Taking time to care for yourself provides fuel for your mind, body, and spirit. Without it, you can’t experience overall well-being. Self-care is like preventive car maintenance: Without it, you won’t run as well, go as far, or last as long. Self-care is important in reducing physical and mental illness, too.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, the noted psychiatrist and author, said: “The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” That’s a good description of self-care.
Here are five steps to help you create your own personal self-care plan:
1. Commit to self-care. The first part of your commitment to self-care: Come up with an action plan. List the pros and cons of doing self-care. How will you benefit from it? What will be the cost? Taking responsibility is a big part of committing to self-care.
2. Draft a personal self-care formula. Keep in mind what ‘s non-negotiable for you and what will help you be your best. My personal formula looks something like this:
· Nine hours of sleep every night
· Weekly time to reflect about my key priorities
· House picked up from clutter
· Learn something every week
· Clean the inside of the car every week
· Regular vacations
3. Overcome the barriers. Recognize the barriers that keep you from being your very best. Identifying these barriers will help you conquer them. Here’s an example of things you can do to break through your barriers:
· Before you turn on your car, think of three good things in your life
· Take three deep breaths before you walk in the door at home
· Do three shoulder stretches at lunchtime
4. Check your self-care signs often. Look back on your progress and make sure you’re staying on track. Here are signs of good self-care and signs of neglect:
Signs of Good Self-Care
· Regularly waking up rested and excited about the day
· Feeling your work is meaningful and fulfilling
· Being slow to be frustrated or stressed
Signs of Neglect
· Overworked yet unfulfilled
· Lacking energy
· Easily stressed and frustrated
5. Learn from experience. Life is a journey where each day we learn something new. It’s important to keep in mind that when you put together a self-care plan, your unique plan will continue to change and grow along the way. Most importantly you need to learn from your experiences. By doing self-care you really can create an extraordinary life!
Where will you begin?