A 7-Step Process for Practicing Self-Care

Burnout is a real thing. It happens when you fill your cup too much and it overflows. It means you’ve worked too much, invested too much, given too much, been used too much and cared too much. The one thing you didn’t do enough of was take care of yourself. Self-care can save you from the turmoil of life if you take the time to do it. Practice self-care by trying the following tips.
  1. Stress Management – Stress looks different on everyone, and calming techniques are different for everyone. What calms one might actually stress another. However, some stress-reduction techniques apply to everyone. When you find yourself flustered and overwhelmed, take the time to slow down and focus on taking deep breaths. Deep breathing centers you when everything feels like it’s moving too fast.
  2. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness is being present to what’s occurring, what you’re experiencing and what you’re feeling. When you become present to your experience, you’re more equipped to focus on solutions to negative feelings. It allows you to embrace your feelings instead of repressing them, which can lead to the unhealthy practice of bottling up negative energy. The practice of meditation and self-affirmations can help you become more mindful.
  3. Physical Self-Care – Taking care of your body is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health. To care for yourself physically, you should turn your focus to the three tenets of physical health: eating clean and healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. When you take care of your health, positive mental health follows.
  4. Personal Retreat – Take the time to step away from everything. More than just a vacation, a retreat gives you a break from the life that you normally know. It’s the time to relax, unplug, be unreachable and do absolutely nothing except exist and perhaps indulge. You might feel guilty for taking time away for yourself, but once you return to life refreshed and recharged, you’ll be an even better employee/boss/parent/friend/spouse/partner than you were before.
  5. Just Say No – The D.A.R.E. program in the 80s was onto something with this phrase, but this phrase can apply to so much more. Saying “no” to others does not mean you’re letting them down. It simply means that you’re choosing to not wear yourself thin by agreeing to everything that’s asked of you. It means you’re choosing not to let your cup run over.
  6. Mental Breaks – A break doesn’t have to entail physically stepping away from something that’s bringing you stress. You can shut off your brain by compartmentalizing your stressful thoughts into a place that you only visit at certain times. Take small breaks every two hours when you’re working on a long project and make it a point to not think about or discuss the project during that time. Your productivity will even improve. Go on a date with your spouse and make it a point to not discuss anything related to finances, family or other topics that create stress and tension in the home. Instead, discuss your dreams, favorite books or vacations that you want to take.
  7. Walk Away From Unhealthy Situations – If you have a relationship or a work situation that doesn’t serve you well, it’s OK to break it off. If it’s an argument or toxic debate that you don’t want to be in, you can stop participating. Don’t get riled about things that you don’t need to be angry about just because your ego wants to have the last word. It doesn’t make you a bad person for ignoring the conversation, and you haven’t lost the argument just because you went silent.
When you neglect self-care, your mental health suffers. This could lead you to becoming more easily agitated, worried, anxious, depressed, sad, angry and frustrated. Taking care of yourself is a way to provide the tools you need to get through life with ease. It’s a way to reward yourself for a job well-done. It’s telling yourself that you deserve a break. It keeps your star from burning out.

Brad Krause

Writer
Here are some self-care practices you can start adding to your daily routine. Try to do as many as you can, even if you don’t start doing them all at once. The more you implement into your lifestyle and the more frequently you practice them, the better you’ll feel.

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