We hear often in the self-help world how important self-care is. However, we don’t do it enough, and it’s because we don’t know how. I think we have a perception that there’s a right way to do self-care.
I laughed inside when my client thanked me for not telling her to do yoga and pilates. That’s the funny thing about self-care; you don’t have to do anything. I notice a lot of people putting self-care into their routine as a forced thing. Then they feel tired out from it, and forget the fun stuff.
The interesting thing is that self-care is the fun stuff. My definition of self-care is letting yourself do whatever you want to do. If yoga, meditating, or writing endlessly in your journal about your woes isn’t your thing, don’t do it. It won’t work.
Self-care only works when you listen to your body, and do what you want without resistance. For me, I’ve learned to do what I want to do in the moment. So if I randomly feel like reading a few pages of a fictional novel or walking my dog, I do it. I don’t push it aside or promise myself I’ll do it later, I do it right then.
Why? Because in that moment my body is telling me it needs a break. My mind is probably overwhelmed with thoughts, and trying to do work at that moment would be highly unproductive. And when I do what I want in the moment, when I sit down to work, everything gets done in a much easier way. Because now I’m relaxed, I’m not resisting anything. My mind is free to produce what it really wants, and my body feels good.
To me, that is self-care. If you’re looking for more self-care tips, you can find them in my e-book Listen to Your Gut: Connect with Your Body and Get IBS Relief.
I’m pretty certain you’re thinking: oh, well she works for herself, so she can do that. Well, you can do it too. It doesn’t matter where you are, and it takes a small amount of time.
When I was working in a 9 to 5 situation, I would take several moments in the day just to step away and feel good. I didn’t even have to leave the office. I would look at pictures I enjoyed for a moment (literally sixty seconds). At lunch, I would read the blog or books of people I admired and resonated with. Occasionally, I would even take a short walk during lunch.
I attribute those small moments as keeping my energy and inspiration up so I could explore new things outside of work later in the day.
I have many clients who have high stress, can’t stop for a minute jobs. I tell them they need that 60 second break here and there. First they resist, but when they try it, they are wowed by it.
They’re wowed by it because not only do they feel less stress, but also their body feels better. When you don’t take the time to check into your body, you don’t notice that your body may be starting to flare up with pain or stress. Taking a moment to check in, and 60 seconds to do something that feels good to your body is a great way to keep your body in a natural flow. Allowing yourself these moments also gives you a sense of freedom, which produces a better emotional and mental state.
Start by giving yourself a 60 second break three times a day. I know you’ll see a difference.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Jun 2014
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Experts, Y. (2014). Don’t Forget Yourself: The Importance Of Self Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/01/11/dont-forget-yourself-the-importance-of-self-care/