But I have found OFTEN that people in care-giving roles as a profession are usually the worst offenders when it comes to neglecting their own self-care. So all you nurses, ministers, counselors, parents, et. all, listen up! Today we are covering the final four fundamentals for making self-care a vital practice in your life.
Fundamental #6: Doing what is best. Ah, if only self-care were all about mani-pedi’s and extravagant vacations. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart of self-care is doing what is best, not what is easy. Eating chocolate cake is easy, but eating broccoli is best for your body on a regular basis. Staying up late can be really fun, but getting enough sleep will make you more productive and engaged the next day. Many times it will take discipline to create more life and vitality.
You will need to find a rhythm between challenge and rest, discipline and indulgence. I like rhythm over balance. Life isn’t about doing equal things in equal measure all the time. There is an ebb and flow of intensity, energy and pace from day to day. So learning to check in with yourself (Fundamental #5) is crucial here to know what is best in any particular moment.
Fundamental #7: Positive People. Surround yourself with people that see the positive in life and know how to enjoy it. Get around people that will support your efforts to care for yourself. This may mean finding new friends or hiring a trainer, therapist or other professional. Some of this happens naturally—as you take better care of yourself you will gravitate more toward positive influences and away from the Negative Nancy’s and Ned’s in your life.
Consider it cross-training.
Fundamental #9: Essential. Anybody can exist, but if you want to thrive and contribute over the long-haul—and enjoy the journey—self-care is a necessity. When you see it as critical as breathing, and that you are worth the time and effort, taking care of yourself begins to flow more naturally. You may even begin to do it without much conscious thought. I had a client tell me once that, after an incredibly stressful day at work, he went home to meditate, run three miles and watch a funny movie. When I pointed out to him that he was taking good care of himself, he grinned and said, “Huh. I didn’t realize I was doing that.”
There will always be an element of intentionality to self-care, but gradually it becomes your default mode.
Keep up the great work of practicing these fundamentals. Next week I will be back with a BUNCH of ideas for self-care activities. With the fundamentals in place, have fun exploring all the new possibilities available to you.
To Your Great Life!