Good self-care practices are truly necessary to help you be at your best in both your personal and professional lives. Taking time out to relax and do something that’s healing for you can recharge your body and reset your mind, cleansing them from built-up tension and anxiety and making room for new, healthier energy and ideas.
Here are six signs that your self-care has been put on the back burner:
- You’re reacting, not responding
- You’re skipping lunch
- You’re feeling unfocused
- You’re exhausted
- You’re impatient and easily frustrated
- Your entire body feels tight and stressed
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, maybe it’s time to give yourself a little T.L.S.C.—Tender Loving Self-Care! The important thing is that you notice the signs before it’s too late, and you’re forced—by an illness, injury, or an all-out nervous breakdown—to take time out and recuperate.
So what is self-care, exactly?
Self-care is anything that allows you to take a break from your professional and personal responsibilities, and focus completely on yourself. It’s about taking a step back from your routine, and asking yourself, “How are you?”
Last week I took a couple days to focus on me. I call it a mental vacation or a mini-vacation. I spent some time in self-care. I took naps, meditated, and made a little time to recharge. I felt totally grounded and centered, and ready to put my energy into my clients again.
Self-care is also a part of my daily routine here in Massachusetts. I regularly receive Reiki treatments and massages, and take time out to meditate. I used to have a hard time justifying the expense of self-care—but, like a nice suit for an executive or scissors for a hair stylist, self-care is a tool which is necessary for me to do my best work.
Here are some ways in which you can begin your practice of self-care. Some are free, others are not, but all are great ways to reconnect with yourself and regain your footing in a crazy world.
· Take time to meditate, or just breathe deeply
· Listen to a guided visualization CD
· Get a massage or Reiki treatment
· See your chiropractor or acupuncturist
· Take a nap
· Play a round of golf
· Take a yoga or Tai Chi class
· Read a great book
· Take a hot bath or Jacuzzi
If you’re convinced that your crazy schedule won’t allow time for self-care, “chunk it down!” You can definitely find five minutes over the course of a whole day: spend it breathing deeply, even if you do so while sitting in your car between one meeting and the next. If you have fifteen minutes, sit with your eyes closed and listen to that meditation CD, or (if you’re into yoga) do a few half-sun salutations and standing poses that don’t require a mat. If you have half an hour, take a nap, or read a chapter in your favorite novel. And if you have a whole hour, book that massage you’ve been dying for.
Your mind and body are the most important tools you have to be successful. Just like any other tools, your mind and body need regular care and maintenance in order to perform at their peak. If you find yourself rebelling at the idea of taking time for you, imagine what would happen to your car if you never changed the oil, or how well your expensive kitchen knives would work if you never sharpened them. Engaging in self-care is not being selfish—in fact, it’s the opposite. When you’re calm and balanced within yourself, you have more to give to others.
Your Action Step this week is to engage in at least one self-care activity, for a minimum of thirty minutes. You can split up those thirty minutes any way you like—five minutes a day over six days, or ten minutes over three days—but you should spend them in an activity that calms, centers, and grounds you. If you’re stuck, give me a call: I can help squeeze a self-care routine into even the tightest schedule.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. If you are ready to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap between you and a life you love then visit www.CareerLifeBalance.net or http://www.coachdq.com today.