Your mind matters!
We take care of many people throughout our lifetime—our spouse or significant other, children, co-workers, parents, friends and sometimes even strangers. However, someone is most likely missing from your list of priorities: You! In our efforts to take care of others, we often neglect ourselves. Are you putting your health and well-being at the top of your list? Most likely, you are not and the importance of doing so cannot be understated. You have to take care of you in order to give your best when caring for others.
Here are a few ways to make sure you are at the top of your list:
- Eat healthy. Participate in an activity such as exercise or movement that you enjoy and stay connected to family and friends.
- Do something you have never done before and take the steps to make it happen. Have you always wanted to learn to dance, knit or crochet, take a cooking class or pursue another hobby? Go for it and have fun!
- What makes you happy? For some of us, it is bird watching, being outside and enjoying nature, reading a book by our favorite author, listening to our favorite music or taking a leisurely bubble bath. Think about the various things you do that make you happy and feel nurtured.
- Allow yourself some private time each day, even if it is only for 30 minutes.
- Start a gratitude journal and express your thanks on a daily basis.
- Watch your favorite movie or try a new one.
- Go to the park and feed the birds, swing on the swings and slide down the slide.
- Tell yourself all the things you appreciate and love about yourself, and acknowledge your strengths.
It might feel awkward to nurture yourself. Many of us are accustomed to only nurturing others. Take care of yourself and make sure your own needs are not ignored. The more you practice self-care, the more comfortable you will feel with it, and you will crave it too.
When you nurture yourself, you are not only taking care of you, but others too. If you are fulfilled, you are more able to be present for others. Just as the flight attendants instruct passengers to put on their own oxygen mask first before helping others, the same thing applies in nurturing you.
Nurturing yourself is not selfish. In fact, it is one of the best things you can do. Use these suggestions or create your own list. List everything you can think of that sounds fun and fulfilling. Enjoy your “Me Minutes” with hobbies or interests you’ve neglected, or try something new. When you put yourself first on your list, you’ll be happier and able to give more to others.
By Cathy Wilson, PCC, BCC