play puzzles with your children?
The first four items in the list need to be practiced daily. The rest, you can do over the course of a week.
10 Self-care Activities You Can Begin Today
There are other small things you can do to let yourself have fun and enjoy life again. We are meant to live and enjoy this one life of ours, not be in a state of exhaustion.
- Look up from your phone and notice the sky, people, and world around you.
- Laugh. Give yourself permission to have fun.
- Go through your task list and mark out those things you know you aren’t going to complete.
- Relax your mind and body. Breathe into a count of four, then breathe out to a count of eight. (Make the count smaller or larger as you feel comfortable.)
- Blast your favorite song and dance around the room.
- Take a 10 minute power nap.
- Turn off the email and social media for an hour.
- Let yourself rest. Just sit for 10 minutes and slow down your mind and your body.
- Work on your time management skills. Value every minute, but do not let the tools create stress. Let them cut it.
- When in doubt, be kind to yourself. You are an imperfect human being.
These solo self-care activities are actions you can take yourself. You can start them today as needed, regardless of work, family, or other commitments.
10 Self-care Behaviors You Can Start Now
We are often our own worst enemies. We wear ourselves out with worry. Here are a few tips to move on.
- Live in the moment. Let the past go.
- Be assertive and set boundaries around your needs
- Let go and forgive. You do not have to trust or absolve anyone, just let yourself heal.
- Seek a mental health professional to face any long-term issues with which you may be struggling.
- Schedule and attend your annual physical with your doctor.
- Know and believe you are enough.
- Seek out positive people who offer constructive comments and feedback.
- Let go of and distance yourself from negative people who are not moving forward from their problems.
- Express your creative side. Find an outlet. You don’t have to be good, you do have to create.
- See and enjoy the beautify of this world. Find the good news. Stop and enjoy sunrises, sunsets, flowers, or other everyday things we sometimes take for granted.
One last thought about mental health.
You are entitled to your anger. You are also entitled to let yourself heal. When you are in a constant state of anger, you cannot heal.
Learn how to practice self-care. Let go of your anger entitlement, and embrace your entitlement to heal. Whatever it is, and the world can be an awful place, let it go and give yourself permission to live the life you were meant to have.
Yes, no matter what happened. You can forgive. I did not say you had to absolve the person of their wrongdoing, reconcile with them, or trust them.
In many cases, it would be irresponsible of you to do any or all of these things. I am simply saying, let go of your anger and let your self-heal .
Forgive, and move on.
How to Practice Self-care
Self-care is an ongoing activity, behavior, and strategy. Some things are better practiced each day, like exercise, eating healthy, prayer or meditation, and restful sleep.
Other tasks may be a few times a week, month or year. Regardless, you can start taking care of yourself today. Learning how to practice self-care is one vital small stop on the road to consistent happiness.