In the tradition of putting your oxygen mask on first before helping others, self-care is no longer a luxury or frivolous. It is necessary.
There are so many aspects to wellness. I think the first part, before anything else can happen is awareness. Do you take good care of yourself? Do you set aside time every single day for relaxation and decompression? Do you drink enough water? Are you aware of all the side effects of being dehydrated? How is the quality of your sleep? Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you make sure you eat well and aren’t deficient in any vitamins and nutrients? The majority of Americans (about 80%) are deficient in magnesium, which is responsible for hundreds of enzyme processes in the body. Hundreds! That sounds important. If you have any medical issues, like an underactive thyroid, are you aware of what vitamins are usually deficient for that condition?
How is your mindset? Do you engage in negative self-talk? Do you spend hours on social media comparing your life to someone else’s? Do you find time every single day to be grateful for the good things in your life? Do you regularly say yes to things you want to say no to? Are you mindful and present? Do you live in the moment? Do you spend time in nature? Do you routinely connect with Source?
These are things to think about and become aware of when you start thinking about self-care. So, what do you do when you think about all of these things and realize your life is a total mess? You do 3 things that will lead to success in any area of life.
You become PROACTIVE and PLAN what you need to do to improve these areas of your life. And third, you remain CONSISTENT. For me personally, when I don’t proactively plan something (we’ll use a diet for example), it’s a shit show. I think being reactive, anywhere in your life, is not a good thing. So, why has every diet I have ever been on failed? I didn’t plan out my meals. I just said I was “on a diet” and I’m “going to eat better,” then it’s 12:30 and I’m starving, so I grab anything which leads to another day of diet failure. Had I proactively planned that I would eat X for breakfast, lunch and dinner and prepared everything for that, no problemo. And the wonderful side effects of being proactive? MOMENTUM and CONFIDENCE. Day after day of failure isn’t good for morale.
So, you’ve become aware of your needed areas of improvement. You’ve proactively planned out the steps you need to take. What’s next? CONSISTENCY. You can proactively plan all day, but if you only follow through for 2 days, it doesn’t matter how good your plan is. As an admitted perfectionist, this is where it can all go wrong. But, in the efforts of self-care and being gentle with yourself, this where you adopt the mantra of “Progress, Not Perfection.” And how do you make progress?
I follow the 80/20 Rule. Why? Because we’re human. And because sometimes you just want a damn cookie. So, 80% of the time, you will stick to your plan. You will do great, build momentum, feel confident and ACCOMPLISH something. But, 20% of the time, you’re going to “take a personal day.” You can cheat, you can do NOTHING, you can do or not do anything you want. So, for an average month, you will TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (versus calling it “being good”) 24 days of the month. Then, you get 6 days to also, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (because we aren’t doing negative self-talk and calling it “being bad”) to have pizza, or cake. Or spend a day binge watching Big Little Lies instead of going for a walk, meditating, etc. Whatever it is, you can 6 days a month to do it. Now doesn’t that make the other 24 days seem such more doable? Remember, PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. When you build these “cheat” days in, you win. I’m not even crazy about using the word “cheat” because that has a negative implication. Maybe you can it an “80 Day” or a “20 Day”. Yeah, that works.
And, there is a still a way to win on a “20 Day”….can you guess? Proactively Plan the “20 Day” Days! If you know you’re going out to your favorite restaurant with the girls on Saturday night, that is your “20 Day” for that week! Don’t blow it on Thursday with something you don’t really LOVE. Make it worth it. So have that cookie! Just make sure it’s a fabulous, quality ingredient, get the job done cookie.
So, ponder that for now.. THINK about your life and how happy and well you are.. In Part Deux, we will tackle the specifics.